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Thousands of alums returned to BU in October to reconnect with the University, celebrate a changing campus, and honor former classmates. And while many Alumni Weekend events drew well over 100 people, it was a quiet tour of Marsh Chapel that brought three alums closer to their alma mater.
Marsha Spellman (CGS’71, SED’73), Fran Lockett-Hofstetter (CGS’71, SED’73), and Pamela Souza (CGS’71, MET’75) met as freshmen and have been friends ever since, returning to campus for Alumni Weekend every 10 years. They had just completed the Marsh Chapel art and architecture tour when they paused to reflect on their weekend together, and their student years.
“I’m so glad I came to Marsh Chapel,” said Souza, who traveled from Indiana. “I love the history, and learning this history has made me feel more proud of BU.”
“We came from the generation of the revolution,” said Spellman, who’d flown in from Oregon. “For us, it was all about protesting the war in Vietnam. We spent much of our years, especially our freshman year, on strike in Marsh Chapel, having demonstrations, moratoriums against the war. I came here now because I feel connected to BU.”
But mostly, said Lockett-Hofstetter, who lives in New York, the weekend gave the friends a chance to meet up again. “The three of us never get together,” she said. “It’s a good excuse to have a weekend together.”
Other alums took the opportunity to look back on their time at BU—former Terrier football players still rued the cancellation of their beloved program, but they heartily greeted fellow players during the weekend—and to glimpse where the University is headed.
More than 250 LAW alumni, faculty, staff, and students celebrated the construction of LAW’s new Sumner M. Redstone Building and the renovation of the tower. Redstone (Hon.’94) gave $18 million for the new building.
Richard C. Godfrey, a University trustee and chair of LAW’s Building on Excellence Campaign, described the project as a “transformational event” in the school’s history. “When I was here in the 1970s, we talked about the rumors of a new building,” said Godfrey (LAW’79). “And here we are, some 30 years later, and the building is rising….As a lifelong Cubs fan, if we can build a new building here at BU, I believe that in my lifetime we’ll actually see a World Series.”
Some alumni spent part of the weekend talking about their own ideas for the future of BU—one that they think should include a football team. At a packed reception for former Terrier football players, cheerleaders, managers, and marching band members, many expressed lasting disappointment that the trustees canceled the football program in 1997 after 91 seasons, largely because of the expense and poor attendance.
Bruce Foucart (CAS’84, MET’85), who was an inside linebacker, said football “is still in our veins.”
Dominic Dell’Olio (SMG’62), a quarterback from ’58 to ’62, said he came back “to meet old friends, and hopefully to try to get football going again.”
Also during the weekend, a crowd gathered in the George Sherman Union Metcalf Ballroom to salute those receiving University Alumni Awards, the BU Alumni Association’s highest honor, at the Best of BU Luncheon & 66th Annual Alumni Awards.
One of them was British-born former athlete David P. Hemery, who won the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico—breaking a world record—and silver and bronze medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Hemery (SMG’68, SED’88) went on to found the charity 21st Century Legacy.
He recalled the training he underwent as an undergraduate, describing his coach, Billy Smith (SED’55,’58), as “the architect” of his Olympic victories. He remembered a winter day when Smith refused to cancel training—outdoors, during a snowstorm: “He said, ‘Out there is the road to Mexico.’ I really thought he was joking. And he stood with his collar up against the blizzard while I did a series of 800 meters. I have no idea how he didn’t absolutely freeze to death. But my respect for him went up enormously for going through it with me.”
Analjit Singh (SMG’77, GSM’79), chairman and managing director of Max India Limited, a health care corporation, joined Hemery in receiving an Alumni Award. The third recipient, Jennifer Yeo (LAW’85), chair and senior partner at Yeo-Leong & Peh in Singapore, was unable to attend the ceremony.
Two others were honored at the luncheon. BUAA president Mary Buletza (SMG’80) presented the Young Alumni Award to Sera Bonds (SPH’04), founder of the nonprofit Circle of Health International, and the Best of BU Award to Jack Parker (SMG’68, Hon.’97), who retired last spring after four decades as men’s ice hockey head coach.
Parker got a standing ovation as he walked to the podium to receive the award. Like Hemery, Parker fondly recalled his undergraduate mentor, saying that while he had great teachers at BU, “I thought that my best professor was my hockey coach, Jack Kelley. He seemed to know more about his subject than most of the guys I had in class. He certainly drove me harder than the professors I had in class….In all the years I’ve been here, the thing that has made it special are the people of BU.”
Scores of students were also recognized over the weekend. New members of BU’s Scarlet Key Society, all seniors in the Class of 2014, were tapped; they will be inducted into the society in spring 2014. The Scarlet Key Society, the University’s highest honor for student leaders, was established in 1938 by the General Alumni Association—now the Boston University Alumni Association.
Mary Perry (CAS’79, GRS’80, LAW’83), a member of the nominating committee, remembers when she was inducted, in 1979 in a ceremony at the Castle. “It was a wonderful honor,” said Perry, who recently retired from the US Air Force after serving as a judge advocate general (JAG), for 26 years. “It felt like someone out there took notice of me. It was the boost I needed to have confidence that what I was doing mattered.”
Howard dePass (CAS’14), a Posse Scholar, a resident assistant, and one of this year’s inductees, knows how Perry felt. “It feels good to have someone recognize the effort you’ve put in during your years at BU, that you’ve contributed to campus life, in my case residential life,” said dePass. “And you get to etch your mark in BU’s history.”
All told, the weekend drew some 5,000 alumni, a number that President Robert A. Brown said reflects alums’ “strong connection” to the University and a growing engagement with BU. “Just a few years ago, BU alumni were gathering a little more than three times a week on average,” Brown said at the Alumni Awards ceremony. “Today they gather almost three times a day at events around the world. That’s an astounding change.”
Jeremy Christopher Hobson (’04). Distinguished Alumni Award. Cohost, NPR’s Here & Now.
Stephanie McMahon Levesque (’98). Distinguished Alumni Award. Executive vice president, creative, World Wrestling Enterprises (WWE).
Pete Souza (’76). Distinguished Alumni Award. Director and chief official White House photographer for President Barack Obama.
Mark Walton (’76). Distinguished Alumni Award. Executive vice president, sponsorship and corporate development, Onyx Global Marketing, Inc.
Anton Papp (’90). Distinguished Alumni Award for Service to Alma Mater. Vice president, corporate development, Teradata, Inc.
Dan Ryan (’10) and Aaron Ganick (’10). Distinguished Young Alumni Awards. Co-founders, ByteLight, Inc.
George Savage (’81). Distinguished Alumni Award for Service to the Profession. Cofounder and chief medical officer, Proteus Digital Health.
Elissa Altman (’83, CAS’85). Alumni Award. Award-winning food writer and author of Poor Man’s Feast: A Love Story of Comfort, Desire, and the Art of Simple Cooking.
Douglas Chamberlain (’74, GSM’76). Distinguished Alumni Award. President and CEO, Appleton Partners, Inc.
Kimberly Grant (’10). Distinguished Alumni Award. Former president and COO, Ruby Tuesday, Inc.
Alison Adler (’81). Ida M. Johnston Alumni Award. Pioneer in the field of safe schools and positive school climates.
Suzanne Chapin (’85,’87). Dean Arthur Wilde Society Alumni Award. SED professor of mathematics education.
Elizabeth H. Cerrato (’89, CAS’89). Gerard H. Cohen Award. LAW assistant dean for administration.
Scott L. Fredericksen (’77). Silver Shingle Award for Service to the Profession. Managing partner, Foley & Lardner, Washington, D.C., office.
Sa’adiyah K. Masoud (’03). Young Lawyer’s Chair. Attorney, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker.
Martin S. Needelman (’69). Silver Shingle Award for Service to the Community. Attorney, Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation.
Robert Volk (’78). Silver Shingle Award for Service to the School. LAW associate professor and director, Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy Program.
Robert N. Golden (’79). Distinguished Alumnus Award. Dean, School of Medicine and Public Health, and vice chancellor for medical affairs, University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Andrew S. Levey (’76). Distinguished Alumni Award. Chief, William B. Schwartz Division of Nephrology, Tufts Medical Center.
Mahesh Maskey (’01). Distinguished Alumni Award. Nepal’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the People’s Republic of China.
Christina Severin (’95). Distinguished Alumni Award. President and CEO, Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization.
Conor Shapiro (’07). Young Alumni Award. President and CEO, St. Boniface Haiti Foundation.
Faye Askew-King (’77). Outstanding Career in Social Work. Program director, SOS Community Services.
Reeve Goldhaber. Outstanding contributions to the School of Social Work. Director, SSW Lowy-GEM Program in Aging.
Kathleen Mackenzie (’92). Hubie Jones Urban Service Award. School adjustment counselor, New Bedford Public Schools.
Shawna Rodrigues (’02). Outstanding contributions to the field of social work. Program specialist, Office of Head Start.
Andy Crouch (’94). Distinguished Alumni Award. Executive editor, Christianity Today.
David K. Farley (’78). Distinguished Alumni Award. Chair, Immigration Task Force of the California Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Deborah Kiesey (’76). Distinguished Alumni Award. Ordained deacon and elder.
Michele Shields (’81). Distinguished Alumni Award. Director, spiritual care services, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.