Since he became president of BU in 1971, Chancellor John Silber has been pinned with medals, presented with awards, and selected for honors in recognition of his contributions to education. He became eligible for his most recent accolade, though, not as a scholar or administrator, but as a teenager in Texas. On October 21, the Boy Scouts of America conferred on Silber the rank of Distinguished Eagle Scout -- 53 years after he became an Eagle Scout.
The honor and rank of Distinguished Eagle Scout is one of the rarest awards given by the Boy Scouts. A small number of scouts become Eagle Scouts, and only a few of them are later honored for their service to their community and the nation. Former Governor William Weld and University of Massachusetts President William Bulger presented the award to Silber at a ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel on behalf of the Minuteman Council, Inc., of the Boy Scouts.
Silber said that scouting en-larged his horizons and extended his experiences as no other institution could. "It provided an extraordinary program for developing the intellect, sociability, and moral judgment of young boys."
In preparing for his lifesaving badge he learned at least one technique he has never put to use: "If a struggling drowning victim starts pulling you under, they taught us that you can quiet him by breaking a finger. Mild shock will sedate him so you can pull him to safety.
"Scouts learn tough love early."