2000 Alumni Award Winners From Boston University
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Michael Bronner, a 1982 graduate of Boston University, has recently received an alumni award from Boston University. Bronner was one of four outstanding individuals selected this year to receive the award, which is the highest honor given by the University to its alumni. He was honored before a gathering of alumni, students, and parents at a ceremony held during the University’s Homecoming Weekend. Bronner is the founder, chairman, and C.E.O. of UPromise, Inc., the college savings network. While attending the University’s School of Management, he developed the entrepreneurial idea for a student coupon book to be distributed through campus mailboxes at no cost. This student coupon book quickly led to one for businesses, including American Express and AT&T. In 1999, Bronner turned this success into UPromise, Inc., a 90-plus employee company that has raised more than $34 million in its first round of financing. UPromise’s mission, to alter the accessibility and affordability of a college education, has been impressively matched by the UPromise Education Foundation, a separate entity created by Bronner which will help lower-income students and their families afford college tuition. Prior to developing UPromise, Bronner founded Digitas, a leading internet professional services firm that provides integrated strategy, technology, and marketing solutions to Fortune 100 companies. Today, Digitas employees more than 1,700 professionals across four offices and serves a client base of market leaders, including Charles Schwab, Delta, Federal Express, and Seagram Americas. Among his numerous community activities, Bronner is chairman of the Boston Walk Committee for the March of Dimes and serves on the boards of the Boys and Girls Clubs, Children’s Hospital Trust, and the Boston Public Library Foundation. In recognition of the goodwill Bronner and UPromise have contributed to the community, he received the Torch of Liberty Award from the Anti-Defamation League in 1999.
Irwin Chavetz, a 1958 graduate of Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences, has recently received an alumni award from Boston University. Chafetz was one of four outstanding individuals selected this year to receive the award, which is the highest honor given by the University to its alumni. He was honored before a gathering of alumni, students, and parents at a ceremony held during the University’s Homecoming Weekend. Chafetz has over 30 years of successful entrepreneurial experience in the travel, hospitality, and trade show industries. He is a director of Interface-Group-Massachusetts, Inc., a privately-held company that owns and operates GWV International, New England’s largest charter tour operator. Until April of 1995, the Interface-Group also owned and operated the largest American trade show, COMDEX, as well as other successful information technology events in the United States and around the world. Chafetz was also an owner of two major properties in Las Vegas: the Sands Hotel Casino, and the adjacent Sands Expo and Convention Center, the largest privately-owned facility of its kind in the country. Today, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Franchise Systems, Inc., a new hotel company listed on the NASDAQ exchange. A well-known philanthropist, Chafetz is a board member of the Wellness Community of Greater Boston, Hebrew College, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, and the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Aged. With fellow Boston University alumnus Leonard Florence, he has made a $2.5 million commitment for the eventual creation of the Florence and Chafetz Hillel House at the University.
Jhumpa Lahiri, a four-time graduate of Boston University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the University Professor program, has recently received an alumni award from Boston University. Lahiri was one of four outstanding individuals selected this year to receive the award, which is the highest honor given by the University to its alumni. She was honored before a gathering of alumni, students, and parents at a ceremony held during the University’s Homecoming Weekend. While earning her four graduate degrees at Boston University, Lahiri was also writing several short stories that would end up in her Pulitzer Prize-winning debut collection Interpreter of Maladies (1999). After receiving her Ph.D. in renaissance studies from Boston University in 1997, Lahiri received a prestigious fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass. Her fictional work has appeared in The New Yorker, Agni, and Epoch, and she has written for The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Magazine, Food & Wine, Boston Magazine, and Mirabella. In addition to receiving a Pulitzer Prize for Interpreter of Maladies, Lahiri also garnered the Transatlantic Review Award, The New Yorker Book Award for Best Debut (1999), the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the Addison M. Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Born in London and raised in Providence, R.I., Lahiri resides in New York City, where she is currently working on a novel.
Michael Lee, a 1986 graduate of Boston University’s Graduate School of Management, has recently received an alumni award from Boston University. Lee was one of four outstanding individuals selected this year to receive the award, which is the highest honor given by the University to its alumni. He was honored before a gathering of alumni, students, and parents at a ceremony held during the University’s Homecoming Weekend. Lee is co-founder of two highly-successful international management companies: Lloyd George Management, which manages assets of $1.5 billion; and Asia Strategic Investment Management Limited, which provides services to high-net-worth individuals and institutional clients around the world. After graduating from Boston University, Lee joined Indosuez Asia Investment Services Limited in 1987 as an investment manager, and became director in 1990. He is also director of Hysan Development Company Limited, a local property company listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Lee is a chairman of the executive committee of the Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children, the largest child care services provider for the needy children of Hong Kong. He is also an executive committee member of Helping Hand, a charity that provides room, board, nursing care, and rehabilitative services to the needy elderly of Hong Kong. In 1996, Lee received an Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to the profession from the University’s School of Management. Boston University is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States, with an enrollment of nearly 30,000 students in its 16 schools and colleges, and now has over 230,000 alumni throughout the world. The University offers an exceptional grounding in the liberal arts, a broad range of programs in the arts, sciences, engineering and professional areas, and state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and research.
WHDH-TV Channel 7 Sports Reporter
The Boston University Young Alumni Council bestowed its annual Alumni Award to Joe Amorosino, sports reporter for WHDH-TV and a graduate of the University’s College of Communication, on Saturday, October 14. Amorosino, who graduated in 1992 with a bachelor of science degree in journalism, began his television career as sports director and anchor at Channel 11 News on Cape Cod. He then worked at WPRI-TV Channel 12 in Providence as the weekend sports anchor. Amorosino joined the WHDH-TV news team in March of 1998. Since then, Amorosino has covered all of Boston’s major sporting events, including the 1999 Ryder Cup at the Country Club in Brookline.
The Boston University Young Alumni Council bestowed its annual Alumni Award to Mark McLaren, Broadway musical director and a graduate of the University’s School for the Arts, on Saturday, October 14. McLaren, who graduated in 1988 with a master’s degree in music, has extensive experience in directing Broadway blockbusters, including The Phantom of the Opera and CATS. In 1997, McLaren conducted the gala 6,138th performance of CATS, making the production the longest-running show in Broadway’s history. Most recently, McLaren was music director for the national touring company of Maury Yeston’s Broadway musical Titanic. The Boston University Young Alumni Council Award was established in the spring of 1996 in order to emphasize the importance of Boston University’s young alumni population and recognize the many contributions its members have made to the University. The award is given each year during the University’s Homecoming weekend. McLaren was chosen as this year’s Young Alumni Award recipient for his professional achievements, character, and continued support of Boston University.