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Bostonia: The Alumni Magazine of Boston University

Winter-Spring 2010 Table of Contents


Boston University faculty members remembered

Arland F. Christ-Janer
Former president, on November 8, 2009, at age 91.

Christ-Janer, the sixth president of Boston University and the first who was not an ordained Methodist minister, served in a time of social turbulence. 

His three-year term, which started in 1967, was plagued by widespread student unrest.

He faced trouble from the start, according to a 1966 article in Time. Immediately following his inauguration, the Students for a Democratic Society declared a “Stop the Draft Week,” and an African-American student organization staged a nonviolent sit-in in the president’s office. During his term, Christ-Janer attempted to meet student demands but ultimately could not quell the demonstrations. In May of 1970, the University canceled Commencement to avoid potentially violent protests; Christ-Janer resigned in July.


Christ-Janer’s years at BU were perhaps the low point of an otherwise long and successful career as a college administrator. He entered academia as an administrator at Lake Erie College in Ohio and then at St. John’s College in Maryland. From 1961 to 1967, he was president of Cornell College in Iowa, where he was praised for ushering in major campus renovations and completely restructuring the school’s curriculum.

In 1970, Christ-Janer became president of the College Entrance Examination Board. He left the board in 1973 to become president of the New College in Sarasota, Florida, where he helped the struggling private college transition into the public university system. He left in 1975 to serve as president for eight years at Stephens College in Missouri.

Christ-Janer defined his legacy as president of the Ringling College of Art and Design, known as the Ringling School of Design when he joined in 1984. He is credited with revitalizing the Ringling School’s physical campus, raising a record endowment, and transforming the college’s two-year curriculum into a four-year, accredited degree program. When he left Ringling in 1996, U.S. News & World Report ranked the school as the “Number One Up-and-Coming College in America.”

A native of Nebraska, Christ-Janer grew up in a family of academics. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton College in Minnesota and advanced degrees from Yale Divinity School and University of Chicago Law School. He was a first lieutenant in World War II, serving as a bombardier.

In 1999, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Cornell College. ~Samantha DuBois (COM'12)

Earle C. Cooley (LAW’57)
Chair emeritus of the Board of Trustees, on October 16, 2009, at age 77.

Cooley, a well-known Boston lawyer, served on the board from 1971 until 2004. He cofounded the Boston law firm Cooley Manion Jones, where his clients included BU, the Boston Celtics, and the Church of Scientology. He was celebrated for his adroitness in the courtroom.

His longtime friend John Silber (Hon.’95), BU president emeritus, told the Boston Globe that there was no case Cooley couldn’t win. “Earle was formidable,” Silber said. “If you had him in your corner, you were well represented. He was a very great lawyer.”

Cooley was born in Hartford, Connecticut. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut, he attended BU’s School of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the Boston University Law Review and was chosen by the faculty as the outstanding member of his class.

He remained connected to BU, teaching a course in trial and appellate procedure at LAW, serving as the president of the LAW Alumni Association, and becoming a member of the BU Board of Trustees in 1971. He chaired the board from 1994 to 2001, and remained as chair emeritus until 2004, when new term-limit rules mandated his retirement.

He received a Boston University Distinguished Alumni Award and a Silver Shingle Alumni Award from the School of Law. ~Brendan Gauthier (COM'11)

George Bluestone
College of Communication professor emeritus of film, on August 3, 2009, at age 80.

Teacher, producer, and author of the groundbreaking 1957 book Novels into Film, Bluestone taught at BU for twenty-four years. A lifelong film buff, Bluestone’s hobby and job were one.

“He loved what he did, and didn’t need or want anything to distract him from it,” says Sam Kauffmann (COM’77), a COM professor of film and Bluestone’s former student.

Growing up in Manhattan’s Lower East Side in settlement houses for the poor, Bluestone quickly developed a thick skin and sense of determination that carried him all the way to Harvard University. He graduated from Harvard in 1949 and earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop in 1952. Shortly thereafter, he sold his first short story, “A Needle and a Thimble,” to the Atlantic Monthly, according to the Boston Globe.

He then enrolled in a doctoral program at Johns Hopkins University, where he met his wife, Natalie Harris, a fellow graduate student. The couple lived for several years in London, where Bluestone produced films. He taught briefly at the University of Washington. They eventually settled in Brookline, Massachusetts, and Bluestone joined the film and television department at COM.

At that point, he had already gained notoriety from Novels into Film, an analysis of book-to-screen adaptations that was based on his doctoral dissertation and is still in print.

“When he came to BU, it put the film program — especially feature filmmaking — on the map,” Kauffmann says. “Novels into Film was such a seminal work in the field. People respected him.”

Bluestone may have known a lot about the industry and many people in it, but he never let that go to his head, Kauffmann says.

“It wasn’t about the money, fame, or glory; it was about the love of doing the work,” Kaufmann says. “He measured success not by how many movies you made or attention you garnered, but by how much fun you were having.”

Even when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of fifty-four, Bluestone refused to slow down. He continued teaching for eleven more years, retiring in 1994.

Afterwards, Bluestone remained a “really happy person,” Kauffmann says. “He could make lemonade no matter how sour the lemons were.” ~Brittany Rehmer (COM’11)

Barbara Elaine Maze
Former College of Fine Arts assistant dean of student affairs, on November 15, 2009, at age 88.

In her role as assistant dean, Maze inspired students pursuing professional music careers.

“She was an advocate and problem-solver for the students — that’s what she was best known for,” says Walt Meissner, dean ad interim of the College of Fine Arts, who knew Maze. “She helped people with problems big and small, and you always wanted to be in the room with her.”

In nearly forty years at BU, Maze was involved in many aspects of University life. She served as secretary for the Society of Retired Faculty and Staff and won the Perkins Distinguished Service Award, given annually to three members of the BU community for their service and dedication. She retired from the University in 1992.

Maze began her career in retail and became the first African-American woman to be promoted to buyer at Filene’s, in the flagship Boston store, according to her family. She lived in Dorchester, Massachusetts, for most of her life.

She served on the boards of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Handel and Haydn Society. She was past chair of the Society’s Cultural Diversity and Educational Outreach Committees. In addition, she founded the Barbara E. Maze Award for Musical Excellence at the Society. The scholarship, which is awarded annually to a high school graduate who wishes to study professional vocal instruction, has sent past recipients to the Juilliard School, the New England Conservatory, and Berklee College of Music.

Maze was also the founder and past president of the Metro Bay Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club, and founded the Club’s Leontyne Price Vocal Arts Competition. She was president of Project STEP, a group that prepares young black and Latino students for careers in professional music.

Although she spent her career behind the scenes, Maze left a strong legacy in both Boston and BU’s music communities, says William Lacey, a CFA professor emeritus of theatre.

“Barbara was, indeed, a remarkable woman — rich in empathy, strong in her convictions, ready to go the mile for students and for the arts,” Lacey says. “She was sweet, tactful, considerate, and absolutely persistent in pursuing what she knew to be right.” ~Amy Laskowski

Bernard Elevitch
College of Arts & Sciences professor emeritus of philosophy, on March 21, 2009, at age 81.

Elevitch came to BU in 1968 as an associate professor of philosophy. He was assistant dean in the College Arts & Sciences from 1975 to 1977 and was associate chairman of the philosophy department from 1990 until his retirement in 1995.

Previously, Elevitch was an assistant professor of philosophy at Fairleigh Dickinson University and at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where he also was acting chairman of the department from 1967 to 1968. Elevitch earned a bachelor’s degree in Romance languages in 1948 and a master’s in philosophy, both from the University of Minnesota. He earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University in 1961.

Donations can be sent to Professor Dahlstrom, Boston University, Philosophy Department Gift Fund, 745 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, 02215. ~BR


On 06/10/2010 at 12:23pm, Dr. Lois D. Wasserman (GRS'72) wrote:

It was a sad time for President Christ-Janier and other university presidents in the United States. This was the time of the Vietnam War and the birth of the SDS, Students for a Democratic Society. The sit-ins and the bomb scares The message these students sent was not of studying, knowing issues,but of protests, disruption. The legacy is not of social justice What happen years later is the lack of compassion for those who lived lives of compassion to others.I taught some of the SDS students who sought to destroy rather than build. I felt very sad for this President and others who suffered at this time-How can anyone carry on the running of a school,teach. I survived. Most of my students learned History and issues of such importance-help the homeless, be merciful and compassionate. How many of the class disrupters learned why they really needed to help our society?

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