Category: Campaign Newsletter, Issue 5
Plans for a home on campus for BU alums
The continuing success of the Campaign—fueled largely by the generous support of BU alumni—has once again highlighted a critical missing resource on the Charles River campus: an alumni center.
Today, BU has some 300,000 alumni, and every year, more of those alumni are involved in the life of the University—including ever-larger numbers who attend events in Boston. And yet, with the modest exception of a lounge and conference room in the School of Management building at 595 Commonwealth Avenue, there is no university-wide facility devoted exclusively to alumni affairs.
This may soon change.
We are very, very excited about the prospect of creating a first-ever, top-flight facility to serve our alumni and other friends.” —Vice President for Alumni Relations Steve Hall
If $5 million in philanthropic support for the project can be secured, the University will transform the “Castle”—the fanciful Tudor Revival mansion on the corner of Bay State Road and Granby Street, at the heart of the Charles River Campus—into a stunning new BU Alumni Center. And because the Castle adjoins the newly completed admissions center on Bay State Road, the combined site has the potential to be one of the most active and important locations on campus.
Current plans call for a complete rehabilitation of the building—a former private residence completed in 1915 and used for decades as the home of BU presidents—and the creation of new facilities, including:
- a dedicated alumni reception area
- space for large events and conferences
- meeting rooms
- a commercial-grade kitchen
- an expanded wheelchair-accessible pub, with indoor/outdoor conservatory space
- offices for staff members who provide services to alumni
“We are very, very excited about the prospect of creating a first-ever, top-flight facility to serve our alumni and other friends,” said Vice President for Alumni Relations Steve Hall. “We will work hard to find the resources to do it, and do it right.”
Anyone interested in supporting the proposed Alumni Center should email Steve Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A conversation with Andy Lack (CFA’68)
Andy Lack—CEO of the Bloomberg Media Group, a BU trustee, chair of the College of Communication’s campaign, and donor of a COM professorship—recently sat down for a conversation with the Campaign Newsletter.
Q: You are a CFA grad with a strong interest in acting. How did you come to work closely with COM and Dean Tom Fiedler?
AL: Well, when did Tom start? 2008, I think, about when I joined the Board of Trustees. There had been a search going on for a new dean in the journalism school, and Tom got the nod. I thought, Terrific! A Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist coming to Boston University, and bringing those skills to the classroom and to a leadership position!
I had spent a good part of my professional life in journalism, and I figured that if I was going to do something more significant as a trustee, it probably made sense to hang around COM and see what Tom was up to. That’s how we got to know each other.
Q: Why did you decide to establish a professorship in journalism and the business of media?
AL: I wanted the individual who occupied that chair to be a journalist first—not an academic, but someone who practiced journalism. And then, secondarily, I wanted someone who understood both the business side of media and the so-called creative side. I thought journalists needed to be understood better by the business people, and vice versa. So I wanted this chair to look at that.
On the digital side—and I’m increasingly a digital-first guy—the walls between editorial and business are crumbling. Some of that’s good, some of that’s complicated, and some of that’s confusing. At BU, we need to get into that intersection, where things need to be sorted out. So I’m excited about the chair occupying that territory.
Q: So does New York Times media columnist David Carr, who was named the first incumbent of the Lack Chair in January, embody those different attributes?
AL: I don’t think there’s anybody who could do it better. David’s column is a must-read every Monday. He knows the field intimately. He’s a great writer. He’s a great thinker.
Q: You trained as an actor at CFA. Do you keep up with the craft of acting, in the sense that you watch established actors evolve and new actors emerge?
AL: I do. Once it’s in your blood it’s difficult to get out. I’ve gone back and forth. I’ve made some films. I’ve been involved with the music business and worked with artists—all of which has often made me suspect amongst my closest journalist friends and news colleagues. But it started when I was a college student, and it stayed with me all my life.
The people were there to be called upon, and they have responded.” —Andy Lack
Q: Observations about the progress of the BU campaign?
AL: Just how successful it’s been, so far. And that’s a tribute to the development people, to the board, and especially to President Brown.
Q: How would you characterize the board’s role in the campaign?
AL: Very active. I think all of us feel a serious and personal responsibility to do our part. Not just opening our own checkbooks, but also talking about BU with everyone we can reach, and touch directly, because we know this school well. We sit together as a group and talk about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us. So at the end of the day, who better to proselytize for BU and what Boston University is going to be in the 21st century?
Q: Were you surprised to find out that there are a lot of alumni out there who are really happy with their BU experience and willing to support the university?
AL: Well, of course, it’s heartening! But I wouldn’t say it was a surprise. The people were there to be called upon, and they have responded. Again, I’d point to leadership. It’s about leadership at every level—the individual colleges, the faculties, and the board, and most particularly, Bob Brown. It’s about pulling people together, telling the BU story. That’s what is most heartening to me, when I see where we’re at in the campaign. It’s pretty damn great.
Q: Last question: Why should people support Boston University?
AL: I’ll use the same word—leadership—in a different way. BU is a leader. If you look around the place, college by college, you see that. You see quality. People should support quality—and as it turns out, they do.
Anonymous gift for tech tools for aphasia patients
For those living with aphasia—the loss of language or communication skills usually caused by a head injury or stroke—practice is key to improvement. And the right kind of practice, on the right tool, can make all the difference.
Boston University College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College Professor Swathi Kiran’s research proves this: Thanks to grant funding, her lab developed the iPad platform Constant Therapy, to help individuals engaged in brain rehabilitation. BU Aphasia Resource Center participants use the platform in weekly classes, and those who own iPads can use it at home as well.
Kiran and her students remotely monitor usage of the software and interview participants on their progress. During the pilot program, they noticed a pattern: “Although all patients who used the platform improved, the amount of improvement we saw in overall language and cognitive scores was higher for those who had the additional benefit of working with the platform at home,” explained Kiran.
After seeing the impact of the take-home iPads firsthand, an anonymous donor associated with the center stepped forward with a $5,000 gift to provide more iPads to members of the Aphasia Resource Center community who could not afford to buy their own.
“The donor called and said, ‘These iPads seem to be really helping people—what can I do to help?’” remembered Elizabeth Hoover, clinical director of the aphasia center. “At the center, we don’t turn away anyone who can benefit, regardless of their ability to pay. So this gift is really helping participants who would not otherwise be able to purchase an iPad and use it to improve their language skills.”
Among the bigger benefits of the iPads is that they can replace the clunky, stigmatized voice boxes some people with aphasia have been using in order to communicate. And, say the researchers, unlike those clunky boxes, the iPads are “just plain cool.”
Kellogg grant supports improved family planning
Thanks to a team headed by Dr. Brian Jack, professor and chair of family medicine at the BU School of Medicine, there is now a simple, effective tool to help women make better and more personalized decisions about family planning and reproductive health. With support from a $360,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, he has developed a web application called the Gabby Preconception Care System, or “Gabby” for short.
Gabby’s interactive design is tailored so young women, especially young minority women of modest health literacy, can use it easily in a nonintimidating web environment to share and receive personalized information aimed at improving their reproductive health decisions. Dr. Jack’s goal is to propel this important work to improve the quality of information delivered to women facing such decisions.
While the Centers for Disease Control has endorsed Preconception Counseling and Care (PCC)—which often includes a general health assessment and identification of any risk factors—as an effective way to reduce racial disparities in maternal and child health, the majority of young women simply aren’t familiar with PCC and don’t ask for it. Also, many physicians don’t have time in their schedules to consistently provide personalized counseling. Gabby is designed to overcome these barriers by making preconception counseling more personalized and private, and more accessible than ever before.
Gabby is designed to make preconception counseling more personalized and private, and more accessible than ever before.”
Current web-based counseling platforms provide only basic information. Gabby revolutionizes the approach by creating an interactive and relatable environment. Not only can users of the interface choose to have the information they receive repeated as many times as they need, but Gabby (in the form of an animated character) has also been created to have an empathic and nonjudgmental personality, with responses that are consistent and free of bias. Gabby’s developers say these attributes are nearly impossible to control and reproduce in traditional counseling models.
The application is being built in line with best practices in clinician-patient interaction and can be used independently or as part of a coordinated, community-based healthcare program. Early trials suggest that Gabby—which will be available to users without charge—has the potential to decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies and low-birth-weight babies. Dr. Jack and his colleagues are now conducting tests in large randomized clinical trials and building out the final, consumer-ready version of Gabby that will be released to the public.
Thanks to businessman Harry Susilo
The Harry Susilo Institute for Ethics in a Global Economy (IEGE) has been established at the BU School of Management, thanks to a generous gift from Indonesian businessman Harry Susilo.
The IEGE will promote dialogue and debate through scholarly work in global ethics and by teaching cross-cultural business practices that focus on ethics in both Western and Eastern cultures. It is SMG’s first permanently endowed institute.
The gift was announced by BU President Robert A. Brown at the campaign dinner gathering in Beijing.
Harry Susilo was born in Jakarta, the son of Chinese parents. He is the founder and chairman of the Sekar Group, established in 1966 and based in Surabaya, Indonesia. Sekar is comprised of companies involved with manufacturing in the fisheries and food sectors, and with agriculture, food distribution, trading, finance, and tourism. Susilo is also chairman of All Bluesky Enterprise Pte Limited, a trading company based in Singapore. He is a member of the SMG Dean’s Asia Advisory Board and the President’s International Advisory Board. Susilo is the father of BU graduates Finna Susilo (GSM’98) and Fanni Susilo (CAS’00).
If we want a sustainable business environment, then we must establish a virtuous cycle in business ethics.” —Harry Susilo
The institute is meant to have a positive influence on the global economy, Susilo said, noting, “If we want a sustainable business environment, then we must establish a virtuous cycle in business ethics.”
“Harry is deeply interested in the cultural roots of ethical behavior, and how those roots influence business in the East and the West,” said Kenneth Freeman, Allen Questrom Professor and Dean of SMG. “He is also a generous person who is eager to support worthy causes in Indonesia, China, and now in the United States.”
The institute will develop teaching cases conveying lessons from both Western and Eastern ethical frameworks, according to SMG. Carrying out this mission calls for collaboration between SMG faculty and faculty from research centers at universities across Asia, which Susilo and his advisors will help facilitate.
In addition to providing research funding, the Susilo endowment will support the IEGE director—a world-class scholar to be named later—and an annual Harry Susilo Institute Symposium for the Study of Ethics, to be held in Boston and Asia in alternating years.
“My earnest hope is that the University can promote the study of business everyone with a dream to be able to realize that dream and achieve lifelong goals,” Susilo said.
Campaign celebrations in Asia
On March 28–30, Beijing, China, became the site of the largest gathering of alumni outside of the U.S. in BU’s history. More than 300 BU alumni, parents, and friends attended, traveling from 12 countries. The event was appropriately titled BU Momentum—signifying Asia’s increasing presence at BU, and the growing impact of Asian alumni on the University.
The three-day event combined BU’s fifth Asian Alumni Festival and its fifth Asian Business Forum—plus a celebration of the BU School of Management’s centennial and the first Campaign for Boston University event in East Asia—into a single opportunity to celebrate the energy, growth, and future of Boston University.
New gift funds a professorship at COM
Viacom and CBS chair Sumner M. Redstone (Hon.’94) has given a shot in the arm to journalism at the College of Communication, with a gift of $2.5 million to name a new professorship. Meant to encourage the production and appreciation of narrative storytelling, the gift becomes the second major contribution to BU that Redstone has made in two years.
The gift will support the Sumner M. Redstone Professorship in Narrative Studies, endowed through a gift from the Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation. The chair will be held by a senior COM faculty member (not yet named) with scholarly and teaching expertise in the field of narrative studies.
“Storytelling in both entertainment and journalism has always been an integral focus of my business life through Viacom and CBS,” Redstone said recently in BU Today. “I am proud to help inspire others to the field by furthering the conversation and study of narrative storytelling at one of the country’s leading institutions.”
I am proud to help inspire others to the field by furthering the conversation and study of narrative storytelling at one of the country’s leading institutions.” —Sumner M. Redstone (Hon.’94)
Thomas Fiedler, dean of COM, said the function of the new professorship aligns with the vision that has powered Redstone’s remarkable career.
“Sumner Redstone famously said, ‘Content is king,’” Fiedler (COM’71) noted. “We define narrative as storytelling with a purpose, and see it as one of the fundamental skills that underpin every discipline we teach.”
Following his work as a law secretary to the U.S. Court of Appeals and as special assistant to the U.S. Attorney General, Redstone joined National Amusements Inc., in 1954; the company has grown into a sprawling collection of 950 movie screens here and abroad. In 1982, Redstone joined the faculty of the BU School of Law, where he created one of the nation’s first courses in entertainment law and pioneered the school’s curriculum for protecting intellectual property in the entertainment industry. In 1994, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws from BU.
In September 2012, Redstone gave $18 million to help expand and improve the facilities at BU Law, including the construction of the new Sumner M. Redstone Building adjacent to the school’s core facility. For 34 years, he has also sponsored BU’s Redstone Film Festival, a competition showcasing the most promising work by students and recent grads of COM’s filmmaking and screenwriting programs.
Anonymous gift for social work and health care
An anonymous $12.5 million gift will create a new BU center devoted to melding social work and public health science to improve health care around the globe.
The Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health will be part of the School of Social Work, but will be located on BU’s Medical Campus and will partner with BU’s Center for Global Health & Development. The center will “engage a wide group of scholars across the health professions around workable and cost-effective models that serve the broad health needs of people in the United States and abroad,” said Gail Steketee, dean of SSW.
We must think differently about health care and about the equity of that care.” —SSW Dean Gail Steketee
“We know from the research data that a focus on medical care alone, no matter how cost-conscious, does not lead to healthier or happier lives for people as a whole,” she said, citing lags in American longevity and in chronic disease prevention compared to other developed nations. “We must think differently about health care and about the equity of that care.”
Preventive medicine requires attention to influences on health, like families and neighborhood circumstances, said Steketee, and “social workers understand the larger picture of people’s lives—what drags down people’s health and what improves it.”
The center is built on the premise that solving today’s global health challenges requires new systems of delivery that use integrated teams of professionals from a wide range of disciplines—social work, public health, nursing, dentistry, occupational health, physical therapy, and medicine—working collaboratively with professionals in economics, engineering, and communications. Two areas for early focus for the center may include community management of the health of children born with HIV/AIDS, and the development of systems for managing physical and emotional disabilities in the U.S. and abroad.
The center’s efforts, said Jean Morrison, University provost, have “the capacity to reframe the importance of the discipline of social work and social workers in the health care delivery system.” The center is expected to be operational this summer.
Gifts of all sizes are appreciated at BU. Here we honor those who have made commitments of $100,000 or more to the campaign between December 1, 2013, and June 11, 2014.
Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
American Chemical Society
American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation
American Diabetes Foundation
Merwyn Bagan (MED’62, SPH’95) and Carol J. Bagan
Douglas S. Bean (SMG’78) and Denise Bean
BHR Pharma, LLC
Biogen Idec Foundation Inc.
The Boston Foundation
Robert T. Butler (LAW’55) and Paula S. Butler
Carl Zeiss X-Ray Microscopy Inc.
Charles R. Cantor
Cynthia D. Cohan (SAR’91) and Jay L. Cohan
Gerard H. Cohen (LAW’62) and Sherryl W. Cohen (GRS’60)
Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust
College Preparatory Mathematics
Comité Nacional de Productores de Azúcar
Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany Inc.
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
V. Eugene and Rosalie DeFreitas Charitable Foundation
DeGregorio Family Foundation
Flatley Discovery Lab LLC
Frank C. (MED’59) and Florence I. Gazzaniga Revocable Trust
Shahram S. Gholami (MED’96) and Neda Gholami
The Estate of Dean P. Guerin (SMG’49)
The Estate of Suyin Han
Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
Warren J. Hurwitz (MET’78) and Judith S. Hurwitz (CAS’73, COM’75)
International Pharmaceutical Federation
David M. Israel (GSM’84) and Julie Hillman
Steven M. Karbank (CAS’79) and Jeannette O. Karbank
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Raymond L. Killian (SED’59) and Helen C. Killian
John & James Knight Foundation
Samuel H. Kress Foundation
Stewart F. Lane & Bonnie Comley Foundation
Jude Peyton Laspa
Charles Reiner Lax (SMG’82)
Linde Family Foundation
Matthew H. Lynch (LAW’84) and Susan M. Banks (LAW’84)
Nathan B. Mandelbaum (LAW’69) and Sheree Mandelbaum (DGE’76, SAR’78)
Anthony V. Manory
Massachusetts Neuroscience Foundation
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Frank J. Miselis (MED’45) and Theodora T. Miselis
Allen J. Moore (GRS’63, STH’63) Mary E. Moore
Morgan Stanley Global Impact Funding Trust, Inc.
Kenneth P. Morrison (LAW’83) and Susan K. Morrison
Alicia C. Mullen (CAS’83) and Timothy Mullen
Muscular Dystrophy Association
Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation
Dorothy Newman (CAS’69) and Eugene J. Haley
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
Robert M. Paine (SMG’86, GSM’91)
Jane L. Pappalardo (CFA’65) and A. Neil Pappalardo
Simon C. Parisier (MED’61) and Elaine S. Parisier
Mina Paul (SPH’97) and Ajay Saini (SMG’82)
Sumner M. Redstone (Hon.’94)
Santander Bank, N.A., through its Santander Universities division
The Estate of Bernard G. Schwartz (CFA’47, GRS’58)
Analjit Singh (SMG’77, GSM’79) and Neelu A. Singh
Sports Legacy Institute
Harry Susilo and Maria V. Tjoa Susilo
Marcy Syms (COM’75)
Nina C. Tassler (CFA’79) and Gerald S. Levine (CFA’79)
John Tegan III (ENG’88)
Gary A. Villella (CGS’69, SMG’71) and Susan D. Villella
Kuei S. Wang (CAS’92)
James D. Watt (CGS’83, SMG’85) and Elizabeth Watt
Robert J. Weissman (SMG’58) and Carol G. Weissman
Wayne J. Zuckerman (CAS’79) and Deborah A. Zuckerman
Academic groundbreakers complete their studies
On May 15, 2014, the 39 members of the first graduating class of BU’s Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College gathered in the ballroom of Boston’s Four Seasons Hotel with their families and the College’s faculty to celebrate the class’ approaching commencement.
The seniors were hosted by Rajen Kilachand (GSM’74), whose gifts, totalling $35 million, helped create the new college and its home, Kilachand Hall.
“It’s a fantastic day,” Kilachand said at the event, “not only in your lives, but also in my family’s.” More than 30 of his family and friends attended the celebration.
It’s a fantastic day, not only in your lives, but also in my family’s.” —Rajan Kilachand
In his speech, Kilachand sought to clarify “why a guy like me, coming from Bombay, India, living in Dubai,” decided to invest in an honors program at BU. “My dream is very simple,” he explained. The idea was to create a small institution that would provide an interdisciplinary education to the kinds of students who will one day lead our global society. Today, “I’m in the midst of future prime ministers and presidents who will have come out of Kilachand Honors College,” said Kilachand, addressing the new graduates.
Since fall 2010, the University has offered seats in the honors college to its most highly qualified incoming freshmen. As entering freshmen, the Kilachand College Class of 2014 were in the top three percent of their high school classes, had an A average, and had an average SAT score of 2171.
Four years later, they graduate BU with an average GPA of 3.71, and 95 percent have earned Latin honors. Most will go on to pursue graduate work, including at Harvard Business School and Yale Medical School.
“It could not have been better,” Kilachand said of the feedback he received from the graduating seniors. “Almost everybody agrees that they had a great experience, and that is the most important thing in life.”