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Co-op’s Indelible Mark

  • While on co-op as a science educator at Boston’s Museum of Science, Paul Gavin explains the mysteries of electricity to a visiting class of schoolchildren. 
Paul Gavin, Ed’72, has never stopped telling stories about his three co-ops as a science educator at Boston’s Museum of Science.

Take the one about the seven-legged frog.

The mutant amphibian came to Gavin in a shoebox, a gift to the museum’s Live Animal Care Center from a woman and her young son. No sooner had Gavin cracked open the box than the creature leaped out—only to be snared in midair by a resident alligator.

When his laughter subsides, Gavin, who majored in secondary education, turns serious.

Co-op taught me to speak before hundreds of people, put complex ideas in simple terms, and solve problems,” he says. One such problem involved coaxing an anaconda down from the rafters while calming an audience.

Co-op earned Gavin the School of Education’s “Co-op Student of the Year” award and a con­tract to teach math and science in Australia. It also inspired him to take risks. After earning a law degree, he founded a firm specializing in divorce litigation and mediation, and became one of the top 1 percent of trial lawyers in the country.

Last fall, Gavin pledged $300,000 to co-op through his estate plan. His gift will launch the Gavin Fam­ily Endowed Co-op Fund to support undergraduates in co-ops that are underpaying yet empowering.

The fund will come as a surprise to his brothers, all Northeastern alumni. John, E’70, William, E’76, and Philip, LA’82, enjoy successful careers in telecommunications, precision manufacturing, and publishing, respectively—thanks, of course, to co-op.

  • While on co-op as a science educator at Boston’s Museum of Science, Paul Gavin explains the mysteries of electricity to a visiting class of schoolchildren.