Merrimack College Center for Criminology named for Alumnus’ Father

Through a generous gift from Vin Foley ‘68, Merrimack College’s Center for Criminology will be named for Vincent P. Foley, Sr., who served as a police officer in Lawrence.
President Hopey and the Foley family pose with a commemorative plaque.
President Hopey stands with Vin Foley, Jr. '68 (far left) and Foley's family with a commemorative plaque recognizing Foley's generosity to Merrimack.

When Merrimack College criminology students, faculty and staff enter the Center for Criminology in Ash Centre, they now will now be greeted by the name of a public servant that embodies the best of what their field represents.

Thanks to a generous gift from Vin Foley ‘68, the criminology center is now the Vincent P. Foley, Sr. Center for Criminology, honoring Foley, Sr.’s selfless dedication as a member of the Lawrence Police Department. To recognize the gift and celebrate Foley, Sr.’s legacy, a special event was held in the Collegiate Church of Christ the Teacher, which included the Foley family, Merrimack College’s Board of Trustees and faculty and staff from the criminology center. 

The donation will deepen Merrimack College’s commitment to preparing faculty, staff and students to contribute to the study and best practices of criminology and criminal justice. It will support a myriad of initiatives and efforts in Merrimack’s criminology ecosystem, including the undergraduate and graduate programs, the Merrimack College Police Academy, the Jail Education Program and faculty research.

“At the core of Merrimack’s mission is a commitment to preparing our students to lead collaborative efforts that foster a just, peaceful and sustainable world,” said Merrimack College President Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D. “That includes educating future generations of criminologists who will be at the forefront of crime reduction and criminal justice reform. We are incredibly grateful for Vin Foley, Jr.’s dedication, and are honored by this wonderful tribute to his father.”

After serving as an officer in the U.S. Army during World War II, Foley, Sr. resumed his distinguished career in the Lawrence Police Department and city government. Earning numerous accolades from the business community, fellow officers and the general public, Foley, Sr. worked tirelessly to serve and protect the residents of Lawrence. He stands as a model for the criminology students and police academy cadets who will learn at the Foley Center for Criminology and commit their lives to the betterment of the communities they serve.

“This generous gift will further the department’s efforts to prepare students for civic-minded careers and to be community members who are committed to the pursuit of justice for all,” said Deborah Margolis, Ph.D., dean of the Winston School of Education and Social Policy. “With a focus on ethics and professionalism, our faculty mentor students to be engaged practitioners and advocates that impact our communities, just as Vincent Foley, Sr. did.”

Foley, Jr. has generously contributed to numerous areas and programs at Merrimack. As an avid intramural sports participant, Foley, Jr. attributes his time playing intramural football as a highlight while at Merrimack. The access and camaraderie he experienced through sports inspired him to fund the Foley Family Crossing that connects foot traffic through the woods between Martone-Mejail Field and on-campus student apartments. He has also funded a Pioneer Scholars Scholarship and a scholarship for an undergraduate student who is a refugee or seeking asylum in the U.S.

“Vin’s gift exemplifies a level of engagement and philanthropy that is so critical to advancing Merrimack’s mission to enlighten minds, engage hearts and empower lives,” said Jeffrey Doggett, Ed.D., Merrimack College’s executive vice president. “The Merrimack community is forever grateful for his passion, belief and support of the College’s efforts to seek truth through inquiry.”