'The People's Lawyer' Inspires Public Service Gifts
As far as mentors go, Frank Bellotti, JD'52, P'98, is legendary. Throughout his career in public service, Bellotti instilled confidence and a deep sense of purpose in the lives of the many people he guided.
As Massachusetts lieutenant governor (1963–65) and later attorney general (1975–87), Bellotti taught his staffs to be proud defenders of the public interest, often referring to the latter as members of the "people's lawyer's office." He would go on to create new divisions focused on civil rights, antitrust, and consumer protection, always reminding his staff that they worked for the "citizens of the Commonwealth."
Many of Bellotti's protégés remain deeply committed to public service either through their careers or via their civic interests. One such person is John Donohue, who served as chief of the Insurance Division when Bellotti was attorney general. Later, Donohue would join Bellotti in founding Arbella Insurance, a mutual insurance company dedicated to public interest, where Bellotti is currently board vice chairman.
Donohue, who is now CEO of Arbella, recently spearheaded a project to honor his mentor's lifetime of work: the Francis X. Bellotti Loan Repayment and Forgiveness Program at Boston College Law School. Made possible by $3 million in gifts from Arbella Insurance and friends of Donohue and Bellotti, the initiative provides loan forgiveness to BC Law students who follow in Bellotti's footsteps and choose public-service professions. It also boosts BC Law's ability to provide loan forgiveness by nearly 50 percent, better enabling the school to encourage students to pursue careers in this critical field.
Law School Dean Vincent D. Rougeau agrees that the endeavor is a perfect link between the school's social justice mission and Bellotti's passion.
"No matter what kind of law a student practices, I hope he or she knows that if they come from this law school, they have an obligation to help create a more just society," remarks Rougeau.
Honored by the recognition, Bellotti believes the program will produce dividends for decades to come. "I hope it will create an entire group of young people committed to making people's lives better," he says.