Visit: http://www.umb.edu/commencement/ To Support UMass Boston: https://www.umb.edu/ua/giving/give_online.php The award-winning Mystic River author Dennis Lehane received an honorary doctorate in humane letters at the commencement exercises for the University of Massachusetts Boston, held on Friday, June 4 at the Bayside Exposition Center at 10:30 a.m. Lehane, the author of seven novels, was honored for his impressive catalogue of fiction known for its powerful characters and suspenseful prose. Lehane's crime novels are popular with reader and reviewer alike. To those new to his earlier work, Lehane may be best known for his novel Mystic River, which inspired the 2003 Academy-Award winning movie directed by Clint Eastwood. The work has attracted rave reviews: the New York Times Book Review called Mystic River "a powerhouse heart-scorching penetrating," and Booklist has said, "Lehane is one of our best fiction writers, period." In addition, Mystic River was a finalist for the PEN/Winship Award and won the Anthony Award and the Barry Award for Best Novel, as well as the Massachusetts Book Award in Fiction, given by the Massachusetts Center for the book. Lehane frequently finds inspiration for his novels in the city streets of Boston. He was born in Dorchester and was one of five children reared by working class parents who emigrated from Ireland. He graduated from Boston College High School, attended undergraduate classes at Emerson College and UMass Boston before earning his bachelor of arts at Eckert College in St. Petersberg, Florida. Lehane earned a master's of fine arts from Florida International University, where he studied with novelist John Dufresne and mystery writer John Sandford. While still in college, he wrote a draft of his first novel A Drink Before the War, a crime story about childhood friends who grew up together in Dorchester and became private investigators. There are five titles in this series, including Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone Baby Gone; and Prayers for Rain. His novel A Drink Before the War won the Shamus Award for Best First Novel, and his novel Prayers for Rain was named a New York Times Notable Book.