Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Advisory Board Member Named to Regional List of 50 Most Influential People of Color in Higher Education



Get Konnected! announced their inaugural list of Most Influential People of Color in Higher Education earlier this month; among the seven honorees from UMass Boston was Dr. Charles Desmond, a member of Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP’s advisory board. “’This list reflects the remarkable expertise and the diversity within the UMass Boston community,’ said Provost Joseph B. Berger. ‘I congratulate each of our honorees and applaud this well-deserved public recognition for people of color in higher education and their incredible contributions.’” Also listed is Paul Watanabe, Lorna Rivera, Georgianna Meléndez, Miren Uriarte, J. Keith Motley, Connie S. Chan and Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco.

Dr. Charles Desmond is a member of the MHTL Advisory Board, advising on matters in private, non-profit, public, and educational areas. Dr. Desmond, a recent recipient of the MLK Living Legacy Award from UMass Boston for his continued work of social justice and racial equality, brings a deep understanding of governance, leadership, development, and strategic focus from not only serving on for profit and non-governmental boards but also serving as an advisor to chief executive officers and executive management team members. A Fulbright Scholar, Charlie earned his Ed.D. in instructional leadership from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a B.S. in sociology from Northeastern University. He is a decorated veteran of the U.S. Army, receiving both Silver and Bronze stars.


On January 1, 2021, Robert and Diane Hildreth appointed Dr. Charles Desmond to serve as President of the Hildreth Stewart Charitable Foundation (HSCF). HSCF is a Boston-based family foundation that funds, supports, and collaborates with nonprofit organizations committed to a just, equitable, and sustainable society. Since its founding, HSCF has been a philanthropic leader with a primary strategic mission to address economic and educational issues impacting low and moderate-income families from diverse social and cultural backgrounds. Prior to joining the Hildreth Stewart Foundation, from 2016 until 2021, Charlie was the Chief Executive Officer of Inversant, the largest parent-centered children’s savings account initiative in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He also served as chair of the MA Board of Higher Education for 8 years under Former Governor Dukakis.


Dr. Desmond’s leadership accomplishments range from chairing the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education to initiating multi-layered corporate and philanthropic engagements in local, regional and national educational initiatives. As a policy analyst and senior advocacy expert, Dr. Desmond has four decades of direct experience working at the local and national level and has developed an expansive knowledge of diverse sectors, including banking and financial services, life sciences, and equity and diversity matters in the academic and corporate sectors.

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Legal Updates


On August 10, 2022, Chapter 177 of Acts of 2022, “An Act Addressing Barriers to Care for Mental Health” was signed by Governor Baker. For public schools, it has impacts on student discipline, special education services, and emergency response plans. The bill goes into effect on November 8, 2022. Set forth below are summaries of the new law’s impact in the identified areas.

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