King agreed and made the appearance — and the scholarship cash flowed in.
The arrangement with Streep was a bit more coincidental but did also involve a connection, Dubus said.
In May of last year, Dubus and his younger sister were in New York at an event where the American Academy of Arts and Letters was giving him an award for “Townie.’’ Streep happened to be at the same event to receive an award on behalf of a friend who was out of the country.
Dubus’ sister wanted to meet Streep, so at one point, they walked over to her table and introduced themselves.
“She stood up and was so warm and generous and authentic, so sweet toward my sister,’’ Dubus said.
Recently, Dubus and Meehan were talking about his Chancellor’s Speaker Series and whom the university might get to appear at future events. Dubus mentioned that he had met Streep and that they had a common friend. Dubus offered to approach her about coming to Lowell.
“I don’t think I would have if she hadn’t been so sweet to my sister,’’ he said. “I saw a person who seemed so accessible, and I decided I’m going to ask her.’’
Dubus called his friend Chris Cooper, the actor who recently worked with Streep on the movie “August: Osage County,’’ which is being talked about as an Oscar contender. Dubus got Streep’s email address from Cooper and wrote her a letter about the college and its mission to provide scholarships to students who otherwise might not be able to attend the school.
“I spoke from my heart about the school I really believe in,’’ Dubus said. “I love the idea of the speakers series and am a big supporter of all the wonderful, positive changes the Meehan administration has made.