In East Boston, where a development project by Massport historically brings a bit of controversy, the late Lowell Richards was known, even among staunch Port Authority critics, as a man that carried himself with dignity and had respect for the opinions of the community.
Massport announced that Eastie’s Janna Ramadan was awarded the 2018 Lowell Richards Memorial Scholarship. Named in honor Richards who was responsible for Massport’s strategic and master planning activities, including the airport and the seaport, as well as the agency’s private commercial and residential real estate development in South Boston, East Boston, and Charlestown, the $5,000 scholarship is given to a student interested in public and community service. The scholarship has been awarded since Richards’ sudden passing in 2012 from a heart attack.
“We are thrilled to award Janna with the Lowell Richards Memorial Scholarship,” said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. “Her service to the East Boston community and strong work ethic represents what we were looking for when we established this scholarship in the name of our friend and colleague Lowell Richards. We wish her the best as she moves on to Harvard University.”
Ramadan is a graduate of Boston Latin School and will soon be attending Harvard University. She has volunteered at the Salesian Boys and Girls Club where she was a reading volunteer with Tenacity Boston at the Umana School.
In her essay, Ramadan says, “by volunteering, I have learned more about myself through the lives of my neighbors, which is a lesson that no one else could have taught me.”
To be considered for the Lowell Richards Memorial Scholarship, students are required to have a minimum 3.0 grade point average and submit an essay of 1,000 words describing their career interests or how their community service has affected their outlook on life. Scholarship essays are judged by a committee made up of Massport employees and a representative of the Richards family.
Richards, who served as Massport’s Chief Development Officer for 13 years, died unexpectedly at his home in Cambridge in 2012 at the age of 64.
Richards was known for decades as the quiet, fiercely intelligent behind-the-scenes shaper of Boston who spent most of his working life as a public servant.
Richards was best known in Eastie as Massport’s face of waterfront development at Portside at Pier I on Marginal Street. Richards spent countless hours and time conducting community meetings and working behind the scenes to get shovels in the ground at the site. Those close to him said Richards believed, like the redevelopment of the Seaport District in South Boston, that Eastie’s Pier I project would spur a rebirth of the neighborhood’s waterfront and economic development in the area.
Richards grew up in upstate New York and was graduated from Dartmouth College in 1969 and went to work for Boston Redevelopment Authority as a research analyst. While working for the city he attended MIT to get a Master of City Planning degree, which he received in 1971, when he became Senior Research Analyst. He received a JD from Harvard Law School in 1975 and then went to work in the Kevin White administration, serving as Collector-Treasurer for the city and the Deputy Mayor for Fiscal Affairs.
In 1994, he went to work in the Weld Administration, serving first as Director of Debt Finance for the Commonwealth’s Executive Office for Administration and Finance and then as Chief Development Officer and Assistant Secretary for Capital Resources. In 1999, he came to Massport as Chief Development Officer where he was responsible for the full set of the Authority’s strategic and master planning, as well as the Authority’s leasing of the 585 acres of maritime, industrial, and commercial waterfront property (including both land and water area) in Eastie, Southie and Charlestown that Massport owns, manages, or ground leases.