Investing in BU

Supporting Boston University is a way to invest strategically in research, scholarship, education, and service programs that change the world.

One of the largest private universities in the country, BU is a leading global research and teaching institution, with more than 30,000 students and nearly 4,000 faculty members. BU’s 16 Schools and Colleges form a 133-acre campus in the vibrant city of Boston, and this campus is supported by research and teaching programs around the world.

Boston University is a recognized innovator in fields as diverse as health care, science, engineering, law, communications, management, social work, the fine arts, and theology; and it sustains an extraordinary array of direct involvements with the broader artistic, economic, social, intellectual, and educational life of its local and global communities. Over 150 centers and institutes push the frontiers in specialized, interdisciplinary fields like bioinformatics and mathematical biology, international health, K–12 character education, Alzheimer’s disease research and treatment, chemical library development, and global Christianity.

Research and Training in the Natural, Biomedical, and Health Sciences

Boston University is an important science research institute and works continually to strengthen its research capacities in important new fields of study. Our highly ranked Medical Campus (which includes the Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, and Public Health) houses leading programs in pediatrics, community and environmental health, and neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disease, and supports both the largest laboratory animal science facility and brain bank in the Northeast, as well as what will be the largest private BSL-4 research institute in the world, the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory. Corporate and foundation philanthropy has played a crucial role in the growth of the University’s research capacities.

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  • In 2001, the Whitaker Foundation awarded the University a $14 million Leadership Award to enhance its graduate and research programs in biomedical engineering. When matched with an $18 million University investment, this grant enabled the department to add 12 new faculty lines, build new state-of-the-art core facilities, and earn a top-ten ranking among programs in the United States. In 2005, this in turn helped the department to obtain a $4.58 million Translational Research Partnership Award from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation that is improving the department’s ability to bring biomedical technology from the laboratory bench to clinical application.
  • Faculty researchers prize the fact that Boston University encourages them to form interdisciplinary scientific collaborations and have established outstanding centers for interdisciplinary research and engineering in fields that range from nanobiotechnology, biodynamics, and bioinformatics, to energy and environmental studies, remote sensing, and space physics. Recognizing the University’s exceptional interdisciplinary strengths in neuroscience, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund helped the University establish its Program in Mathematical & Computational Neuroscience, which is devoted to research at the interface of the physical sciences and neuroscience.
  • The College of Arts & Sciences supports outstanding programs in geography, geology, mathematics, physics, psychology, and cognitive and computer science. In 2002, the W. M. Keck Foundation, recognizing the exceptional research capacities of the Department of Astronomy, made a grant of $500,000 for the construction of an instrument that has enabled researchers to undertake space surveys that are shedding new light on the formation of stars. In 2003, Chemistry Professor John Porco was one of only two scientists worldwide to receive the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award in Synthetic Organic Chemistry.
  • The Departments of Chemistry and Mathematics and the School of Medicine have obtained vital support from several of the Boston area’s major pharmaceutical companies for research, education, and outreach in science and math:
    • Merck Research Laboratories has funded graduate and undergraduate fellowships in the Chemistry Department, as well as Science Bowl, a science fair begun by the department.
    • AstraZeneca has sponsored work carried out by the BU Center for Chemical Methodology & Library Development, a leading national center for the synthesis of complex chemical libraries and the identification of novel pharmacological tools, as well as Focus on Math, an innovative training program for math teachers.
    • Biogen Idec and Genzyme have been important supporters of the School of Medicine’s MobileLab, a traveling science laboratory that offers high school teachers and their students the opportunity to participate in hands-on laboratory investigations.
  • The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Boston University are longtime partners. Since 1972, the foundation has awarded more than 150 grants totaling over $70 million to the University for research, training, and outreach in substance abuse prevention, dental medicine, and health care policy. Over half of the funding awarded—$42 million—went to the Join Together program at the School of Public Health, a national resource center that provides news, information, and technical support for hundreds of community groups fighting substance abuse.
  • Identifying the occurrence of environmentally induced diseases and analyzing risks to the public’s health is the primary function of the University’s Slone Epidemiology Center. Grants totaling $17 million from pharmaceutical corporations Barr, Bertek, and Ranbaxy assisted the center’s evaluation of the manufacturers’ pregnancy prevention risk-management programs in relation to isotretinoin use in women. With grants totaling $2.5 million, the Celgene Corporation is supporting the center’s design of registries to follow newly diagnosed patients with myeloma and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) over the course of their illness. The registries will evaluate clinical, quality-of-life, and economic outcomes in relation to various treatments.

Research and Training in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Corporations and foundations have decisively contributed to the ability of Boston University faculty to carry out pioneering research and to devote themselves to innovative approaches to teaching in the humanities and the social sciences.

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  • The University supports several centers, institutes, and programs that are dedicated to interdisciplinary study of special topics in the fields of history, anthropology, archaeology, and religion. Grants from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the John Templeton Foundation, and others have enabled the Institute on Culture, Religion & World Affairs (CURA) to become a leading center for the study of the influence of religion on public life worldwide.
  • Professor Christopher Ricks, 2003 recipient of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Distinguished Achievement Award, is the founder and codirector of the Boston University Editorial Institute, which offers a unique training program in a broad range of editorial methods.
  • With a major grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, the University established the International Center for East Asian Archaeology & Cultural History, the first such center at an American university. ICEAACH is now leading an effort, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to build a web-based, multilingual bibliographic database of scholarship in the field by linking 13 libraries and research institutes in China, Taiwan, Japan, the United States, and Europe.
  • Since 2003, the Lilly Endowment has provided the University with nearly $5.5 million in grants to support Boston University School of Theology projects that create dialogue and exchange between academic theology and the lives and work of urban churches in America. These grants build on a tradition of engagement with Christian life around the world that extends back to BU’s Methodist missionary origins in the mid-19th century and throughout the 1950s and ’60s, when the University trained more than half of the African Americans who earned doctorate degrees in religion and philosophy in the United States, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • In recognition of the strength of the BU School of Management at blending strategy, technology, and finance to solve business problems, Lucent Technologies provided SMG with more than $3.5 million to carry out research on the impact and effects of mobility on the business and consumer landscapes.

Education in the Arts

Boston University is unusual among the nation’s major scientific research universities in that it comprises a major music conservatory, a theater department with its own professional theater company (the Huntington Theatre) in residence, a school of visual arts, and an outstanding creative writing program, whose faculty includes National Book Award winner Ha Jin and the poets Rosanna Warren, Robert Pinsky, and Nobel laureate Derek Wolcott. These programs enrich the cultural and artistic life of Boston and the country, in part with the support of corporations and foundations.

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  • The Surdna Foundation has supported the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI), a renowned summer program for high school musicians carried out in cooperation with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at its summer headquarters in Lenox, Massachusetts.
  • The College of Fine Arts is widely known for the Boston University Opera Institute, a highly selective professional training program. Funding from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation has contributed to scholarships and production expenses associated with the institute’s exceptional singers and performances.
  • Support from the Trust for Mutual Understanding bolstered the Educational Bridge Project, a program anchored in the School of Music to foster the exchange of music and musicians between Boston and St. Petersburg. Through lectures, seminars, performances, collaborative concerts, and master classes, the project contributed to building relationships between the United States and Russia through artistic and educational means.

Community service and student life

Corporations and foundations have played an important role in the University’s ability to serve its students, the greater Boston region, and communities around the globe.

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  • Since the mid-1970s, Boston University has made greater contributions to its regional public schools than perhaps any university in the nation. In 1996, the Annenberg Foundation awarded the University a $2 million challenge grant to support the University’s long-term commitment to the public schools of Chelsea, Massachusetts, a high-poverty, immigrant community neighboring Boston.
  • Since 1996, when the Boston University Medical Center Hospital formed a partnership with Boston City Hospital to form the Boston University Medical Center (BUMC), the University has become a major provider of free medical and dental care to Boston’s underserved population. In 2005, Delta Dental of Massachusetts established a $4 million endowment to support the Delta Scholars Program at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine. The endowment helps to place dentists in low-income communities by recruiting qualified minority and inner-city applicants to SDM and offering them partial scholarships to offset the cost of a dental education.
  • Boston University has made tremendous strides over the last decade in creating a unified, stimulating, enriching, open, and environmentally friendly campus in the vibrant city of Boston. In 2000, John Hancock Financial Services committed $20 million over ten years to help build the John Hancock Student Village—which now enables BU to house over 85 percent of its undergraduates on campus—and has created state-of-the-art athletic and health facilities that are a major asset for the Boston community.