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Spring 2009 Table of Contents

Capitol Gains

Many members of the BU community have been tapped by the new president

| From Commonwealth | By Amy Laskowski

Gary Locke (LAW’75, Hon.’98) with President Obama and Vice President Biden. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

As the Obama administration gets its shop in order, many people who once lived near the Charles are renting homes along the Potomac. So far, more than a dozen alums and other members of the BU community have been tapped by the new president for roles in his cabinet, at the White House, and at other federal agencies, or have taken part in some way in the lead-up to January’s inauguration.

Gary Locke (LAW’75, Hon.’98) is President Obama’s secretary of commerce. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March. Lock is the former governor of Washington and was the first Chinese-American governor in the United States.

Joshua DuBois (CAS’03) is head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. DuBois graduated from BU with a degree in political science. He earned a master’s degree in public affairs at Princeton and enrolled at Georgetown University Law School, but left to join Obama’s campaign.

Pete Souza (COM’76) is the official White House photographer and director of the White House photo office. Souza was working for the Chicago Tribune when he was assigned to shoot Obama’s first year in the Senate, a job that took him all over the world with the young politician. Last year, he published The Rise of Barack Obama, a hardcover book of his pictures. Souza also served as an official White House photographer for President Ronald Reagan.

Steven Chu (Hon.’07) is the U.S. secretary of energy. Chu was a co-winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in physics, honored for his use of lasers to cool and trap atoms. He was previously a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Chu was the BU Commencement speaker in 2007, receiving an honorary doctorate.

Robert Khuzami (LAW’83) is the director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s division of enforcement. Previously, Khuzami was a top legal official at the Wall Street investment firm Deutsche Bank and had been a federal prosecutor with the U.S. attorney’s office for the southern district of New York for eleven years. Khuzami is widely known for his prosecution of Omar Ahmed Ali Abdel-Rahman, the “Blind Sheik,” in what was at the time the largest terrorism trial in U.S. history. He also supervised several initial investigations into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Annie Tomasini (CAS’02) is the deputy press secretary for Vice President Joe Biden. Tomasini worked for the Obama presidential campaign and as press secretary for Biden when he served in the U.S. Senate.

Michael Conley (LAW’89) is the deputy solicitor in the appellate group of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s office of the general counsel. He previously served as senior special counsel in the appellate group. While at LAW, he was the editor-in-chief of the Boston University Law Review.

Jay Heimbach (LAW’94) is a member of Obama’s legislative affairs team. Heimbach previously served as chief of staff to Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and worked under President Bill Clinton in the office of legislative affairs and as policy advisor to the deputy chief of staff. He also advised the Federal Communications Commission.

Eric Lander, a Boston University trustee, is the cochair of the Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He is a leading contributor to the Human Genome Project, founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and a professor at both MIT and Harvard Medical School.

Elizabeth Alexander (GRS’87), a Yale University professor of African-American studies, wrote and delivered the inaugural poem, “Praise Song for the Day.”

Bishop Philip R. Cousin (STH’56) offered the opening prayer at Obama’s election night rally. Cousin is an African Methodist Episcopal minister and a former president of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA.

Thakoon Panichgul (SMG’97) designed a dress worn by Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention. Previously, the New York fashion designer worked as a merchandiser for J. Crew and an editor at Harper’s Bazaar. Panichgul studied fashion design at Parsons School of Design.

Amanda Gentry (CFA’95) codesigned Obama’s “O” logo.

Master Sergeant Kurt Dupuis (CFA’90), a member of the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Band, performed in the inauguration ceremony and parade, as well as in the national prayer service.

Staff Sergeant Jonathan Bisesi (CFA’02), a member of the USMC Band, performed in the inauguration parade.

Staff Sergeant Gabriel Gitman (CFA’96), a member of the USMC Band, performed in the inauguration ceremony and parade, as well as in the national prayer service.

Gunnery Sergeant Nan Lopata (CFA’83), a member of the USMC Band, performed in the inauguration ceremony and parade.


Joshua Sharfstein, who completed his residency at Boston Medical Center, has been nominated to be deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

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