Gift to further the impact of the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement
By Ryan Merrill
UMass Dartmouth announced a $1M gift from Robert and Jeanne Leduc to continue their support of the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement. This latest donation follows $1M given by Robert and Jeanne Leduc in 2012 to name the Robert and Jeanne Leduc Center for Civic Engagement. The gift will support three new programs that focus on the needs of the region while creating learning opportunities for UMass Dartmouth students. First is the creation of the Leduc Leaders program that will recruit highly talented and diverse students for impactful community service-based internships.
The second initiative is the Leduc Engaged Scholars program which will support faculty in the development of community-engaged research. Leduc Engaged Scholars will collaborate with community partners to identify issues and opportunities and engage in research that leads to actions and applied solutions that respond to challenges confronted by the community. Third is the expansion of Arnie’s Cupboard, an on-campus food pantry available to any UMass Dartmouth community member that may be experiencing food insecurity.
“It has been 10 years since our initial gift to UMass Dartmouth and the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement. In that time frame, the Leduc Center has surpassed all our expectations,” said Robert Leduc ’78. “The leadership of the Center has leveraged our initial investment to change the lives of students and our community. UMass Dartmouth is now known nationally for its work in community service and service-learning. They are making a difference every day and we are happy to be a part of it.”
“All of us at UMass Dartmouth are extremely grateful to Bob and Jeanne for everything they have done for our students and the university over many years,” said Dr. Mark Fuller, Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth. “In particular, their support of the Leduc Center and its outreach programs that impact thousands of children and vulnerable people each year has had a profound impact on the whole SouthCoast community. They have been instrumental in our efforts to cultivate civic-minded student leaders who will continue to give back to our region long beyond their graduation.”
In April of 2012, the Center for Civic Engagement was renamed the Robert and Jeanne Leduc Center for Civic Engagement after a $1M gift to the university. The Leduc Center for Civic Engagement connects faculty, students, staff, and the SouthCoast community through service-learning, active citizenship, meaningful community service, engaged scholarship, and mutually beneficial partnerships. During the 2020-21 academic year that was dominated by the pandemic, Leduc Center programming generated more than 189,000 hours of service valued at $6.64M.
“This generous investment by Bob and Jeanne Leduc will further enhance the university’s efforts to bolster service-based learning and critical efforts to improve the wellbeing of all residents across our region,” said Senator Mark Montigny. “The current troubling state of our politics and our nation demand dynamic young leaders who can forge a brighter, new direction. For these reasons, we are grateful to the Leduc family for their continued support and look forward to these new programs taking shape in the near future.”
“Robert and Jeanne are tremendous people. They realize the people who are blessed to attend and graduate from UMass Dartmouth need the hands-on experience of helping those less fortunate,” said Representative Chris Markey. “It will be a trait learned, earned and carried with all the graduates of UMass-Dartmouth for the rest of their lives because of the incredible selflessness of the Leduc’s.”
“The Leduc’s have been extremely generous with their time and treasure. This gift will help us reinforce some of our successful programs and start new ones,” said Dr. Matthew Roy, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Career and Civic Engagement and Director of the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement. “We couldn’t be more grateful for their generosity. They understand that education is the economic driver in our region.”
The gift was presented after the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement’s annual Advisory Board meeting. The event also featured Civic Engagement awards that recognize the contributions of UMass Dartmouth students, faculty, and community members. This year’s recipients were community leader Bruce Rose, Professor Tim Shea (Decision & Information Sciences), and students Maggie Sullivan (’21) and Isabelle Joseph (’21).
“The Leduc Center has been an integral link between UMass Dartmouth and our community. Service-Learning projects have directly impacted the growth of our region,” said Michael O Sullivan, Co – CEO of One SouthCoast Chamber. “Their early literacy and college awareness programs are impressive. Thousands of kids in our communities are being tutored, mentored, and exposed to the possibility of attending college.”
Robert “Bob” Leduc graduated from UMass Dartmouth predecessor institution Southeastern Massachusetts University with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1978 and soon went on to work as an engineer at Pratt & Whitney. Leduc rose through the company, eventually becoming executive vice president and chief operating officer of United Technologies’ Pratt & Whitney business unit in 2000. During his tenure with the corporation, he served as chief operating officer, executive vice president, and then president of Commercial Engines, Pratt’s largest business segment before retiring in 2016.
Leduc is a Fall River native and is married to Jeanne I. (Roy) Leduc, who was also born and raised in Fall River. He received an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree in 2014 from UMass Dartmouth. Jeanne Leduc was an ER nurse for over 20 years and is an active community volunteer and mentor. She is a founding member of the Africa Teacher Foundation. The couple has two children and five grandchildren.