FRAMINGHAM – Dr. F. Javier Cevallos was one of four recipients of Framingham Council on Aging’s Senior Heroes Awards on May 31.
Today, June 30 is his last day as President of Framingham State University. Cevallos has chosen to retire and has moved out of Framingham earlier this spring, but still lives in MetroWest.
A small, invitation-only ceremony was held for the four recipients at the Callahan Center. This is just the second year awards were given.
Mayor Charlie Sisitsky congratulated the recipients via Zoom. Three of the four recipients attended in person. One recipient attended via Zoom.
Each of the four recipients received a citation from the legislative delegation. Dennis Giombetti represented Senate President Karen Spilka. State Representatives Jack Lewis and Carmine Gentile were also in attendance.
Cevallos was born in Cuence, Ecuador and moved with his family to Puerto Rico at age 14.
Growing up in an area of the world that experiences natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods, he learned at an early age that everyone needs to help each other for a community to survive and thrive.
Cevallos has been an educator at the college level since 1981 He progressed through academia from Vice Chancellor for students affairs at UMass Amherst to President of Kutztown University in Pennsylvannia to President of Framingham State University in 2014.
He has been committed to increasing the enrollment of students of color at Framingham State University and proving how the diverse cultures in Framingham make it a more vibrant community.
Involvement as a volunteer on various boards and volunteer organizations has bene a part of his life since 2002.
He immersed himself in the Franingham community when he arrived in 2014, starting with the Framingham Rotary Club. He served as President of the Framingham Rotary Club from 2020-21.
Cevallos has served on the boards at metroWest Medical center, the United Way of Tri-County, Jewish Family Services of MetroWest and the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce.
Being one of the few Latinx leaders in Framingham he serves as a positive role model to the Latinx residents of Framingham for the students at the University. Cevallos also served on Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s Latinx Board.
Cevallos is the recipient of the 2022 Framingham Senior Heroes Award in the category of arts & culture for his role in preserving the Danforth Museum in Framingham and merging it with Framingham State University.
He dedicated a great deal of time to preventing the museum’s closure and its art collection from being dispersed to other museums, when the building the museum occupied on Union Avenue could not be maintained.
Cevallos was instrumental in inspiring other to allow it to be become a party of the university and be moved to its current location at the Maynard Building, across from the Framingham Centre Common, in the new Framingham Centre Common Cultural District.
The relationships he established in the community among town/city officials and the University staff and students were a major element in the merger success
The Danforth Museum offers classes and activities for all levels.
Offering free admission for Framingham students to the museum ensures access to those who might not have it otherwise.
He has invited and supported greater inclusion in all organization while serving in a leadership and volunteer roles, and he has helped inspire and motivate people of color to get more involved in their community by his example.
Another way that he shows how much the importance of valuing other cultures is the special events held at Framingham State University where the community is invited to participate like Sunset Salsa with music from a variety of latin countries.
He appointed Framingham State’s first Chief Diversity Officer in 2017 to ensure that the campus staff and enrollment reflected the diversity of the Community.
Unfortunately, the person did not stay and the position is vacant at the moment.
Cevallos urges people should be open to everyone.
His mantra being “We have to respect every person” regardless of age, sex, race, or sexual orientation.
He believes that the community is enriched by taking the time to learn something from every individual.
Petroni Media Company photos for SOURCE from the May 31 invitation only event at the Callahan Center.