January 6th, 2014

A global effort, and a global vision

The campaign wins worldwide support

Most fundraising drives mounted by U.S.-based universities are fortunate to earn even 2 percent of their support from overseas. One of the most striking aspects of The Campaign for Boston University is the broad base of support that it has received from individual alumni and groups around the world.

As of the end of October, the “Choose to be Great” campaign had received more than $89 million from international alumni and other overseas friends of BU, which represents 15.4 percent of all funds pledged to date.

Much of that surprising success has been driven by committed individuals, including trustee Rajen Kilachand (GSM’74), who has not only made the largest gifts to the campaign but also helped organize and support the Dubai campaign kickoff this past March. In the wake of the Dubai celebration, alumni groups across the Middle East have been either organized or re-energized.

Another key contributor is the International Advisory Board (IAB), a group of committed alumni, parents, and friends who meet several times a year to give counsel to President Brown and other University leaders on issues related to BU’s global impact and footprint. Collectively, the members of the IAB have contributed more than $96 million to the campaign.

There are so many moving pieces coming together, most of them inspired and organized by our Asian alumni.” —SMG Dean Kenneth Freeman

Yet another important global asset for the campaign is the highly active network into which BU’s 20,000-plus international alumni have organized themselves. This is perhaps most true in Asia, where alumni have been running active groups organized both by country and by region. Korea—where BU alumni meet weekly, and have organized two orchestras—is only one example of this tradition of high engagement. Alumni leaders in Taiwan report similar weekly meetings.

Looking forward, BU will work with these groups to spotlight the University’s presence and impact around the world, and at the same time, lend new momentum to the campaign. Two alternating semi-annual Asian alumni events—the Asian Alumni Festival and the Asian Business Forum—are being substantially upgraded this coming March. The three-day effort—led by the BU Asian Alumni Committee, based in Beijing—will include both a cultural festival and a business forum, a campaign event, a celebration of the School of Management’s 100th anniversary, and a meeting of the International Advisory Board.

“There are so many moving pieces coming together, most of them inspired and organized by our Asian alumni,” comments SMG Dean Kenneth Freeman. “It promises to be a unique gathering of the global BU family.”

The Beijing event is scheduled for March 27–30, 2014. Most of the events scheduled for that weekend will be open to all BU alumni. For further information, visit the BU Momentum website.

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