2017 was a year of milestones for the University. From a record-breaking $115M gift, groundbreaking research, and new buildings, there were tons of moments that have us #ProudtoBU. As we wrap up the year, we’re counting down our picks of alumni that helped define 2017 for Boston University.
Let the countdown begin! Say hello to our Terriers of 2017:
Bob Hines (ENG’97)
Why we picked him: BU has many alumni in high places, but Bob Hines is bound for greater heights. He is one of only a dozen people chosen this year by NASA to be an astronaut candidate. The astronaut candidates—seven men and five women—reported in August for two years of training.
In the coming years, we could see a lot from Hines, including possible assignments on the international aircraft, the commercial spacecraft, or even trip into deep space via NASA’s Orion project. We can’t wait to hear more about Hine’s progress. To infinity and beyond!
Mitchell Garabedian (CGS’71, CAS’73)
Why we picked him: In 2002, Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian represented 86 people who claimed to have been molested or raped as children by Father John J. Geoghan, a Catholic priest from Dorchester, Mass. The case led to a $10 million settlement for Garabedian’s clients.
To this day Garabedian is still chopping away at these types of cases. He knows the church won’t change in his lifetime, but the thought of giving victims hope for justice is motivation enough to keep him going.
Carmen Yulín Cruz (CAS’84)
Why we picked her: In the wake of Hurricane Maria, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz was pushed into the spotlight by one of President Trump’s Twitter storms. After Maria hit, Mayor Cruz went to work doing everything in her power to save lives and provide shelter for those in need. Cruz, who belongs to the Popular Democratic Party, is known for her willingness to speak candidly. She was first elected mayor of San Juan in 2012, after serving four years in the Commonwealth’s House of Representatives.
Rajen Kilachand (Questrom ’74, Hon.’14)
Why we picked him: With his latest gift to Boston University, a $115 million commitment to research at the intersection of the life sciences and engineering, Kilachand approaches the ranks of those historic architects of higher education. His contribution, the largest in the history of Boston University, directs $15 million to support the construction of the new Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering and $100 million to establish an endowment known as the Rajen Kilachand Fund for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering.
This was not Kilachand’s first gift to the university. Back in 2011, he pledged $25 million to establish the Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College. One year later he raised his pledge by $10 million for a renovation of Kilachand Hall.
Uzo Aduba (CFA’05) and David Ortiz (Hon.’17)
Why we picked them:
Uzo Aduba (CFA’05) – Chosen as the 2017 College of Fine Arts convocation speaker, Aduba encouraged our graduates to carry the torch and promote the arts for future generations. Commenting that in today’s climate their work is more important than ever. “Imagine our society without the things that propelled you and other artists like you into this field—museums, concert halls, high school bands and choirs, art festivals, and operas.”
David Ortiz (Hon.’17) – Ortiz was honored this year for his commitment to Boston on the field with the Red Sox and philanthropy off the field. In 2005, Ortiz founded the David Ortiz Children’s Fund to help children in New England and the Dominican Republic who lack access to pediatric services. The organization has raised more than $2 million and is credited with saving many children’s lives in the island nation. Fittingly, Ortiz’s honorary degree was awarded at historic Nickerson Field, once the home of the Boston Braves and the site where former Red Sox pitcher Babe Ruth signed his last professional contract, with the Braves.
Bonnie Hammer (CGS’69, COM’71, SED’75, Hon.’17) and Karen Lynch (Questrom’99)
Why we picked them: In Fortune’s 20th annual “Most Powerful Women in Business List,” both Bonnie Hammer and Karen Lynch were amongst the names on the list.
Aetna president Karen Lynch (Questrom’99) secured the 21st spot and NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group chair (and this year’s Commencement speaker) Bonnie Hammer (CGS’69, COM’71, SED’75, Hon.’17) came in at 47th.
May Chow (SHA’07)
Why we picked her: Chow was voted Asia’s Best Female Chef of 2017. The award is presented by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and voted for by 300 chefs, restaurateurs, journalists, and bloggers. Chow is the chef and owner of Little Bao in Hong Kong and Second Draft in Tai Hang.
Pete Souza (COM’76)
Why we picked him: Souza started taking pictures of Barack Obama in 2005, when he was a Chicago Tribune photographer based in Washington, D.C., and Obama was a freshly minted senator from Illinois. The connection they made landed Souza the job as Obama’s chief official White House photographer, from the first day of his presidency to the last, eight years later. And Obama granted him a stunning level of access, from the biggest moments to the smallest. – The College of Communication will honor Souza with the Hugo Shong Lifetime Achievement in Communication Award on February 2.
Janet Lewin (CGS’90, COM’92)
Why we picked her: Lewin played a crucial role in the development of the groundbreaking visual effects in the latest Star Wars movie franchise. She’s the vice president of visual effects for Lucasfilm and the VFX producer on the production company’s Star Wars films, including the recently released eighth episode—The Last Jedi.
Dr. Shamim Dahod (CGS’76, CAS’78, MED’87)
Why we picked her: Alumni will soon have a new home on campus, thanks in large part to a $2 million gift from BU trustee Dr. Shamim Dahod (CGS’76, CAS’78, MED’87) and her husband, Ashraf Dahod, for the creation of the Dahod Family Alumni Center in the BU Castle. The building is currently undergoing renovations and is set to open in fall 2018 during Alumni Weekend.
Steve Zide (LAW’86)
Why we picked him: This year Steve Zide stepped up with a $10 million naming gift for the recently completed Joan and Edgar Booth Theatre on the Charles River Campus. He suspected the decision might surprise a few people. A theater? But as BU trustee Zide tells it, the gift is a fitting and poetic tribute to his theater-loving wife, Janet Zide, and his in-laws, who brought the joy of stage performance into his life and the lives of the Zides’ four children.
With another great year in the books, we’re looking for game-changing alumni for 2018. If you or someone you know is driving change, tell us about it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.