Category: News stories
Says scholarship shows the good people can do
For any scholarship recipient, the aid is an honor and a financial help. Yifan Xu’s scholarship means something more to her: “the glamorous part of humanity,” an act of generosity born of tragedy.
Xu (GRS’16) came to BU this fall from China as the University’s first Lu Lingzi Scholar, a program established in memory of the BU student who died in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Xu grieved with the world over the attack that killed two others besides Lu (GRS’13) and injured and maimed hundreds. Then, researching graduate programs and coming across the scholarship, she found herself “really moved to see how students and teachers in Boston University memorialized Lingzi.”
“I didn’t know her or her family members,” says Xu. “But I admire her family for sharing Lingzi’s story with the world and cooperating with the school to construct the fund.”
SUCCESS DRIVES FUNDRAISING EFFORT FORWARD TO 2019
The singular success of The Campaign for Boston University, which has raised $888 million of its $1 billion goal two years before its scheduled close in 2017, has persuaded the Board of Trustees to boost the campaign’s goal to $1.5 billion and extend its run through 2019.
Scott Nichols, senior vice president for development and alumni relations, says that unlike most campaigns, which begin with a burst of activity and flatten out before picking up again at the end, the momentum of the BU campaign has increased each year, adding more to the total than the year before.
“When we saw that pattern—that the campaign was refusing to slow down—that’s when it became clear that we’ve got a major success on our hands, and what do you do with that?” Nichols says.
Aim higher, of course.
Read more on BU Today, and a hearty thanks to everyone who has donated time and money to The Campaign for Boston University!
Rachel Fearns will research treatments for RSV
Rachel Fearns, PhD, associate professor of microbiology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) is the recipient of a 2014 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award. Fearns was one of 12 researchers to receive this three-year $300,000 award for her work towards developing treatment for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection.
Each year The Hartwell Foundation invites a limited number of institutions in the U.S. to nominate faculty candidates involved in early-stage, innovative, and cutting-edge biomedical research that has not yet qualified for significant funding from outside sources. In 2014, 15 institutions participated and the Foundation selected the top researchers to receive a Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award.
“The 2014 competition was very strong,” said Fred Dombrose, president of The Hartwell Foundation. “Nominees embraced the opportunity by leveraging internal support and guidance from their participating institution, as well as the experience of previous Hartwell Investigators.” He added, “While significant early-stage funding benefits the individual researcher, participating institutions also receive recognition in the form of Hartwell Fellowships that they designate to qualified postdoctoral researchers.”
Fearns’ research focuses on transcription and genome replication of RSV—a highly prevalent virus that is the major cause of respiratory tract disease in infants and young children. Its genome structure is closely related to a number of other significant human pathogens, such as measles, mumps, and parainfluenza viruses, as well as emerging highly pathogenic viruses, such as Nipah and Ebola viruses.
Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying transcription and genome replication of RSV might help develop antiviral drugs and vaccines to treat and prevent RSV disease, and give insight into how related viruses could also be controlled. “Funding from The Hartwell Foundation will allow my group to explore at a molecular level how the RSV polymerase performs its activities and identify a possible Achilles’ Heel that could be targeted with antiviral drugs,” said Fearns. “We are grateful for their support and generosity.”
COM professor will promote storytelling
Best-selling author and journalist Mitchell Zuckoff has made a living writing page-turning books based on real-life events like harrowing plane crashes and a minute-by-minute account of the 2012 Islamic militant attack on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Critics have pointed to the former Boston Globe writer and Pulitzer Prize finalist’s work as first-rate examples of narrative nonfiction.
Zuckoff, a College of Communication professor of journalism since 2003, will now be imparting his narrative storytelling skills to future journalists as the inaugural Sumner M. Redstone Professor in Narrative Studies. The new professorship, made possible by a $2.5 million gift from Viacom and CBS chair Sumner Redstone (Hon.’94), a former School of Law faculty member and longtime BU benefactor, is endowed in perpetuity to support a senior COM faculty member with scholarly and teaching expertise in the field of narrative studies.
Read more on BU Today.
The January/February 2015 issue of Discover magazine highlights their 100 top stories of 2014. Coming in at #28—and listed on the cover as “Diabetes Breakthrough p. 38″—is the story of Ed Damiano, associate professor of biomedical engineering at BU’s College of Engineering, and his work on a bionic pancreas.
This year, Damiano plans to conduct what he calls the pivotal studies, which will test the commercial product that he plans to build over the next couple of years. That product, he says, will embed all of the functionality of the current investigational device in a single dual-chamber pump.
We’re pleased that the science community recognizes the importance and potential of innovations like the bionic pancreas, and we’re honored to count researchers like Damiano among the BU community.
Nearly 20 years after Jonathan and Pam Taub met in Elie Wiesel’s class Exile and Imagination, they remain grateful for more than the profound lessons they learned from the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Taub, at the time a Harvard Law School student doing an independent study at BU, and Pam (CAS’98, MED’03), then a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, came away with a cherished friend and mentor in Wiesel (Hon.’74), BU’s Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities.
“Once you’re a student of Elie Wiesel, you’re always a student of Elie Wiesel,” says Jonathan, who remembers the comfort his former professor offered when his mother died unexpectedly about a decade ago. “I just couldn’t pull out of grieving, even after a year,” he says. At Pam’s suggestion, he wrote a letter to Wiesel. “I said, ‘I know you’re busy. My mother passed away. I need help.’ He called—it must have been the same day he received the letter—and the things he said really brought me out of the abyss.”
“Professor Wiesel loves his students, and we love him.” —Jonathan Taub
Wiesel’s class was a dream come true for Pam, who grew up in central Florida and relied on books to experience the world. “When I was 13, I read Night and it really moved me,” she says. “Years later, when I came to BU, one of the first things I did was find the author of that book and interview for his class.”
“Professor Wiesel loves his students, and we love him,” says Jonathan. “He did not miss a single day of that class—not one. He could be overseas advising heads of state, but he would always make a point of being back in Boston with us every week.”
One of the lessons the couple learned from Wiesel, an author and a Holocaust survivor: do as much as you can, in your own meaningful way, for others. The Taubs took the message to heart. In September, they donated a bronze bust of Wiesel to BU; the sculpture has been installed in the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies.
Read more on Bostonia.
Photo by Tara Jones Photography
The new Sumner M. Redstone Building already has made a significant, tangible impact on Boston University School of Law since opening at the start of the academic year.
“It’s like an entirely different school,” says Dean O’Rourke. Students are everywhere, enjoying the many spaces for studying and socializing, which has increased their interaction with faculty, the administration, and their classmates. And the light, open design makes it easy to get from floor to floor.
“It is a real source of pride for students,” says Student Government Associate President Meghan Kelly (LAW’15). The completion of this project is evidence of what a difference the School’s donors can make—and have made—at the law school.
New Visitor Center Named
For many around campus, the names Alan and Sherry Leventhal may not ring any bells. But the Leventhal name will be one of the first that visitors to the Charles River Campus will see now that the two, among the University’s greatest friends and benefactors, were honored Tuesday with the dedication of the new Alan and Sherry Leventhal Center on Bay State Road. The renovated building adjoining the Castle, with sweeping views of the Charles, will house the University’s admissions reception and will be the gateway to the future alumni center in the adjoining Castle.
Alan Leventhal (Hon.’09) is a current trustee and a former chairman of the Board of Trustees, a prominent Boston corporate leader, a major philanthropist, and a longtime supporter of BU. Sherry Leventhal is the current chair of the School of Medicine Visiting Committee and a prominent philanthropist as well. They have a long tradition with BU—Alan’s father, Norman Leventhal (Hon.’00), mother, sister, and niece and Alan and Sherry’s daughters attended or were honored by the University.
Read more, and see a video tour of the center, on BU Today.
Agreement also fuels summer internships
Ana Aguilera spent the spring dodging landslides and screening coffee plantation workers in Peru for cervical cancer. Peter Hynes worked all summer traveling dusty roads in Tanzania to improve water resources for rural villagers. Erika Crable returned just weeks ago from studying the impact of the dual health scourge of obesity and type 2 diabetes on the Mexican economy.
Although these School of Public Health students were in different countries studying different aspects of public health, all had in common a fellowship program that has helped them and more than 150 of their peers study abroad and gain essential career experience they describe as inspiring and transformative.
Over the past four years, a collaboration between Boston University and Santander Universities has nurtured public health study in 29 countries.
Last Thursday, representatives from Santander Bank N.A. and BU signed a three-year, extension and expansion of a 2010 agreement to provide support for student fellowships and research projects.
Read more on BU Today.
Lane, Comley invest in CFA
For nearly a quarter of a century, producers Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley have been the toast of Broadway, winning nine Tony Awards between them, including this year’s Tony for Best Musical for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder. They’ve also been generous supporters of BU’s College of Fine Arts.
Lane (CFA’73) cochairs the CFA Campaign and the Dean’s Advisory Board. The couple recently joined the ranks of $1 million–plus lifetime donors with the endowment of the Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Musical Theatre Fund to launch a new musical theatre concentration within the School of Theatre.
“We are so proud of Stewart and Bonnie’s many accomplishments in the Broadway arena,” says Jim Petosa, director of the CFA School of Theatre and artistic director of the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown. “Their lifelong commitment to the musical theatre form is now extended to the training of future generations of theatre artists through their legacy gift to the Boston University School of Theatre.”
Read more on BU Today.