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Throughout the tenures of five U.S. presidencies, eight UMass presidencies, six governors, and five UMass Boston chancellors, Shaun O’Connell has regularly produced scintillating essays distilling the essence of several books, “bundled,” as it were, because of common themes that run through their pages, into masterful expositions—profound, reflective, social critiques that invariably tie knots between fiction and nonfiction and a range of pertinent public policy issues. His extraordinary ability helps us understand that the best poets and novelists and nonfiction authors give us glimpses into the complex machinery of the human psyche and often imbed economic and social policy issues before they have found a way into the academic and policy-making mainstream. His essays fine tune our sense of a common, fragile, and often vulnerable humanity that finds further expression in the mission of the McCormack School.

After reading one of Shaun’s essays you will have learned something—and that “something” ultimately will find a place in your own scholarship and the scholarship of others who take the time to read the articles we publish, and among the many “nonacademic” policy-making leaders attuned to reading the best public intellectuals have to offer.

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