BU Veteran to Manage RE, Facilities Services

In charge of 800 employees, all property wordwide

06.13.2013 By Rich Barlow

Crews are busy transforming the former Hillel House at 233 Bay State Road into the University’s new Admissions Reception Center.

Michael Donovan’s new job gives him oversight of BU’s real estate, campus planning, and facilities management operations. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

A 33-year University veteran will lead BU’s sprawling, newly consolidated real estate and facilities management operations.

Michael Donovan has been promoted to vice president for real estate and facility services, effective July 1, the start of the University’s fiscal year. He will oversee campus planning, real estate purchases and sales, residential and commercial leasing, building design and construction, and facilities management.

Donovan will manage roughly 800 employees and more than 15 million square feet of property, spanning the Charles River and Medical Campuses to BU sites throughout the United States and internationally. He says more efficient integration of master planning, real estate operations, and facilities management, both day-to-day and long-term, will be a key task.

“There are synergies between these functions, and I am sure that the staffs no doubt see the same opportunities,” says Donovan, whose current title is senior associate vice president for real estate management. “I am confident that we can provide tangible benefits to both the University and the hardworking and dedicated employees who work in these offices.”

Having worked on both campuses during his career, he says, “I can honestly say that in 33 years at Boston University, no two days have ever been the same, and that variety has appealed to me.”

The consolidation completes a restructuring that began with the retirement two years ago of University executive vice president Joseph Mercurio. “This is a combination of two groups that have campus planning, construction, and operations in common. There’s a lot of overlap between the two,” says Gary Nicksa, senior vice president for operations. Nicksa says Donovan is “exceptionally qualified” for his new post.

“Michael’s training is as a lawyer. His experience over 33 years at BU, in roles ranging from human resources to environmental health and safety to real estate development, has given him incredible breadth and depth of understanding of the University and its operation,” he says.

Over his decades of service at BU, Donovan led, among other initiatives, the Charles River Campus Institutional Master Plan (the University’s growth guidelines and goals) through drafting and city approval; the leasing and incubation activities at BioSquare, the South End biomedical research laboratory; the Goldman School of Dental Medicine’s space master plan; the Cummington Mall purchase; and the occupancy of the new School of Medicine Student Residence.

He has served on the boards of the Association of University Research Parks, the International Association of Science Parks, and the Council of Biotechnology Centers. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and a law degree from Suffolk University.

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.