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Dedham dad feted as 'Father of the Year'

Posted by Sarah Favot  June 14, 2011 10:00 AM

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Bob Coughlin Headshot NEW.JPG

Robert Coughlin, CEO, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. Photo provided by the American Diabetes Association.

Former state representative Robert Coughlin of Dedham will be receiving the “Father of the Year” award from the American Diabetes Association and national Father’s Day Council.

Coughlin will be honored in a ceremony tonight at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. The award recognizes fathers who have demonstrated the ability to balance their personal lives, serve as role models for their children, and help make a difference in their community.

Coughlin, who lives in Dedham with his wife and three children, MaryKate, 14, Paul, 11, and Bobby, 9, said he is honored to be chosen for the award for being a good father.

“The most important thing in the world to me is being a good dad,” said Coughlin in an interview.

Given his busy professional life as CEO of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, Coughlin said he tries to spend as much time as he can with his children on weekends and always communicate with them.

“I’m not always physically present, so when I am there I am fully present,” he said.

Coughlin said it is an honor to be recognized by the disease discovery community because it is a field he is passionate about in his work and personal life.

MassBio is an association of more than 600 biotechnology companies and academic institutions dedicated to advancing cutting-edge research, according to its website.

“The reason I decided to leave the private sector and government was for the opportunity to work in an industry that is trying to cure disease,” said Coughlin.

He said disease-curing foundations are important to him in his personal life because his son, Bobby, has cystic fibrosis.

Coughlin has worked with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in many capacities, as the honorary chairman of Dedham’s Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Walk, working for the foundation’s capital campaign, and chairing the Children’s Hospital Boston “Champions for Children” event.

Coughlin’s daughter, MaryKate, wrote a letter to friends about her dad receiving the award. In the letter she wrote: “He teaches us how to be the best person that we can, at all times, even though it may be hard. He is a good role model, and I look up to him. When I grow up I want to be just like him.”

Sarah Favot can be reached at

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