Boston University Faculty Members Remembered
Former director of BU’s Survival, Urgency, Recreation, Growth and Enthusiasm (SURGE) program, on August 15, 2009, at age 75.
Jeneid, an inspiring figure to students and faculty, died at his home in Stinson Beach, California, after a battle with bone cancer.
Jeneid was recruited to the University by BU President Emeritus John R. Silber (Hon.’95), after Silber learned of his work with the Outward Bound schools in the United States and Australia. “I was deeply saddened to learn of Michael Jeneid’s death,” says Silber. “He was a splendid man — truly outstanding, marvelously imaginative, and inspiring as an example to his students.”
SURGE was an innovative outdoor education program at BU during the early and mid-1970s. It offered students one-week courses centered on rock-climbing, kayaking, and winter camping. It also offered a one-month Hudson River journey, from the river’s source at Lake Tear of the Clouds, in the Adirondacks, to Battery Park, in Manhattan.
“We call it a survival and self-orientation program,” Jeneid said in a 1973 New York Times account of his Hudson River course. “Essentially, it’s a means of improving your self-image.” Many of those who signed on for Jeneid’s courses — several of whom later worked for him — would call that an understatement.
“Michael’s emphasis on trying, always trying, never succumbing to the fear of failure, has guided me through my life,” says Brian Kunz, an alumnus of the Hudson River course, who later became a SURGE instructor and is now the deputy director of outdoor programs at Dartmouth College.
“He changed our lives, that was the thing,” says Saranne Taylor, a SURGE instructor, who went on to become safety director for the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, in Maine. “He influenced me probably more than anyone other than my parents.”
During the 1970s, derivatives of Outward Bound, which uses challenging physical adventure to teach students that they can do more than they thought possible, proliferated. But Jeneid’s BU courses were unique, in part because of his unyielding emphasis on physical challenge.
“Many adventure organizations lost their way and found themselves processing an experience without going through the action part first,” says Kunz. “To me, Michael defined adventure education: action and reflection.”
Jeneid’s courses were also unique because of his unusual background and his ability to meld the physical demands of outdoor activities with the poetics of an intimate experience with nature. A native of Great Britain, he served with the Royal Marines and was an avid bird-watcher and the author of several collections of poetry.
In the late 1970s, Jeneid moved to California, where he taught cross-country skiing with the Sierra Club and pursued his passions for ocean kayaking and bird-watching. He also churned out small-press writings on birds in the works of Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Whitman.
But for many, his legacy will rest with the impact he had on the lives of his students. “By having complete faith in them,” says Taylor, “he got them to do their best.” Michael Rezendes (CAS’78) Michael Rezendes is a former SURGE instructor.
Anthony A. Gianelly (GRS’67, MED’74)
Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine professor and chair ad interim of the department of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, on May 28, 2009, at age 72.
Gianelly had been chair of the department from 1968 to 2003 and chair ad interim since 2007.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1957 from Harvard College, where he was on the football, track, and rugby teams, a D.M.D. from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 1961, and a certificate of advanced graduate study in orthodontics from the Harvard/Forsyth Dental Center in 1963. He earned a Ph.D. in biology and biochemistry from Boston University in 1967 and an M.D. in 1974.
Gianelly began his career as a research fellow in orthodontics at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 1963. He was appointed an associate professor of orthodontics at SDM in 1967 and became a full professor in 1969.
He held numerous nonacademic appointments throughout his career, coauthored ninety journal articles between 1965 and 2007, and authored or coauthored three books.
He also received many awards, most recently the 2009 Louise Ada Jarabak Memorial International Teachers and Research Award, presented in May. He received the Spencer N. Frankl Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1999. The same year, the Italian Society of Orthodontists gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award.
Donations can be made to the Anthony A. Gianelly Chair in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Office of Alumni Relations, 72 East Newton St., B304, Boston, MA 02118, or to the Parish of the Good Shepherd, 1671 Beacon St., Waban, MA.
Margaret “Margo” Hagopian (PAL’47)
Former assistant to the dean at the School of Law, on July 22, 2009, at age 82.
After joining the LAW staff in 1947, Hagopian became the heart and soul of the school through her dedication to excellence and her unwavering kindness to all students, faculty, and staff. Even after her retirement in 2006, she continued to serve the school as its historian, and she never lost touch with those members of the LAW community she cared deeply about.
“Margo was a rare and delightful person,” says Maureen O’Rourke, dean of LAW. “She nurtured and supported our students and alumni for more than half a century. Long after she earned a relaxing retirement, she chose to remain a vibrant contributor to the school. Few people have been as dedicated to the school and as loved by faculty, staff, students, and alumni.”
The daughter of Armenian immigrants, Hagopian was a lifelong resident of Newburyport, Massachusetts. She earned an associate’s degree in commercial science from BU’s College of Practical Arts and Letters in 1947, and began working as a secretary to the LAW faculty. She was hardworking and personable and was quickly promoted several times, eventually becoming assistant to the dean. In her long relationship with the school, she worked under nine deans.
She meticulously documented the school’s history, and she worked to preserve the stories of distinguished LAW alumni. “Margo was a presence not only in the alumni community, but also throughout the entire school,” says Stanley Fisher, a LAW professor, who met Hagopian when he joined the faculty in 1968. “She was strongly involved in organizing alumni events, and she often attended the Board of Trustees and the Board of Visitors meetings.”
She valued the connections she made over the years. “For her, it wasn’t just, ‘Oh, I met you — hello, good-bye,’” says Irene Moustakas, director of personnel services at LAW and a close friend since 1951. “It meant a great deal to her to have that contact with students. She liked it, and they appreciated it. They appreciated that someone cared about them enough to stay in touch. She went out of her way to be nice to them and ask about their families.”
Hagopian was honored many times by the University and by LAW. She was the first recipient of the Student Bar Association award honoring outstanding service and contribution to the student body, in 1987. Later that year, she received the John S. Perkins Distinguished Service Award, presented annually by the Boston University Faculty Council to nonfaculty members of the BU community who have “served the University with great distinction and have made important contributions toward the goals of the University.” In 1988, she received the Silver Shingle Award, LAW’s highest honor, for Distinguished Service to the School of Law. She received the Gerard H. Cohen Award in 1995.
At LAW’s 125th anniversary in 1997, the Annual Alumni Gala was held in Hagopian’s honor for her fifty years of service to the school. She told BU Today, “I can’t imagine anyone having a better time anywhere than I’ve had here…. I’ve enjoyed my years here so much that they haven’t seemed like work.”
In his speech honoring Hagopian at the event, Robert Kent (LAW’49) said, “It is often said that no one is indispensable. Maybe so, but this woman came close.”
“The larger part of Margo’s effect has not come from her ability to administer, advise, and direct the life of the school,” wrote Ronald A. Cass, dean of LAW at the time, in a letter announcing thegala. “It has been a simple and rare quality: she loves people so readily and fully that we cannot help falling in love with her.”
That sentiment was true for students, as well.
“I first met Margo fifty-three years ago, when I was a first-year law student,” says Morton Aronson (LAW’59). “She had great empathy and understanding of the trials and tribulations of law students. Margo always went the extra mile to be helpful.”
In many cases, her service to students is what alumni remember best about their experience at LAW.
“She stayed in touch with graduates throughout the country — and the world, for that matter — and they, in turn, think of her as as much a part of the law school as its name,” says Paul Sugarman (LAW’54). “To the students, although she never admitted or acknowledged it, she really functioned as the school’s ‘go-to’ person. She was the one a student would turn to in the event of a problem or question. Margo is synonymous with the Boston University School of Law.” -Elizabeth Ress
Lynne Stevens (CGS’65,CAS’67)
School of Medicine assistant professor of family medicine, on June 20, 2009, at age 63.
Stevens, an activist and researcher in the field of violence against women, was director of the Responding to Violence Against Women Program at Boston Medical Center.
A psychotherapist in private practice in Manhattan for decades, Stevens specialized in improving services for victims of violence. Working with such groups as the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere and the United Nations Population Fund, she developed and implemented programs in many countries, including Nepal, Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Armenia.
Stevens, who earned a B.A. in psychology from BU and a master’s in social work from Fordham University, joined the BU faculty in 2005. She championed evaluating and strengthening services for victims of violence in a variety of settings, including the family medicine department’s ambulatory care clinic, the Manet Community Health Center, Boston University Student Health Services, and dental clinics.
“Her activities led to the recognition of a problem with many silent victims, to its inclusion in medical curriculum, and to the development of clinical models of care,” says Larry Culpepper (SPH’89), a MED professor and chair of the department of family medicine. "She had the rare qualities of seeing clearly the suffering others overlooked and of inspiring colleagues to respond.”
As Stevens traveled in Asia, she fell in love with the bright, beautiful fabrics worn by the local women. In 2007, she started designing and selling few-of-a-kind yoga bags under the company name Samadhi. She donated a percentage of profits to yogaHOPE, which provides free yoga programs for needy women and girls and where she was a volunteer teacher.
In 2006, Stevens and her partner of twenty years, Deborah Maine, a School of Public Health professor of international health, were married in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Contributions can be made in her memory to Casa Myrna Vazquez, P.O. Box 180019, Boston, MA 02218.
Shirley Lund (CAS’59)
College of Arts & Sciences professor emerita of religion, on October 18, 2008, at age 86.
Lund joined the CAS religion department as a lecturer in 1961 and retired in 1988. Dianne Dyslin (CAS’82) first met Lund in September 1978, at a religion department reception for incoming students, and got to know her when she took Lund’s course Literature of the New Testament a year later.
“She was an incredibly dedicated teacher with a great deal of enthusiasm for her subject,” Dyslin says. “Her classes were always inspiring and informative.”
Born in Nashua, New Hampshire, Lund graduated from Nashua High School and earned a certificate after completing Nashua Business College in 1941. Afterward, Dyslin says, “she stayed home to work so she could help her mother raise her younger siblings, who were quite young when their father died.”
Lund entered BU in 1955, earning a bachelor’s in philosophy and religion and studying at the School of Theology. She went on to become a Fulbright scholar, in 1964, and earned a Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, in 1966.
Dyslin kept in touch with Lund long after graduating from BU. She describes Lund as selfless, proud of her independence, and modest about her achievements. “She was definitely a role model for young women.”
Leicester R. Potter, Jr. (GRS’42, STH’44)
Retired University Hospital (now Boston Medical Center) chaplain and School of Theology director of pastoral care and education, on July 6, 2009, at age 94.
Potter, who was hospital chaplain for thirty-nine years, was elected a member of the Corporation, University Hospital’s version of a board of overseers. He retired in 1983.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston University, and a master’s in sacred theology and a Doctor of Ministry from the Andover Newton Theological School. He also was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the Geneva Theological College of Wisconsin.
Potter, who taught courses in pastoral care, would indoctrinate his students in the importance of all the roles within a hospital setting, from orderly to surgeon, according to his family.
“Boston University was his life,” his son David Potter says. “He would put his students through a boot camp. He’d give them a broom, mop, or a bedpan, and make them do the work of janitor or observe a surgery or even watch a cremation. He wanted them involved in all of the hospital’s processes so they could understand how it works.”
“He was a major part of the nurses’ lives,” says Lee Goldstein, a longtime nurse at BMC. Potter was involved with and supported the Nurses Alumni Association of BMC. “He was very personable and would ask how you were doing, and he always gave the invocation at a hospital function or meal. It’s like losing a family member.”
Goldstein recalls that Potter had an office full of radios, which he would hand out to the patients so they would have something to listen to while in the hospital.
In the early 1970s, the Medical Campus’s Talbot Building faced demolition. Potter worked to save the building and persuaded the city of Boston to declare it a historic landmark.
He also spearheaded the construction of an interfaith chapel at the hospital, complete with stained glass windows and a mural depicting different hospital roles. He even salvaged old hospital tools for an exhibition of historical medical devices, now displayed outside the chapel. “He had a real sense of the hospital, because he watched it grow tremendously,” his son says.
Potter served as president of the Institute of Pastoral Care, the Massachusetts Chaplains Association, and the American Protestant Hospital Association. He was chairman of the New England Region of the Institute of Pastoral Care, as well as a member of various other professional organizations.
In retirement, he was writing a history of Boston Medical Center, according to his son. “Write it down, write it down, he’d always say, there’s always a book in that,” David Potter says. “People became close to him because he was interested in everyone’s story, which you need to be as a chaplain.” -Amy Laskowski