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  • Writer's pictureKAIT BEDELL & PAYTON HEBERT

Alumni triumphant in elections, credit university

Henry Santana was elected to Boston City Councilor At-Large during this past election. Photo courtesy of Henry Santana

Two alumni, Henry Santana (‘19) and Christian Dumais (‘02), saw success on election day, claiming government positions in Massachusetts communities.

Santana was elected Boston City Councilor At-Large on Nov. 7. This was the first time Santana ran for any position, though he did work for the city previously as director of civic organizing. His election to Boston City Councilor At-Large marks the third black man and first Latino man to hold a city-wide office position in the history of Boston.

Though Santana was Student Government Association (SGA) President his senior year and involved with SGA for prior years, his story begins far before Lasell, as Santana immigrated from Bani, Dominican Republic as a child. Santana credits this experience for providing him with a sense of advocacy.

“I was born in the Dominican Republic. I grew up here, but not knowing the language, my parents didn’t know the English language. So being civically engaged throughout the years was the way for us to really move and grow here in the city of Boston. And we were able to, you know, I was able to do that, but I also know my neighbors that I grew up with didn’t have these opportunities. People across the city who look like me who come from, you know, public housing, who come from immigrant families, they’re not given these opportunities. So yeah, I feel lucky that I did and that’s something that I read on making sure that representation does matter,” Santana said.

Santana said that his work ethic has been an influential part in what has led to the opportunities he has been given. As he now takes civic office, Santana said that it’s important for people to understand their value and that “’s okay not to have everything figured out” as they seek their own opportunities.

The support Santana has received from the Lasell community both during and after the election is something he said he is extremely grateful for. Former Director of Student Activities and Orientation Jennifer Granger Sullivan, who worked closely with Santana as the advisor of SGA, is an example of someone Santana said has been supportive, as the two have kept in touch over the years.

“I think there’s multiple people on campus where I truly felt invested in by them, right, I truly felt that they had interest in my success. And I felt valued in that. And because of that, you know, I was wanting to work twice as hard to make sure that I wasn’t letting most people who believe in me down so I’m very thankful for Jenny [Granger Sullivan], but also the other administration and staff members who were part of my journey,” Santana said.

Granger Sullivan believes that Santana has a lot to offer to his new position.

“He was not someone that wouldn’t state the hard truth, if you will….” Granger Sullivan said. “...And I think he’s also personable, he likes to build relationships. So I wouldn’t be surprised that it seems like he definitely had some people that he ran with or worked with that are also on the council that I think he’ll work really well with. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t just dive kind of headfirst in and really see what he can do to help our residents in a positive way,” Granger Sullivan said.

She adds that she is extremely proud of Santana and his accomplishments, and is extremely grateful for the time they shared at Lasell.

Mayor-elect Christian Dumais poses in the City Hall office prior to his term. Photo courtesy of Ryan Egan

“It’s so exciting for Henry. I was so proud to like, tag him in a post and be like, ‘yay!’. And it was one of those things where I felt like there were so many people celebrating him and I’m like I’m not celebrating him. For me, I’m celebrating with him….I think it’s so cool to see a Lasell student crush it and a lot of the Lasell students go out and crush it, but this is just such in a way that it just highlights Lasell and what a Lasell education could do for you,” Granger Sullivan said.

Dumais is another example of an alum who saw success during elections, as he was elected to be the next mayor of Marlborough, Massachusetts.

Dumais, who has served six years as a Marlborough City Councilor, was an active member of the Lasell community. From Student Government Class President to Resident Assistant to Orientation leader, Dumais spent his time getting involved.

Getting involved in campus was what Dumais said led to a lot of the relationships he made in college, many of which he still holds today.

“I have met the most incredible people from Lasell and I still talk to quite a bit of them and we are in a group text message, we’ve traveled, and this is going on 20 years,” Dumais said.

Dumais said that along with the relationships he built at Lasell, his experience also set him up for his political career.

“...It definitely set me up for a lot of success,” Dumais said. “...Just regarding time management, meetings, and being involved and really trying to be secure with who I was and, again, meeting such incredible people…”

After twenty years of a successful career, Dumais said that it was at Lasell where he “really discovered who [he] was.”

As Dumais looks to take on his new role as Mayor, he said he is grateful for the community that has supported him throughout his campaigning journey.

“I’m so thankful for the community, for their outpouring of support and love,” Dumais said. “I couldn’t do it without them…and I’m enjoying every minute of it…”

Granger Sullivan believes the success of Santana and Dumais in these elections serves as an inspiration for students “to follow your dreams to follow what you want to do,” said Granger Sullivan, “I think the big thing is to put your hat in the ring, whatever that hat is, whatever that ring is.”


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