SouthCoast Attorney Donates Classroom to Stonehill College
december 13, 2009

By Lauren Daley
SouthCoastToday.com

John Folan and family

John Folan's parents always stressed the importance of education.

There was no question about what he would do after high school: He was going to college.

But before Folan graduated from high school in Walpole, his father, Coleman, had a stroke and was disabled; he lost his job as a printer. His mother, Margaret, had to go back to work putting greeting cards together at a company in Dedham.

Folan and his younger sister Mary also had to go straight to work - but college was non-negotiable.

Folan enrolled as a history major at Stonehill College in Easton.

"I was fortunate that Stonehill was a lot cheaper back then, and I could afford to go. I was able to work summers and work during the school years," said Folan, 65, of Dartmouth.

"My sister, my cousins - we were all first-generation college students in our family. Even when times were difficult, it was always something we were going to do. Way back then, Stonehill was probably as cheap a place as you could go and get a terrific education."

Thanks to his parents' support, Folan not only graduated from Stonehill in 1965, he also went on to law school at Suffolk University. Today, he is a successful attorney in New Bedford, at Folan and Mc Glone P.C. on County Street.

Just before classes began at Stonehill this fall, Folan brought his 104-year-old mother up from Tabor Nursing Home in New Bedford for a surprise:

Psychology research Room 256 at the brand-new Science Center is named in honor of Margaret and Coleman Folan.

"Excited is not the word for a 104-year-old, but she was very pleased," Folan said with a laugh.

"It was a really nice experience, for my mother, for the whole family. I think my mother was pretty proud to see her name up there."

Folan had not intended to donate a classroom when he first started giving back to the college.

"I had made a pledge at the start of their Science Center campaign. I'd been donating over the years. About a year ago, the Advancement Office told me I'd given enough to have a room named after me. So I asked if I could name it after my parents."

Folan and his sister Mary live in Dartmouth, and although Folan doesn't have children, he tells Mary's four that "education is key. College is the key to going anywhere in life."

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