BU Alumnus and Best-Selling Author Nicholas Gage Addresses Graduating International Students
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(Boston) – Last Thursday afternoon at the Metcalf Trustee Center, the Boston University Office of Development and Alumni Relations held a reception to recognize and celebrate the international graduates of the Class of 2006.
The event featured an address by honored guest and Boston University alumnus, Nicholas Gage (COM `63, HON `85). Born in Greece, Gage is a prize-winning investigative reporter and former foreign correspondent for the New York Times, as well as the author of seven books. One of the books, “Eleni,” received a National Book Critics Circle’s nomination for best biography, was awarded first prize by the Royal Society of Literature of Great Britain in 1984, and was also made into a motion picture. “Eleni” is the story of Gage’s mother, whose death during the Greek Civil War allowed her three children to emigrate to the United States. Gage has also established a scholarship at BU in his mother’s name.
After extending his congratulations to the international graduates in multiple languages, Gage went on to offer his thoughts on how the graduates will leave BU with a unique world perspective, stating that “Boston University has provided you with the opportunity to choose from the best of two worlds – America, and your own. What you have found valuable, take with you, and draw from.” He also warned that the end of education “does not mean that life will be smooth sailing” and that “all lives are filled with challenges, opportunities, thrills and disappointments.” Drawing from his own experience of the difficult voyage he made to America, Gage acknowledged that “adversity can be a blessing, since this is when you learn most about life and yourself.”
Continuing with advice for the international graduates, Gage shared two important insights. The first was that most people do not work at their full potential and thus, “a little extra effort can make a great difference.” To illustrate this point, he spoke of how the little extra effort he put in to uncover a fact while reporting on a story as a student at BU ultimately opened the door for him at the New York Times. His final message was that personal relationships and love should come above all else. As Gage stated that he came to truly understand while on the journey to uncover the truth behind his mother’s death, “no material success will mean as much as the love that you give and receive. In the end, that is what counts, and that is where you will find the greatest satisfaction.”
The reception attracted over 200 guests, including graduating students and their parents, representing 46 different nations, as well as prominent Boston University officials, including Provost David Campbell and President Emeritus John Silber.
The message to the international graduates from the University was loud and clear: Stay connected to BU, no matter where you go from here. Executive Director of Alumni Relations, Meg Umlas, welcomed the Class of 2006 to the BU alumni family, and encouraging their active participation in the BU alumni associations in the United States, and around the world. Umlas also provided insight into the benefits of leveraging connections with Boston University for the purposes of professional networking, as well as remaining in contact with friends, and other BU affiliates. Provost Campbell echoed these sentiments, stating that the graduates “will always be a part of Boston University.”
The event ended with Gage presenting graduating student raffle winners with autographed copies of his books. All international members of the Class of 2006 also received passport holders as graduation gifts from Boston University, to aid them in their future world travels.