Boston University Faculty Members Remembered
Leonard M. “Lenny” Bloksberg
A School of Social Work professor emeritus of social work, on February 13, 2011, at 81.
A professor at SSW for 38 years, Bloksberg will be remembered for his commitment to social welfare policy. He believed that social workers should be trained not merely to implement such policy, but to understand the process of policy formation.
“Lenny was a fine man and a strong voice for social justice and for social policies,” says SSW Dean Gail Steketee. “When he was here at the School of Social Work, he always kept us on track, to remember our roots and our goals. As an emeritus faculty member, his intellect and humor came through in gatherings with friends and colleagues. It was my great pleasure to know him, and he will be sorely missed.”
Bloksberg was born on March 24, 1929, in New York City. He graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School and City College of New York and earned a master’s in social work from Columbia University and a doctoral degree from the Heller School at Brandeis University. He joined the School of Social Work in 1962 and was tenured in 1969. He was appointed a professor emeritus upon his retirement in 2000.
With a focus on social welfare policy, he attacked the problems of poverty, dealing with child welfare, social welfare, and family services. He was appointed to the Massachusetts Commission on Mental Health by Governor Michael Dukakis in 1988, and was awarded the Beverly Ross Fliegel Award for Social Policy and Change by the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Work in 1995. When he retired, he founded the Newbury Democratic Town Committee, taking great pride in the organization’s accomplishments and political candidates.
“One of Lenny’s great qualities was that he always wanted to know what you thought about something,” says Robert Hudson, an SSW professor and chair of social welfare policy. “He was endlessly inquisitive, had a very lively mind, and loved to debate important issues of the day. He was at once both generous and ornery, and it’s that combination that we loved so much about him.”
Donations in Bloksberg’s name may be made to the Boston University School of Social Work, 264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215, or to the local food pantry or hospice service of the donor’s choice. ~Jason L. London, SSW marketing & communications specialist
Burton L. Cooper (CAS’53)
A College of Arts & Sciences professor emeritus of English, on December 23, 2010, at 78.
Cooper enjoyed a long and productive career in the department of English, from his time as an undergraduate through his ascent up the professional ranks to his retirement in 1999.
He joined the faculty at BU as an instructor in 1961. He was a scholar of film and American drama in particular, but in truth taught a range of courses, from Shakespeare to O’Neill, Shaw, Wilde, and Beckett. He taught every 100-level introductory course in literature and writing at some point in his career. He pioneered the EN175 Introduction to Film course and offered advanced courses in the films of Orson Welles and George Cukor, among others, as well as the full range of American and modern drama. He was a dedicated teacher, known especially for his attention to student writing.
“Professor Cooper maintained an attitude throughout the year unlike that of any instructor I had before: a sense of intimacy between teacher and student,” notes a student in EN175. “Rarely have I had an instructor who keeps eye contact with the student and, upon realizing the student’s recognition of a concept, allows spontaneous feedback. Never were lectures structured so that students were denied their voice.”
Cooper was deeply involved in the life of the department and the college. In the department, he served for three years as director of the Freshman-Sophomore Writing Program (the precursor to today’s Writing Program), for six years as director of undergraduate studies, and a term as acting associate chair. His comprehensive understanding of the undergraduate curriculum led to his appointment as acting assistant dean of undergraduate student affairs for a year, followed by a long-term appointment as associate dean of undergraduate student affairs, from 1989 to 1995. He performed all these duties conscientiously and with his usual wit and style.
Those who knew Cooper valued—along with his encyclopedic memory of theatrical and musical performances—his dry, sharp sense of humor. He was one of the great raconteurs, full of wonderful stories, but also capable of serious talk about serious things. ~William C. Carroll, chair, CAS English department
A College of Fine Arts adjunct professor, School of Music, on December 27, 2010, at 96.
Hillyer, the founding violist of the Juilliard String Quartet, continued teaching viola lessons and chamber music studies at BU’s School of Music until his final lecture on December 6, 2010.
A member of the Juilliard String Quartet for more than 20 years, Hillyer helped revitalize traditional chamber music, influencing and mentoring many younger quartets that followed.
Born in 1914 in Ithaca, N.Y., Hillyer began studying violin at age seven. At age 16, he enrolled in the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and later pursued mathematics at Dartmouth College before continuing music studies at Harvard University. He spent his summers at the Berkshire Music Center (now Tanglewood) with fellow classmate Leonard Bernstein.
In 1942, he joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as a violinist and was also a member of the Stradivarius Quartet. Four years later, he borrowed a viola and learned enough to audition for the Juilliard String Quartet and be accepted, according to the Boston Globe. Against the advice of fellow orchestra members, Hillyer quit his prize job at the BSO to go on the road with this new quartet, the Globe said.
The Juilliard String Quartet quickly gained acclaim for its innovative set lists. In 1949, it was the first group to present Béla Bartók’s six quartets in one cycle. Hillyer joined the NBC Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini in 1950.
He remained at NBC for a year, still playing viola for the Juilliard String Quartet.
Hillyer left the quartet in 1969 and began teaching music at American University in 1971. He later taught at Juilliard, the Curtis Institute, the Yale School of Music, and Harvard, before bringing his years of music experience to BU in 1981.
The Globe recounted Hillyer’s explanation of the Juilliard String Quartet’s success: “We played as if our lives depended on it.” ~Samantha DuBois (CAS’12)
A School of Management guest lecturer and executive in residence, on January 8, 2011, at 75.
Mottur brought his extensive business knowledge to Boston University in the late 1980s, first serving as a faculty coordinator and lecturer. He later became executive in residence in the strategy department, teaching business strategy, international management, and entrepreneurship.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., he attended Poly Prep high school. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Williams College in 1957, and an MBA from Harvard in 1960.
He spent the majority of his career as an international management consultant for various high-tech portfolio companies, including Harbridge House, Arthur D. Little, and most recently, Supply Chain Ventures, LLC.
For the past three years, Mottur also was on the BU faculty working on a program on entrepreneurship for Norwegian graduate students, sponsored by the Norwegian government and the University of Oslo.
Throughout his career, Mottur helped Fortune 500 companies strengthen their performance, and he published numerous articles on effective business strategies. ~SD
Peter J. Mozden (MED’53)
A School of Medicine professor of surgery, on January 4, 2011, at 86.
Mozden, a School of Medicine professor specializing in surgical oncology, dedicated his career to furthering cancer research and education. He established the nation’s first oncology section at a university teaching hospital, at Boston University Medical Center Hospital in 1964 and helped form the first regional oncology program, based in New England.
Mozden came to MED as an assistant professor of surgery in 1962. In 1966, he was made chief of the oncology section at Boston University Medical Center Hospital, and chief of the surgical oncology section in 1974.
In 1980, Mozden became a MED professor of surgery. During his years at BU, he also served as coordinator of cancer training and research, an associate professor of surgery and gynecology, director of the Clinical Cancer Training Grant, and director of the Clinical Cancer Education Program.
Born in Woronoco, Mass., Mozden interrupted his education at the University of Wisconsin to join the U.S. Army, where he was a staff sergeant during World War II. He earned both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. He eventually earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in 1949.
In the early years of his career, Mozden worked at Massachusetts Memorial Hospital, New England Deaconess Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Pondville State Cancer Hospital, with focuses in cancer research, surgery, and gynecology.
Mozden was a member, chair, or consultant for more than 60 cancer research committees. In 1964, he received the Frances Stone Burns Award for Cancer Research from the Massachusetts division of the American Cancer Society. He also served as a physician advisor to Richard Nixon, as part of the National Cancer Act in 1971. The School of Medicine established the Peter J. Mozden Visiting Professorship in his honor after his retirement in 1989.
Maureen T. Kavanah, a MED associate professor and a surgical oncologist who trained under Mozden, praised her mentor. “He was a remarkable man,” she told the Boston Globe, “a superb surgeon, an engaging teacher, an ardent researcher, and one of the best in compassionately taking the time to listen to the patient.” ~SD
Francis J. Scheid (SED’42, GRS’43)
A College of Arts & Sciences professor emeritus of mathematics and department chair, on February 24, 2011, at 90.
Scheid, a professor emeritus of mathematics for 34 years, combined his love of math and his love of golf to single-handedly reform the handicapping system of the U.S. Golf Association (USGA).
He became a charter member of the USGA Handicap Research Team in 1971, after he discovered that its statistically flawed system favored low-handicap golfers.
Scheid was born in Plymouth, Mass. After earning a BS in mathematics education and an MA in mathematics at Boston University, he served in the Navy during World War II. He received a doctorate in mathematics from MIT in 1948.
Scheid taught at Boston University from 1951 to 1985. He was chair of the mathematics department for 12 years.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, he prepared more than 100 television programs at WGBH-TV for the Harvard Commission on Extension Courses, which were used to teach Navy personnel. He consulted at MIT’s Draper Lab, and his two trips to McMurdo Station in Antarctica earned him membership in the Society of the South Pole.
Scheid discovered his love of golf during a year as a Fulbright professor in Rangoon, Burma, in 1961. His passion for golf and math led him to study golf statistics, according to the family obituary. His article published in Golf Digest magazine “You’re Not Getting Enough Strokes!” led to the creation of the USGA handicapping system, according to the obituary. He presented his research on golf statistics at St. Andrews Scientific Congresses of Golf in the 1990s and in 2002.
He earned the USGA’s Ike Granger Award for 25 years of volunteer service. In 2008, the Myrtle Beach Golf Conference initiated the Dr. Francis Scheid Award for Achievement. In the past 15 years, Scheid wrote books, under the pen name Professor Golf, on topics such as the topology of golf courses, golf handicapping, and the physics of a ball in flight. ~SD