BU Enters New Era with a Bang
Unprecedented event to launch transformative University campaign| By Kelly Marksbury
The Celebration of BU (September 22, Agganis Arena) will showcase celebrity appearances, music, illusions, extreme ice sculpting, and student performances to launch a historic fundraising initiative.
Over the decades, Boston University’s Charles River Campus has hosted gut-twisting arena games, epic concerts, and street fairs bursting at the seams with students. But it’s never offered an event quite like the Celebration of BU.
Picture it: inside a transformed Agganis Arena, world-champion ice sculptors wielding chainsaws and tending cauldrons of fire. Otherworldly 3-D light projections unfurling a vision of BU’s growth—both geographically and intellectually—across the ice. Campus favorites swelling from the instruments of the world-renowned Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. Alumni stars, student performers, and local heroes firing up an audience of thousands.
The Celebration of BU, however, will be more than a dazzling display. It will be a community gathering to mark the formal announcement of the Campaign for Boston University—BU’s first major comprehensive fundraising effort. With an ambitious goal of raising as much as $1 billion for financial aid, faculty support, research, and facility improvements, the campaign will place the University on a list of just 53 universities that have attempted 10-figure fundraising initiatives. More important, it will help elevate the University’s academic standing, extend its global impact, and make the BU experience more accessible for students across the broadest possible socioeconomic spectrum.
Campaign kickoff cochairs and BU trustees SungEun Han-Andersen (CFA’85) and Richard C. Shipley (SMG’68, GSM’72) hope the Celebration will show alumni and students what their University is really capable of—and what it takes to get there. “We want people to feel comfortable that we are on a successful launch pad,” says Han-Andersen. “BU has really done a tremendous job of managing itself. Because the endowment is relatively small, we’ve run an incredibly lean operation. But that goes only as far as the resources that support the institution. At this event, we want alumni to be inspired by the generosity of the donors who have already committed.”
“In a lot of ways, BU is like the buildings we renovate on This Old House,” says Kevin O’Connor (GSM’99), star of the long-running PBS show, and one of the Celebration hosts. “It has strong bones and a rich history, and it’s one-of-a-kind. And even with lots of work and continuous improvements, the University always stays true to its character. This event is going to be a great celebration of that process.”
O’Connor will share the stage with Bravo TV executive and host of Watch What Happens Live Andy Cohen (COM’90), hockey legend Mike Eruzione (SED’77), BU Dean of Students Kenn Elmore (SED’87), broadcast journalist Erica Hill (COM’98), and surprise guests.
For Eruzione, the celebration will be a proud homecoming.
“When we took the Olympic gold in 1980, I looked across the ice at [fellow Olympians Jim Craig (SED’79), Dave Silk (CAS’80, GSM’93), and Jack O’Callahan (CAS’79)], and I realized we were representing BU hockey, as well as our country, to the world,” he says. “More than 30 years later, I’ll get to play a part in representing BU once again, this time to a group of people who mean a great deal to me personally—BU’s alumni, students, parents, faculty, and staff.”
For alumni returning to campus, the Celebration will be the centerpiece of this year’s Alumni Weekend, which will offer class, school, and college reunions; thought-provoking lectures and panels; can’t-miss parties; special events for School of Nursing alumni and Golden Terriers (Class of 1962 and earlier); and much more.
“We’re rising to a new level of excellence, excitement, and potential,” says Elmore. “This is a big moment for the University. Let's come together and celebrate!”
The Celebration of BU will take place Saturday, September 22, 2012, 8–10 p.m. Reserve your tickets at bu.edu/alumniweekend, 617-353-GOBU, or the Agganis Arena ticket office at 925 Commonwealth Avenue. (For more information about the Campaign for Boston University, read the campaign news feed’s lead story.)