Mo Cowan, Trinity ’91, has been appointed interim senator from Massachusetts, following Sen.John Kerry’s confirmation as the new Secretary of State.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick named Cowan, his former chief of staff, to the position, turning down former Rep. Barney Frank, D- Mass. Cowan will likely hold the seat until June 25, when a special election will determine the new successor.

“Mo is a highly respected public citizen, working to builder a stronger community...with preparation, perspective, sound judgement that has all earned him the respect, admiration and trust of the community,” Patrick said at press conference.

Cowan would join Tim Scott, R-S.C., as the second sitting black senator, the first time in the Senate’s history.

“I am honored and humbled by this action,” Cowan said. “I will go today with the needs and aspirations of our citizens in mind.”

Cowan, a native of Yadkinville, a small town near Winston-Salem, graduated from Duke with a degree in sociology, before pursuing a career as a lawyer in Boston. Cowan, whose father died when he was a teenager, was the first person to attend Duke from his high school.

“I want to thank my mom from the bottom of my heart for giving me the foundation that brings me here today,” Cowan said.