Category: News stories
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.
$2.5M Gift will explore power of storytelling
Ever since the internet began to lure readers away from print, pundits have been predicting the end of long-form journalism. But the end, it turns out, is not in sight. In fact, if the popularity of websites like Longform.com and Instapaper.com is any indication, long-form is enjoying a new beginning.
At the College of Communication, a new professorship made possible by a $2.5 million gift from Viacom and CBS chair Sumner Redstone (Hon.’94) should help, by encouraging the production and appreciation of narrative storytelling. The new Sumner M. Redstone Professorship in Narrative Studies, endowed in perpetuity through a gift from the Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation, will support a senior COM faculty member with scholarly and teaching expertise in the field of narrative studies.
Read more on BU Today.
Adil Najam Named Inaugural Dean
Global policy expert will develop new school’s vision and strategies
The new Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies took a major step forward last week with the appointment of Adil Najam as inaugural dean. The school, whose core mission is the improvement of the human condition around the globe, will open in the fall. Najam, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of international relations and of earth and environment, is a well-known expert in international diplomacy and development. He was director of BU’s Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future from 2007 through 2011.
“Adil is a wonderful choice for the dean of the Pardee School,” says President Robert A. Brown. “He has the leadership experience and the academic breadth and depth needed to lead the creation of new approaches to interdisciplinary global studies. I look forward to working with him in his new role.”
Read more on Bostonia.
For innovative, hi-tech teaching
Andrew Duffy has been known to stand astride spinning tables, fire lasers, and crash model cars in class, all to engage his students with more interactive instruction than the traditional lecture.
Now he and fellow College of Arts & Sciences physics faculty—Bennett Goldberg, a physics professor and a College of Engineering biomedical engineering professor, Pankaj Mehta, a physics assistant professor, and Manher Jariwala, a physics lecturer—have earned a newly created prize recognizing innovative, tech-based instruction.
The Gerald and Deanne Gitner Family Innovation in Teaching with Technology Award will be given annually to a faculty member or team that best demonstrates “use, development, or adaptation of technology,” according to the announcement of the first winners by Provost Jean Morrison and Janelle Heineke (GSM’92), director of the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching and a School of Management professor and chair of operations and technology management. The technology use must be shown to improve undergraduate learning and be recognized or adopted by BU or other faculties.
Endowed award drives ingenuity
Duffy, a master lecturer and a winner of the University’s highest teaching prize, the Metcalf Cup and Prize, credits his team’s selection for the $10,000 Gitner prize to the physics department’s support staff, University administration, and in particular, the Gitner family, who have endowed the award. Gerald Gitner (CAS’66) is a former executive with Transworld Airlines, now part of American Airlines. “There are a lot of people across the University who are working hard on pedagogical innovations, and it’s terrific to have an award to recognize these efforts,” says Duffy. “The award should also help drive new innovations in teaching.”
“So much of what the Gitner Award celebrates is the ability to engage students and to spark discovery in entirely new ways,” Morrison says. “This year’s inaugural nominees, while distinctive in the subject matter and methodologies they bring to their teaching, were bonded by a shared energy and passion for exploring new frontiers in the creation and transmission of knowledge.”
Clickers in the classroom
The winners’ project, Transforming Physics Teaching and Learning Through Technology, has roots going back to the Clinton era, says Duffy. “We were among the first at BU to try clickers in the classroom to respond to questions and to make use of online homework…in the late 1990s.” More recently, he and his colleagues have coupled those technologies with others—simulations of lessons, online preclass quizzes, and the Piazza online discussion forum for students needing help outside of class.
Read more at BU Today.
24-hour fundraising drive for BU on April 30
The Boston University community includes 300,000 alumni and 29,000 parents around the globe, along with 30,000 students and 9,000 faculty and staff members. On Wednesday, April 30, the University will ask that far-flung group to come together for 24 hours—on campus and online—for the first-ever Giving Day.
Read more on Bostonia.
Seven earn Boston Marathon slots for slain student
Baiyun Yao and Lu Lingzi were much alike—both Chinese, both roughly the same age, and both on the adventure of an overseas education at BU. Both attended last year’s Boston Marathon, where their similarities ended.
Yao returned home. Lu didn’t.
“When I came back home, I got hundreds of phone calls, texts, and emails checking about me,” Yao (GRS’15) later wrote. “I felt that I was so lucky and so beloved; meanwhile, I also felt deeply sad and shocked that Lingzi, the other similar age Chinese student, got killed.…The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other, but to be with each other.”
Those sentiments earned Yao one of seven spots (expanded from an original five) offered by the Lu family for BU community members in this year’s Marathon. The family was given the slots by the Boston Athletic Association as a tribute to their daughter, Lu Lingzi (GRS’13), who was one of three people killed in the Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013. The gift slots are exempt from the Marathon’s requirements of a qualifying time and a fundraising minimum.
Money raised by the seven for running the Marathon will go to the Lu Lingzi Scholarship Fund for graduate students. People wishing to donate to the runners may do so here (in the Comment section at the bottom of the form, name the runner on whose behalf you’re donating and the amount). Jeanne Knox, chairman of BU’s Parents Leadership Council, announced that the council will match, dollar for dollar, any contribution to the Scholarship Fund made on behalf of the seven runners.
Read more on BU Today.