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CFA Senior Thesis and Undergraduate Exhibitions 2004, through May 16, various locations on campus

Week of 13 May 2004 · Vol. VII, No. 30

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Chobanian entertains, enlightens at Senior Brunch

By Tim Stoddard

President ad interim Aram Chobanian gives the class of 2004 a singing send-off at Senior Brunch. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky


President ad interim Aram Chobanian gives the class of 2004 a singing send-off at Senior Brunch. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

As a medical doctor, President ad interim Aram Chobanian might not endorse laughter as the best medicine. But his remarks at the annual Senior Brunch in Metcalf Hall on April 30 showed that a healthy dose of humor can go a long way — even soothing nerves jangled by BU’s presidential search last fall. “As you know,” he said, “unlike you, I’m a freshman on this campus. How I got here is not clear to me even now. The process through which I was admitted wasn’t through Enrollment Services.”

As the laughter subsided, Chobanian offered a fresh look at his sudden appointment with a song he wrote entitled “Not Golden nor Silver.” As the house lights dimmed, he sidled up to a piano on stage — played by accompanist and arranger Matthew van Brink (CFA’02) — and crooned a ballad about last fall’s events. Several lines in the Sinatra-style number prompted spontaneous bursts of clapping, but nothing generated more sustained applause than the final refrain paying tribute to the class of 2004.

Senior Brunch is an occasion for the graduating class to celebrate accomplishments and be entertained as they enter their final two weeks, culminating in Commencement. While humor has become a dominant ingredient at the event, there were also more serious moments in Chobanian’s speech. “Over the past four years, you each have undergone maturation of your mind and your character,” he said. “Your University education has revealed new horizons of thought, whether it be in literature, art, music, science, or many other areas. And these have moved you to new appreciation of the depths and complexities of your lives. You’ve had four years to reflect on the struggles and triumphs of the human experience.”

Chobanian then announced that this year’s Commencement speech will be delivered by J. Craig Venter, the scientist who led the effort at Celera Genomics to map the human genome, racing against a rival consortium of scientists at the National Institutes of Health to be the first to decipher the three billion chemical letters encoded in our genes. The Baccalaureate address will be given by His Beatitude Anastasios, archbishop of Albania. Venter and Anastasios will receive honorary degrees, along with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winning author Saul Bellow, a UNI professor emeritus, entrepreneur and philanthropist Irwin Chafetz (CAS’58), Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Edward Markey, and actress Alfre Woodard (CFA’74).

Returning to the piano, Chobanian gave the class of 2004 a rousing send-off with his “Poppity-Poppity-Pop,” an upbeat celebration of the seniors’ hard work and high achievements.

Several senior awards, including the Boston University Alumni Student Leader Awards, were also announced at the brunch. Kenneth Elmore, dean of students, presented the University Community Service Award to Nicole Rimar (CAS’04). “Nicole has been instrumental in the growth of many community service programs at the University,” he said, “and has volunteered more than 1,500 hours throughout her four years.” Rimar, a psychology major graduating summa cum laude, has been involved in the First Year Student Outreach Program, the Alternative Spring Break program, and the Student Food Rescue Program. “She’s left her impression here at the University and certainly within the Boston community,” Elmore said, “and I’m confident that she’s going to achieve great success in the future and represent the University well.”


13 May 2004
Boston University
Office of University Relations