Questrom School of Business Appoints One of Its Own as New Dean

Susan Fournier, a marketing and management professor at BU for 13 years and a leading international expert on brand marketing, will become the next dean of the Questrom School of Business, effective August 27.

The first female dean to lead the business school, Fournier is credited with pioneering the brand relationships subfield in marketing, which explores the emotional relationships consumers form with brands and products. She is the author of two acclaimed books and numerous book chapters as well as several best-selling Harvard case studies on branding. A sought-after expert, Fournier’s soon-to-be published research paper examines the pitfalls of celebrity-based branding based on Fournier’s 14-year analysis of Martha Stewart’s career. She has also received several best paper awards, including the Long-Term Contribution Award in Consumer Research and Emerald’s Citation of Excellence Award for the top 50 articles in management.

Prior to joining the Questrom faculty in 2005, Fournier worked in market research or as a consultant in private industry for companies such as Polaroid Corp., Altria, IBM, Coca-Cola, and Chick-fil-A, and served on the faculty at Harvard Business School and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Jean Morrison, BU provost and chief academic officer, praises Fournier as a leading scholar, teacher, and innovator who has earned high regard at Questrom for her pioneering work in the classroom and corporate world.

“She brings a remarkable toolkit of experience and knowledge to this role—and a genuine connection to the students, faculty, and staff who are the heart of Questrom,” Morrison says. “I am excited to welcome her to this role and to follow her success as she guides Questrom to continued excellence as a leading global business school.”

University President Robert A. Brown says the Questrom Dean Search Advisory Committee, which undertook a national search for Kenneth Freeman’s successor, gave Fournier its unanimous and enthusiastic support.

“Susan assumes the role of the dean of the Questrom School of Business during an exciting time for the school, for business education, and the University,” Brown says. “I look forward to working with her to continue the journey of increasing the quality and impact of the school’s education and research programs.”

Fournier says she sees a direct correlation between her academic research and her new role at the helm of Questrom. Branding, she notes, is about forging relationships as is running a business school.

“I have deep knowledge in the psychology and sociology of relationships, how they develop, how they fall apart, what kind of flavors they come in,” she says. “The whole point of what I do is looking at why people connect with things, what role brands, products, organizations have for people in their lives. It’s not about selling a product, it’s about understanding people’s lives … and trying to help them.”

At BU, she says she will work to increase interdisciplinary programming, ensure Questrom’s financial security, and offer coursework aligned with both students’ and employers’ needs.

“I will be the champion of the Questrom School of Business brand,” Fournier says. “I will be looking out to make sure all the decisions we make are on brand and are going to build our equity as a preeminent academic institution, from every person we hire to every course we develop to every institute we endow.”

She succeeds Kenneth Freeman, who announced last fall that he would step down as dean after eight years. During his tenure, Freeman oversaw a period of remarkable growth during which undergraduate student enrollment increased by nearly 30 percent. He presided over the $50 million gift by BU trustee Allen Questrom (Questrom’64, Hon.’15) and Kelli Questrom (Hon.’15) and their foundation that led to the renaming of the school in 2015. He also helped transform the undergraduate and MBA programs to emphasize ethics and global citizenship and better cater to changing student and employer needs.

In addition to her teaching and administrative roles at BU, Fournier is also a long-standing member of marketing journal editorial boards, including the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, and the Journal of Relationship Marketing, as well as senior consulting editor for the Journal of Brand Management. She sits on the senior advisory board of the Journal of Product and Brand Management and has worked as vice president and associate research director at Young & Rubicam Advertising in New York.

Fournier received her PhD in marketing from the University of Florida and her master’s degree in marketing from Pennsylvania State University. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

She says Questrom has already begun the work of breaking down barriers between traditional academic disciplines that operate in outmoded silos in favor of interdisciplinary programming. Eliminating those boundaries in hiring, programming, and other interfaces is the future of business education, she says, and perhaps education in general.

It’s a real-world approach, she says.

“I’m trying to further establish our reputation as a preeminent research and teaching institution and develop our reputation for research that matters and faculty who care,” she says. “We need strong partnerships with industry and organizations both to provide data for research that matters but also to be in partnership with us in the development of courses and projects that students would work on for hands-on learning.”

“I have a stakeholder perspective from having worked and lived on the other side.”

Ebola Research Begins at NEIDL

Eight months after receiving final approval from the Boston Public Health Commission to conduct research at Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4), Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) has begun work with its first Level-4 pathogen, the Ebola virus.

“This is clearly an important step for the NEIDL,” says Ronald B. Corley, NEIDL director and a School of Medicine professor of microbiology. “This will permit us to fulfill our mission of studying emerging pathogens and developing diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines for these pathogens, even those that require BSL-4 containment. It has taken a very long time to get to this point, but the time that has passed has not dampened our enthusiasm—and excitement—to be able to start BSL-4 work.”

NEIDL microbiologist Elke Mühlberger says the lab’s first Level-4 projects will examine how the Ebola virus damages cells in the liver, and why it triggers such a powerful inflammatory response. Answers to those questions, she says, could speed the development of a therapy for Ebola virus disease, which sickened tens of thousands of people and led to more than 11,000 deaths in West Africa in a 2014–2016 outbreak, and sickened 59 people and killed 29 in an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo this past May. The country’s health ministry reported a new outbreak yesterday, which has killed at least 20 people.

Ebola virus causes a rare but life-threatening disease that has become a global public health threat, traveling to the United States and Europe during the 2014 outbreak. There is no available FDA-approved vaccine or therapy for Ebola virus, which along with the related Marburg virus, arrived at NEIDL earlier this week.

Mühlberger, a MED associate professor of microbiology, says the researchers’ plans include at least three projects involving the Ebola and Marburg viruses, all funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which also provides more than $10 million a year to help underwrite the cost of operating the BSL-4 in the NEIDL. The first project, which will look at Ebola’s damage to the liver, will use human liver cells generated from induced pluripotent stem cells at BU’s Center for Regenerative Medicine by stem cell biologist and tissue engineer Gustavo Mostoslavsky, a MED associate professor of medicine and microbiology.

“We are excited to use these cells,” says Mühlberger, “because the liver is one of the main target organs of Ebola virus infection. We will use Gustavo’s cells to find out why Ebola virus is so devastating for the liver.”

A second project, which follows up on research conducted by NEIDL researcher John Connor, a MED associate professor of microbiology, will examine why the Ebola virus triggers an inflammatory response in specific immune cells. Mühlberger says researchers will also work with the Marburg virus, hoping to learn why it kills humans but not Egyptian fruit bats, a mystery that has been studied by Thomas Kepler, a MED professor of microbiology.

Safety and Security Are Paramount

“The need for this facility is even more acute today than when it was first built,” says Corley. “And we remain committed to being completely transparent in our operations, and maintain the NEIDL with the greatest attention to safety and security.”

Kevin Tuohey, executive director of research compliance at Boston University and Boston Medical Center, says the arrival of the Ebola and Marburg viruses has been eagerly awaited and was meticulously monitored. Tuohey says transportation of Level-4 agents is regulated by several authorities, including the US Department of Transportation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the International Air Transportation Authority, and the Boston Public Health Commission. Deliveries of the agents to the NEIDL, he says, are coordinated with Boston Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services, and Boston Fire and Police Departments, as well as the Massachusetts State Police.

During transport, Tuohey says, Level-4 agents are packaged in accordance with the Department of Transportation’s “triple packaging” regulations, and BU requires an additional level of packaging in the form of a secured rigid material over the pack case. Shipments are carefully tracked with GPS. BU requires each delivery to have two drivers, both of whom are reviewed in an annual clearance process.

Tuohey says the NEIDL has bolstered its preparation for Level-4 research with the hiring of two new Environmental Health & Safety officers. Shannon Benjamin is the new associate director for high containment/BSL-3 BSO, and Nadya Yun is associate director for maximum containment/BSL-4 BSO. Benjamin comes to BU with 10 years of biosafety experience, most recently at Brown University, and Yun has two years of biosafety and compliance experience following 10 years as a researcher and research manager. She comes to BU from Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc., and Harvard Medical School, after working in BSL-4 at the Galveston National Lab and University of Texas Medical Branch.

In December 2017, after more than three years of review, BSL-4 research at the NEIDL was approved by the CDC, and last December the lab received final approval from the Boston Public Health Commission. All BSL-4 research conducted at the NEIDL must also be approved on a case-by-case basis by BU’s Institutional Biosafety Committee, which was created under National Institutes of Health guidelines to review research involving biohazardous materials.

Mühlberger says NEIDL researchers are excited to finally begin work with Ebola and Marburg viruses. She says the lab’s first step will be to propagate these viruses to produce enough material for experiments. The next step will involve inactivation procedures, so that material can be safely moved from BSL-4 to BSL-2, where most of the research will take place. She says the work will be conducted by several researchers who have been trained to work at BSL-4. They include senior research scientist Judith Olejnik, research scientist Adam Hume, research technician Jennifer Pacheco, and PhD student Whitney Manhart (MED’23), the first student trained in BSL-4 work at the NEIDL.

Those researchers will be joined later this summer by Robert Davey, a highly regarded virologist whose research bridges the fields of virology and cell biology, and by Anthony Griffiths, a virologist who studies how highly pathogenic viruses cause disease. Both come to the NEIDL from Texas Biomedical Research Institute, a private research center in San Antonio, Tex.

Infographic timeline of NEIDL milestone dates and events.
Originally published on BU Today here

DRC: Experimental Ebola Vaccine to be Administered in Mbandaka


The Guardian

Nahid Bhadelia

Health authorities and NGOs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will begin administering an experimental Ebola vaccine on Monday in Mbandaka, the north-western city of 1.2 million people where the deadly disease was detected last week…

Expert Quote:

“The vaccine is a powerful tool but you still need other tools. You still need to find the contacts. This outbreak has multiple epicentres that are some distance apart and include a big city … Then you need some kind of infrastructure to follow up.”

Read full article

BU-Based CARB-X Antimicrobial Partnership Gets Another $50 Million Plus

June 1st, 2018in 2018, News Releases

In a sign of the growing recognition of the threat of antibiotic resistance, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK government are joining CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator), a BU-based public-private partnership launched two years ago by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to give financial, scientific, and business support to small companies focusing on drug-resistant bacteria. The Gates Foundation is committing up to $25 million over three years to support scientific research to develop new vaccines, preventatives, and other antimicrobial products, particularly for health needs in low- and middle-income countries. The UK government, through its Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund, is contributing up to $27 million for similar work. CARB-X, which is overseen by executive director Kevin Outterson, a School of Law professor of law and the N. Neal Pike Scholar in Health and Disability Law and an expert on pharmaceutical markets, is the world’s leading public-private partnership dedicated to the early development of innovative antibiotics, vaccines, and other products to fight the global threat of superbugs.

The commitments bring to more than $500 million the total funding available to CARB-X for the development of products to protect people from superbug bacterial infections. CARB-X’s existing funding partners include the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of HHS, which has committed $250 million over five years; the Wellcome Trust, a UK-based global charitable organization, which has committed up to $155.5 million over five years; and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health, which has committed $50 million in preclinical services over five years.

“We are in a race against superbugs, and it will take leadership, vision, and sustained effort to keep ahead,” says Outterson. “We are deeply grateful for this new partnership with the UK government and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, building upon the leadership from the US government [BARDA and NIAID] and the Wellcome Trust.”

“The threat of antimicrobial resistance underscores the importance of prevention—which we believe is key to saving lives,” says Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Gates Foundation. The Gates funding “will advance the development of vaccines, and novel biologics, including monoclonal antibodies, to avert drug-resistant diseases and protect the lives of children and infants, especially in low- and middle-income countries.”

“Superbugs are already killing hundreds of thousands of people around the world,” says England’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies. “By working together [with the Gates Foundation and CARB-X’s other partners], we will represent a formidable force against this intensifying threat.”

“We’re honored to have these two powerhouse organizations join us in this fight to accelerate global antibacterial innovation,” says Rick Bright, BARDA director.

Tim Jinks, head of Wellcome’s Drug-Resistant Infections Priority Programme, calls the funding from the Gates Foundation and the UK government “a significant boost” and says he hopes other countries and partners will follow. “Without wider investment and collaboration,” he says, “we will struggle to deliver the new treatments needed globally to protect and save lives and stop superbugs undermining modern medicine.”

Drug-resistant infections cause about 700,000 deaths worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with an estimated 23,000 of those deaths in the United States. If antibiotic resistance continues at its current rate, these numbers are expected to rise significantly within a generation.

Researchers say it takes at least a decade and many millions of dollars to develop a new antibiotic or vaccine, and the success rate for bringing an early preclinical compound to market is less than one percent. In fact, there have been no approved classes of antibiotics for the most dangerous types of bacteria—Gram-negatives—since 1962. Largely because of a lack of financial incentives, the pharmaceutical industry has all but gotten out of the business of developing new antibiotics and antimicrobials. Small biotech and pharmaceutical companies have difficulty attracting private investors for the early phase of development of new antibiotics.

CARB-X funding—along with the partnership’s scientific and business expertise—is intended to help companies get projects through the first phase of clinical testing, when they have a much better chance of attracting additional private or public funding for further clinicial development. The partnership selects promising early research to support through a competitive review process overseen by a group of leading scientists who make up the partnership’s scientific advisory board. Outterson, who does not have a seat on the board, and who works with a shoestring staff crammed into offices on LAW’s 12th floor, says 94 percent of CARB-X’s funding goes directly to research and development. “We’re trying to be entrepreneurial and lean and nimble,” he says.

The CARB-X awards are grants, which are distributed to companies as the work progresses and certain research and development milestones are met. The companies are obligated to commit to responsible stewardship so that if their products should succeed in reaching patients, they do not contribute to the rise of antibiotic resistance. What we get, says Outterson, is the possibility that one or more of the companies CARB-X funds will develop a product that will treat or prevent drug-resistant infections and save lives.

“Receiving additional funding for CARB-X, particularly of this magnitude and from these funders, is an indication of the importance of the type of work that CARB-X is undertaking,” says Gloria Waters, the University’s vice president and associate provost for research. “It is also a very strong endorsement of the unique funding model—and public-private partnership—that Kevin and his team have put together.”

The partnership, which focuses on companies targeting the most serious bacteria infections, has 5 products in clinical development and 33 in preclinicial development in the United States and half a dozen other countries. Outterson says they represent nine new classes of antibiotics, six novel diagnostic devices, one vaccine, and more than a dozen nontraditional products, including microbiome approaches.

“CARB-X has become a significant source of funding for antibiotic development,” says Allan Coukell, senior director of health programs at the Pew Charitable Trusts, which studies efforts to combat antibiotic resistance, including the pipeline for new antibiotics. And, he adds, by offering companies scientific expertise around testing protocols, CARB-X “helps them to make good decisions in the early development phase.”

With support from CARB-X, Entasis Therapeutics, a small company based in Waltham, Mass., has one antimicrobial product in the first phase of clinical testing and another project, for a new class of antibiotic aimed at Gram-negative bacteria, in the discovery phase. “Innovation is a long haul,” says Manos Perros, president and CEO of Entasis. “When you have a small company, it’s in those earliest stages, when the return is farther away and the risk is higher, that the need for support is greatest.

“CARB-X focuses on what matters, which is making sure they put as much money as they can into the science and clinical development of the companies they’re funding,” says Perros. “They want us to be successful. There is engagement with the science, with the strategy, with the way in which we are solving problems that inevitably arise in R&D.”

More than 400 companies in the United States and other countries have so far submitted projects to CARB-X for funding. In its latest round of awards, in April 2018, CARB-X gave up to $2.4 million over about 11 months to Achaogen, a biopharmaceutical company in South San Francisco, Calif., for the development of a novel antibiotic to treat Gram-negative infections.

CARB-X is “very well organized and highly respected,” says Kenneth Hillan, Achaogen’s president of research and development. “They can bring things together in a way that the individual organizations involved couldn’t do on their own. A lot of it is Kevin’s leadership. Very few people would have the tenacity to bring these organizations together and navigate between all the partners.”

CARB-X’s next round of funding opens for applications June 1, 2018. The scope of funding will include vaccines and other projects that meet the criteria of the Gates Foundation and UK government.

The two new partnerships were announced at the launch of the Global Antimicrobial Resistance R&D Hub May 22, during the 71st World Health Assembly, the WHO decision-making body, meeting in Geneva. The Global AMR R&D Hub will help advance international funding and collaboration for research and development of antimicrobial medicines.

BU Global Music Festival at Boston University Oct. 5 & 6, 2018

May 7th, 2018in News Releases

CONTACT: Ty A. Furman, Managing Director, BU Arts Initiative – 617.358.0489,


(Boston, MA) – Boston University is pleased to announce the BU Global Music Festival to be held October 5th and 6th on the Boston University Charles River Campus. The festival will be free and open to the public and all ages, and will feature international musicians and as well as local world musicians along with educational programs and a global bazaar. In total, the festival will feature more than a dozen acts representing musical traditions from around the world and local communities. At the time of this release, the following acts are confirmed: LADAMA (Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia), Zhou Family Band (China), Jupiter & Okwess (Democratic Republic of Congo), Orquesta El Macabeo (Puerto Rico), and Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole (Hawaii).

The festival is produced by the BU Arts Initiative – Office of the Provost and the College of Fine Arts Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology through the Karbank Fund for Global Music. Musician and ethnomusicologist Marié Abe will serve as artistic director, in collaboration with independent producer Brian Keigher, who previously organized the World Music Festival for the city of Chicago. Additional support comes from BU Global Programs, BU’s Pardee School of Global Studies, BU’s College of Fine Arts, and BU’s Center for Humanities. WBUR will serve as a media sponsor.

The festival’s mission is to celebrate musical cultures around the world by featuring high-caliber, international artists and vibrant local musical communities, bringing the wider musical world to the doorstep of thousands of students, adults, young people, and families throughout the Boston area. The BU Global Music Festival showcases musicians and performing artists steeped in folkloric, vernacular, popular, and traditional music around the world, providing the BU community and the public access to diverse musical practices. Accompanied by workshops, panel discussions, lectures, and other educational offerings, this festival will offer the audience intellectual insights and hands-on experiences in selected performing arts from various parts of the globe. Through exploration of diverse musical cultures, BU Global Music Festival offers a chance for the audience to experience and understand human sameness and differences across cultures, and aspires to develop interest, respect, and engagement with our neighbors, near and far, through musical performance and education.

“‘Global music’ doesn’t just mean ‘international’ or ‘foreign’ music,” explains Abe: “It also includes musical cultures of indigenous and immigrant communities in the U.S. I’m very excited that our lineup has amazing musicians from both abroad and the vibrant and dynamic diasporic communities in the U.S. and right here in Boston. I hope that the audience enjoys learning about the places and histories that the artists bring into their music.”

Abe and the BU Arts Initiative previously collaborated in 2015 to bring the Nile Project to Boston University for a week-long residency in collaboration with World Music/CRASHarts. The success of that residency and other global music programs at BU and the truly global character of the University led to the creation of the BU Global Music Festival as an annual opportunity to share music, culture, and our campus with the greater Boston community. “The BU Global Music Festival will be an important addition to Boston’s arts and culture ecosystem,” said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture. “We are so pleased to see that it embodies the goals of the Boston Creates cultural plan to cultivate a city where all cultural traditions and expressions are respected, promoted, and equitably resourced, and where opportunities to engage with arts and culture are accessible to all. I look forward to seeing the diversity of our city reflected and celebrated in this exciting new way.”

Vice President and Associate Provost for Global Programs Willis Wang notes that “Music has the power to bring people of different backgrounds, cultures, and points of view together through a shared experience. The BU Global Music Festival is an exciting initiative that will help do that for our community, which is what Global Programs endeavors to do through all our efforts, and we are very excited to support this wonderful event.”


Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 33,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States. BU consists of 17 schools and colleges, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes integral to the University’s research and teaching mission. In 2012, BU joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.

The Boston University Arts Initiative in the Office of the Provost was created in the fall of 2012 with a mission to ensure that the arts are a vital component of the student experience at Boston University, and to build community awareness of and engagement in the arts at BU. Our programming reflects the interdisciplinary, global, and urban nature of Boston University.

Full schedule, artist biographies, and reservation information can be found at Press photos are available by request.

Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Will Speak at 145th BU Commencement

May 3rd, 2018in 2018, News Releases

Civil rights icon John Lewis, a member of the US House of Representatives since 1987, will deliver the 145th Commencement address on Sunday, May 20, on Nickerson Field.

BU President Robert A. Brown announced Lewis as the Commencement speaker at Thursday’s Class of 2018 Senior Breakfast at the George Sherman Union Metcalf Ballroom, where more than 2,500 soon-to-be graduates noshed on tarts, sausages, scones, muffins, and fruit. Songs like Pharrell’s “Happy,” Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse,” and Ariana Grande’s “Break Free,” and a slideshow of pictures of the seniors from the last four years brought some nostalgia.

Lewis (D-Ga.) will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws. Brown also named this year’s other honorary degree recipients: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony S. Fauci, Doctor of Science; San Juan, P.R., mayor and activist Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto (CAS’84), Doctor of Laws; filmmaker and journalist Vibha Bakshi (COM’93,’96), Doctor of Humane Letters; and award-winning filmmaker Zhang Yimou, Doctor of Humane Letters. Cruz will deliver this year’s Baccalaureate speech on Commencement morning at Marsh Chapel. Yasmin Younis (COM’18) was announced as this year’s student speaker.

Brown also revealed the winners of the University’s highest teaching honors. This year the top honor, the Metcalf Cup and Prize, goes to Brooke Blower, a College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of history. Elizabeth Co, a CAS senior lecturer in biology, and James A. Wolff, a School of Public Health associate professor of global health, are the recipients of the Metcalf Awards for Excellence in Teaching. The three faculty members will be honored at the Commencement ceremony.

Born the son of sharecroppers in Jim Crow Alabama, the 78-year-old Lewis was a major leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He organized sit-ins at segregated lunch counters, participated in Freedom Rides, organized voter registration drives, was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and gave a keynote address at the 1963 March on Washington. He headed up the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. The march ended with peaceful protesters brutally attacked by police officers, leaving Lewis with a fractured skull. The incident garnered headlines worldwide and helped lead to passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, Lewis has remained an advocate of nonviolence. After leaving SNCC in 1966, he was active in the Field Foundation, the Southern Regional Council, and the Voter Education Project and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to direct the ACTION federal volunteer agency.

He has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. Lewis was elected to the Atlanta City Council in 1981 and was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1986.

Fauci is one of the world’s most influential and accomplished scientist-physicians and has greatly contributed to the understanding of HIV and AIDS throughout the world.

He has directed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health since 1984, where he oversees extensive research on infectious diseases and diseases of the immune system. He is also chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation—a field he helped pioneer—where he has made countless important discoveries related to immune-mediated and infectious diseases. Fauci has advised five US presidents on HIV/AIDS as well as several other domestic and global health issues. He is a recipient of the National Medal of Science and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among other honors.

Cruz first gained international attention last September in the wake of Hurricane Maria, the worst natural disaster to hit Puerto Rico and the Commonwealth of Dominica. While mobilizing the island’s scant remaining resources, she advocated relentlessly on behalf of the Puerto Rican people, facing down government bureaucracies that were often inefficient and seemed at times uncaring. Her repeated insistence that “This is not about politics; this is about saving lives,” resulted in many nongovernmental organizations and private companies supporting the recovery effort.

The BU alum is a former member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives and is an active advocate for immigrants, the LGBTQ community, the deaf community, children with functional diversity, and those who have struggled with gender-based violence. She was recently named to Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People of 2018” list. For her humanitarian work, Cruz has been recognized with the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center’s Humanitarian Leadership Award and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation Humanitarian Award.

In Bakshi’s 2015 film Daughters of Mother India, the filmmaker and journalist shone a light on gender violence in India. In 2017 the Global Creative Index named the documentary the Most Awarded Social Campaign in the World. It also won the President’s Award for Best Film on Social Issues at the National Film Awards, India’s highest film honor, as well as earning two Cannes Lion nominations.

Two earlier socially conscious films by Bakshi—Too Hot Not to Handle, an HBO documentary about climate change, and Terror at Home, part of the Emmy-winning Stop the Violence Against Women campaign—have also met with wide acclaim. Her latest film is SON RISE, which is inspired by the HeforShe mandate, which stresses that gender equality can only be achieved if men and boys are part of the struggle. Bakshi founded Responsible Films, where she produces and directs socially conscious films and campaigns.

Zhang is a leading Chinese filmmaker who has earned international kudos and commercial success. After beginning his career as a cinematographer and actor, he made his directorial debut in 1987 with Red Sorghum, followed by Ju Dou in 1990—the first Chinese film nominated for an Academy Award for Foreign Language Film—and Raise the Red Lantern in 1991. He has also directed two operas, Turandot and The First Emperor, and a ballet adaptation of Raise the Red Lantern. Six of his films have been nominated for Oscars in various categories and five have been nominated for Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture–Foreign Language. Zhang has also received several lifetime achievement awards.

His most famous productions were the dramatic opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He directed the Beijing portion of the handover ceremony at the close of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, and he will helm the closing ceremony for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

At the breakfast, event emcee Kenneth Elmore (SED’87), associate provost and dean of students, welcomed the 2018 Class Gift cochairs, Nebe Betre (COM’18) and Kaitlin Geraghty (CAS’18), who thanked the graduating seniors for their generosity. More than 2,200 students from the Class of 2018 have supported over 100 different funds so far, and these seniors are scrambling to break the record for the most philanthropic graduating class in BU history (the Class of 2017 currently holds the record, with more than 2,850 donors).

Brown reminded the seniors of some of the milestones they experienced, like their first year on campus, when Boston had a wild winter and multiple snow days. “BU today is different than the BU people went to 25 years ago, and you’ve seen some significant physical changes to the institution,” Brown said, citing the record-breaking $115 million gift from Rajen Kilachand (Questrom’74, Hon.’14) and the new Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering and the opening of the Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre.

“I do hope you come back. The Castle will not be wrapped in red by the fall, and we will have the first alumni center on campus,” Brown said. “Stay connected with us—we’re all on a journey. You’re launching your journey in two weeks, and this institution, too, is on a journey.”

One of the last speakers was Joanne Lee (SED’17, CAS’17, MET’19), who now works for the Boston chapter of the College Advising Corps, a nonprofit that strives to increase the rates of college enrollment and completion among low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented high school students. She welcomed the Class of 2018 as new members of the BU Alumni Association and offered tips on what she has learned as a newly minted college grad: “Don’t forget to take time for yourself…invest in worthwhile relationships…find people that challenge you and make you see things from another perspective…stay involved in BU in the years ahead…and don’t sweat the small stuff.”

MED Researcher Ann McKee Makes TIME’s 100 Most Influential People List

Ann McKee “may have saved my life,” former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland writes in TIME magazine’s annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Her research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the progressive brain disease crippling many athletes and soldiers, persuaded Borland to abandon pro football after just one season.

Joining McKee, a Boston University School of Medicine professor of neurology and pathology, on TIME’s list is Carmen Yulín Cruz (CAS’84), mayor of San Juan, P.R., cited for her “passionate, courageous and articulate” advocacy for the island after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria last September. The storm caused up to $95 billion in damage and plunged the island into a humanitarian crisis.

McKee says TIME’s honor is a tribute to her research team. “I know what enormous hard work, thick skin, and persistence this has required from all of us over the past 10 years. I am very grateful to receive this tribute on behalf of the entire team.”

It’s not the first time that McKee, director of BU’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center, has grabbed national media attention. Last year, she made global headlines when she announced that 27-year-old Aaron Hernandez, a former New England Patriot and convicted murderer who’d committed suicide in jail, had the worst case of CTE ever found in a young person.

McKee and her team made news again this year with a study suggesting that the disease may not be caused by concussions, as had been suspected, but by repeated head injuries. If true, efforts to protect athletes from concussions would have to be redirected toward the more difficult task of reducing head impacts and “the fundamental danger these activities pose to human health,” McKee said at the time.

Locally, in December the Boston Globe anointed her 2017 Bostonian of the Year.

CTE occurs in four stages in people who have suffered repeated concussions and other brain trauma. It is associated with dementia, mood changes, and aggression.

Borland’s accompanying essay in the April 30 TIME notes that pioneering research hasn’t always brought McKee praise: “Her reward for great scientific breakthroughs has often been sharp criticism. Dr. McKee has even endured personal attacks. She is reviled by the old-boys’ club of a multibillion-dollar [sports] industry. Punishment for doing your job well is an unparalleled professional pressure.

“Yet Dr. McKee shows up to work every day. She shares her findings. And she tells the truth, however uncomfortable. That is grace under pressure.”

The CTE Center’s brain bank stores hundreds of brains donated by professional athletes and their families and by many others. McKee, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, has published more than 70 percent of the world’s CTE case studies and has testified before Congress.

“Little by little, her words got the crisis the attention it desperately needs, just as if it were happening in Florida or Texas,” the Oscar-winner writes. “Cruz’s legacy will be marked by her uncompromising refusal to let anyone ignore the lives of those affected by the hurricane. For this we are forever grateful.”

The magazine broke its list of 100 into five categories: McKee is among those in “Pioneers”; “Artists” includes Nicole Kidman, Gal Gadot, and This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown; Cruz appears in the “Leaders” category along with Donald Trump and Robert Mueller, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle; “Icons” includes names like Rihanna and Chadwick Boseman; and among the “Titans” listed is Oprah Winfrey.

University Launches $20 Million Innovate@BU Initiative for Students

November 29th, 2017in News Releases

Robert A Brown, University President is launching a University-wide initiative to give all BU students opportunities to learn and engage in creative problem solving and hands-on innovation.The new initiative is called Innovate@BU. It will be located in a 6,000-square-foot student hub called the BUild Lab: IDG Capital Student Innovation Center, expected to open in January. Brown has appointed Gerald Fine, a College of Engineering professor of the practice of mechanical engineering, as executive director. Read the full article on Innovate@BU here.

BU Arts Initiative Welcomes Three Artists for Residency

October 11th, 2017in 2017, News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 31, 2017 through November 3, 2017
CONTACT: Sarah Collins, (617) 358-0489 or

(Boston, MA)—We are pleased to announce that the Boston University Arts Initiative – Office of the Provost, Boston University Art Galleries, and the Boston University Dance Program will welcome Dahlia Nayar, Margaret Sunghe Paek, and Loren Kiyoshi Dempster, for an artist residency Tuesday, October 31st through Friday, November 3rd , 2017 on the Boston University Charles River campus. The residency will include public performances on November 2nd and 3rd of their piece entitled 2125 Stanley Street held at 808 Gallery (808 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215). Performances are free, and open to the public, but a rsvp is required. RSVP and artist biographies are available at

Working with collaborators Margaret Paek and Loren Kiyoshi Dempster, in 2125 Stanley Street, choreographer and dancer Dahlia Nayar examines “home” as an archaeological site where minimal artifacts offer points of departure for the re-imagination and reconstruction of a domestic space. They excavate the everyday and the mundane in search of a poetic consciousness. Household objects transform into potential sources of revelation and reflection. Basic tasks are infused with virtuosity and nostalgia. Fragmented lullabies and nursery rhymes create an evocative soundscape. Ultimately, the installation invites the audience into a home that unfolds through movement and sound, a home that exists in the present moment through intimate exchange, a home that is both familiar and yet cannot exactly be located. Downeast Magazine awarded 2125 Stanley Street the 2015 Best of Stage and Screen noting that “2125 Stanley Street gorgeously explores domesticity and notions of home using mops, laundry, and other domestic props in beautiful and unexpected ways.”

During the residency, the artists will be conducting workshops and visiting classes, including professor Regina Hansen’s Rhetoric class in the College of General Studies. Hansen says “One of the goals of the Rhetoric course is to think critically about terms and concepts we take for granted, terms such as beauty, monster, city, and in this case ‘home.’ How we interpret and express supposedly simple concepts contributes to the arguments we make about ourselves, our beliefs our understanding of the world. And not all such rhetoric takes place in the form of an essay.  To see the concept of home expressed and interrogated through sound and movement will
be of great value to my students.”

The Boston University Arts Initiative in the Office of the Provost was created in the fall of 2012 to ensure that the arts are a vital component of the student experience at Boston University by working to deepen the presence and impact of the arts in the academic life of the university. Our programming reflects interdisciplinary, global, and urban nature of Boston University.

The presentation of 2125 Stanley Street is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

More information on 2125 Stanley Street at Boston University including artist biographies is available at Press photos can also be made available.

BU-Wheelock Merger Will Create New College

October 11th, 2017in News Releases


CONTACT: Rachel Lapal,

The merger of Boston University and Wheelock College will create a new school of education that will combine the doctoral programs and research capabilities of BU’s School of Education with the early childhood expertise of Wheelock’s School of Education, Child Life and Family Studies, while other Wheelock programs will be joined with appropriate programs at BU. The new college will be called the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development (WCEHD), according to a definitive agreement reached by the parties.

In a letter sent to the BU community this morning, BU President Robert A. Brown says he is pleased that the two schools have reached agreement on the merger. “We believe that BU’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development will be one of the leading colleges of education in the country, with its focus on clinical practice, scholarship, and community engagement,” Brown says. “The commitment to establish and support this new college will, I believe, appropriately preserve and enhance the great legacy of Wheelock College.”

Wheelock and BU will immediately form a Transition Committee charged with advising Jean Morrison, BU provost, on the academic programs that will be offered by the new college. The committee will be chaired by David Chard, Wheelock president, and vice-chaired by Catherine O’Connor, interim dean of BU’s School of Education, and will include four faculty members from Wheelock and four from the BU School of Education. In addition to this committee, Wheelock and BU will put in place a transition implementation structure to ensure that the integration of Wheelock and BU proceeds smoothly and includes input from stakeholders at both institutions.

The merger, which is scheduled to take place on June 1, 2018, gives BU ownership of all assets and liabilities of Wheelock College, and combines Wheelock’s School of Education, Child Life and Family Studies with BU’s School of Education, establishing a single school, BU’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development (WCEHD), which will be a centrally budgeted academic unit of Boston University, managed by University leadership and governed by BU’s Board of Trustees. The plan calls for Chard to serve as interim dean of WCEHD from the time of the merger to July 1, 2020, and to report to Morrison. The parties have agreed that immediately following the merger, the Wheelock campus will be used for Boston University academic programs.

“There is a great deal of work to be done,” says Brown. “That work will include some difficult decisions about the scope and organization of the combined college and the integration of other programs of Wheelock College into Boston University; however, we are confident that the results will be worth the effort. Our goal is to treat the Wheelock College students who join us in the fall of 2018 and all Wheelock College alumni as part of the Boston University family.”

Students currently enrolled at Wheelock will either become students in existing programs at Boston University, will continue in select Wheelock programs that will be newly incorporated into Boston University, or in some cases, will enroll in a transitional program that will allow them to complete their Wheelock course of study.

Boston University will honor the tuition rates and financial aid packages of current Wheelock students. They will not have to pay BU rates, although their tuition may increase with inflation.

All applicants seeking admission to WCEHD after the merger has been completed will be evaluated in accordance with Boston University admissions requirements, and BU’s tuition, financial aid strategies, and scholarship funds will apply to those students. WCEHD students will be part of BU’s student body, will complete the same general education program, and will have access to the same educational and cocurricular opportunities as other BU students. Requirements for graduate students, including academic and admissions standards and financial aid strategies, will be developed by BU’s Office of the Provost. Alumni of Wheelock College will be treated as alumni of WCEHD and Boston University.

Morrison says BU and Wheelock have agreed on a process for determining the titles and responsibilities that will be assumed by currently tenured Wheelock faculty at BU. She says decisions about nontenured faculty will be made on a case-by-case basis and will depend on the needs of relevant academic units at BU.

BU and Wheelock have agreed that administrative and operational functions of Wheelock will be merged with corresponding units at BU, and the University will offer Wheelock staff appropriate positions where it is practical to do so.

The endowment of Wheelock College will be integrated into that of Boston University and will be managed by the University’s investment office. Income from Wheelock’s endowment will be dedicated to support the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development. All donor restrictions will be honored, and unrestricted funds will also go to support of WCEHD.

Administrators from both schools see the pending merger as beneficial to the two institutions with deep and long-standing commitments to public education in the city of Boston.

“The combination of the programs of the two schools and the additional resources we plan to deploy gives Boston University the opportunity to commit with renewed energy to our long-standing efforts to promote quality early childhood and K-12 education,” says Brown. “That is the foundation for the prosperity and stability of our city and the nation.”

“It’s a very good match,” says Chard, who taught at BU’s School of Education from 1995 to 1997 and was dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University from 2007 to 2016. “In addition to the proximity of our campuses, the schools were similar and complementary. Boston University and Wheelock both have a historical focus on the city, and they both have a desire to double down on efforts to support the institutions that are most important to the city: its public schools and social services.”

Chard says the merger will create an institution with the resources to bring much needed innovation to public education. “Wheelock really hasn’t had the resources to focus on innovation,” he says. “And this is a time when more of the same in education is not going to get us where we need to be. Education needs new and effective ideas, and this merger will give us an opportunity to be more innovative.”

The Wheelock president says he also sees an opportunity for BU to reenergize some legacies of its School of Education, such as its historical focus on special education, while enhancing its focus on college access.

BU administrators see similar benefits. They point out that BU’s School of Education excels in clinical education, doctoral education, and research, while Wheelock, which also has a strong presence in clinical education, excels in early childhood education and continuing teacher education.

Morrison has high praise for Wheelock’s Field Education program, which places students in schools, hospitals, and nonprofit agencies, guaranteeing that all graduates have hands-on real-world experience, and also for its partnerships that send students into classrooms in Brookline and Boston and provide support for the school districts’ commitments to improve literacy in multilingual urban schools.

“Programs like those are consistent with BU’s goals and perspectives,” she says. “Bringing our schools together gives us an opportunity to create a strong, nationally recognized school of education with a local footprint with Boston Public Schools. That’s important to us.”

For Wheelock, the merger stands to invigorate a venerable Boston institution whose future was imperiled by the same recent economic developments that plague many small private colleges. Moody’s Investor Services has reported that almost one third of all colleges with fewer than 3,000 students lost money in 2016, up from 20 percent three years earlier.

Founded in 1888 with the goal of educating the children of immigrants, Wheelock’s current three schools—the School of Education, Child Life and Family Studies, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Social Work, Leadership, and Youth Advocacy—had a total of 1,157 students in 2016, a drop of 39 percent from a decade earlier. Financial statements show losses in 2015 and 2016 and project a fiscal year 2018 loss of $6 million on an operating budget of about $30 million.

“The challenge,” says Chard, “is that small schools like Wheelock have to be all that larger schools are. We have to have all of the same components, but in the past five years the costs of those components have gone up significantly relative to our net tuition.” Merging with a larger school, he says, provides critical cost savings on increasingly expensive central services.

In May, the college decided to put its president’s house and one of its residence halls on the market. At the same time, it solicited proposals for mergers from 60 institutions of higher learning across the country. Of the six who responded, Chard says, BU was the best fit, not only for Wheelock, but for education in the city of Boston.