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Campus Life

President Brown promises grads he’ll “take BU public”

Inaugural Boston alumni event draws more than 600

At his first major alumni event in Boston, University President Robert Brown told the more than 600 people assembled at the Fairmont Copley Hotel what he did on his summer vacation.

Since being named BU’s tenth president in June, he said, “I have spent my time walking around the BU community learning about programs, about people, about our students, and learning about our aspirations for the future. My summary is pretty simple: I think BU is a hidden jewel in Boston, and one of the first orders of business that I have is to take Boston University public.”

The University, he reminded the audience, has become an academic powerhouse, a major research institution, one of the premier residential campuses in the city, and a center of urban outreach programs that help all of Boston. “You should, as the alumni, feel incredibly proud of what has happened at the University, in terms of the quality of the school,” he said, citing the rising SAT scores among applicants, the millions in research funding brought to campus, and the University’s continued involvement in the Chelsea, Mass., public school system.

While the University has changed substantially in recent years, he said, offering a wealth of new facilities for housing and research, alumni should not feel any less of a connection to the institution. “You made an investment when you entered Boston University, and it has two paybacks,” he said. “One was the education you received and what you did with it, and the other is the brand and the alumni association itself. And from that perspective, you can say proudly that the University is a better place.”

Many attendees expressed optimism about BU’s future in light of Brown’s selection as president following almost two years of uncertainty regarding BU’s top post.

“It feels like BU has become more settled recently, and is in a position to push forward, now that one person clearly is in charge,” said David Cohen (COM’05), who works for a Cambridge, Mass., public relations firm and was attending his first alumni event.

Arthur Singer (SMG’60, COM’61), who worked for many years in public radio management and attends many School of Management alumni events, described the collective mood among alumni upon meeting Brown as “relieved.” The University community “is open to new leadership, and considers this a time of great opportunity for BU.”