55th Annual President’s Dinner to Honor Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor Heather Abbott ’96

May 18, 2015

Heather Abbott '96 (photo courtesy of Abbott)

The 55th Annual President’s Dinner at Stonehill, which welcomes nearly 600 friends, neighbors and alumni of the College each year, will honor Stonehill alumna and Boston Marathon Bombing survivor Heather Abbott ’96. The event will be held on Thursday, May 28 on the Stonehill campus.

Stonehill President Rev. John Denning, C.S.C. will present the President's Award for Excellence to Abbott, who recently launched her foundation which helps provide customized prostheses to those who have suffered limb loss through traumatic circumstances.

One of Stonehill's highest honors, the President's Award honors individuals and organizations that have made unique and outstanding contributions to public life, business, and to the arts and sciences.

Abbott, who works as human resources manager at Raytheon, was struck by shrapnel from one of the bombs during the Boston Marathon in April of 2013, severely injuring her left foot. After undergoing three surgeries in the matter of four days to try and save her foot, she was faced with the difficult decision of having doctor’s amputate her leg below the knee.

With the help and guidance of other amputees, and the support from thousands around the country, Abbott again went into surgery to have her left leg amputated below the knee. 

The outpouring of support she received is what has inspired her to launch the Heather Abbott Foundation and become a certified Peer Counselor for the National Amputee Coalition.

“I've learned how Americans react in overwhelming fashion when people are injured in an attack. I've met people who've dedicated their lives and careers to others. I've learned how important blood donations are – so many things I view from a new perspective,” said Abbott at the kick-off event for her foundation.

With customized prostheses costing as much as $100,000 and needing to be replaced every 3-5 years, very few people can afford them. Through her foundation, Abbott hopes to help other amputees return to normal lives by providing prosthetics to them.

Proceeds from this year’s dinner, which will be held inside the Thomas and Donna May Pavilion Tent as construction on the Sports Complex nears completion, will go towards the College’s fundraising campaign in support of the expansion project.

The project is adding 50,000 square feet to the Sports Complex in order to provide needed space for athletics, health, fitness and exercise. When the Sports Complex opened in 1988, it was designed to serve 1,930 students. Today, it is serving 2,400 students.

Since 1960, the President's Dinner has honored educational service, community leadership and local partnerships. This year's dinner will begin with a reception in the Pettit Atrium of the Shields Science Center at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m. in the Thomas and Donna May Pavilion Tent.

For further information on the President's Dinner and Reception, please call Julie Coleman in the Office of Advancement at 508-565-1344 or email her at juliec@stonehill.edu. The President's Dinner is an invitation only event.