LOWELL—Boston’s Police commissioner returned today to the city where he grew up, winning thunderous applause at UMass-Lowell’s commencement, where he was the keynote speaker, for his performance in the aftermath of the marathon bombings.
“Every decision I made ... was based on the totality of my life’s experiences that spanned the three decades since I earned my college degree,” said Edward F. Davis, referring to his response after the April 15 bombings.
“That same template is going to hold true for you as well,” he told the graduates.
New graduate Rudy Baez, 23, a business administration major from Lawrence, said his speech was inspiring.
“With the tragedy in Boston, how sad things were, he talked about staying strong and connected, to continue to work for what we want in our lives, so I found his speech very motivational,” he said.
The commissioner, who was also given an honorary doctor of humane letters degree, recalled visits to other countries hit by terrorism, such as the United Kingdom, and said he applied what he learned during those trips to his decision-making after the bombings.
Residents here say Davis is an inspiration, a shining example of a local guy who has risen to national prominence.
“He is ours and we’re proud of him,” said Dorothy Clark-Diaz, who grew up in Lowell, attending the graduation of a family friend.
A record 3,169 students graduated in the school’s 22nd commencement ceremony, the sixth consecutive year there has been a record.
On May 3, Davis accepted an honorary doctorate in public service from Northeastern University on behalf of the first responders and law enforcement officials who sprang into action after the bombings.
On Sunday, he is to receive another honorary doctorate in public service, this one from Suffolk University.Brian Ballou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeBallou.