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Perkins winners honored tonight

Beverly Keniston, Michelle Duffy, and Andrew Burke recognized for service


Beverly Keniston

After more than 10 years as director of the University’s Laboratory Animal Care Facility, Beverly Keniston has a widespread reputation for not passing the buck. “She’s a problem solver,” says Elizabeth Godrick, a College of Arts and Sciences biology professor, who nominated Keniston for one of this year’s John S. Perkins Distinguished Service Awards. The facility director is one of three recipients of the award; they will be honored today at 5:30 p.m. in the Metcalf Trustee Center, One Sherborn St., with a plaque and a $500 prize.

Each year, the Faculty Council chooses three Boston University employees who are not faculty to receive the Perkins Award, which was created to honor “members of the Boston University family who have served the University with great distinction and who have made important contributions toward the goals of Boston University.” This year’s winners are Keniston, Michelle Duffy, director of academic services at CAS, and Andrew Burke, administrative clinical facilities manager at the Goldman School of Dental Medicine.


Those who nominated Keniston say that her strengths include the ability to “adhere to rules and regulations without being a nitpicker.” Another nominater writes, “She understands the laws without getting bogged down in the minutiae of the bureaucrats.” Godrick says that since Keniston arrived, problems such as escaped boa constrictors terrorizing the lab’s secretaries are nightmares from the past. “If you need something done, she’ll calmly figure out how to do it,” Godrick says, “and she doesn’t make excuses or false promises.”


Michelle Duffy

Michelle Duffy, director of academic services at CAS, has been described as a  “responsibility sponge” — she will soak up any unclaimed tasks and projects in her immediate vicinity, say nominators. But she also builds her own tasks. It was Duffy, according to nominators, who created the Academic Standards Review and the Academic Success Plan, two programs that identify students headed for academic trouble so they can be rescued before it’s too late.


Glen Zamansky, assistant dean for premedical studies and an associate professor of microbiology, has been a colleague of Duffy’s for nearly 10 years. He says any interaction with her is bound to be productive. “If the information I need is not available,” says Zamansky, “she always gets it for me in a timely manner, and I’m confident that she makes sure our students are equally well served.”

For the last 6 of his 25 years of service to Boston University, Andrew Burke has been responsible for the physical plant of all eight buildings at the School of Dental Medicine.  Burke developed and now enforces preventive maintenance schedules for all the school’s equipment, and he supervises a team of technicians who keep the equipment in top shape. The facilities manager also served on the design and construction team for the school’s $2.6 million simulated learning center project.  


Andrew Burke

“His dedication to detail during that crucial evolution was invaluable to our ultimate success,” says one letter of nomination. “Andy is the go-to person when the impossible needs to be possible.” Another admirer writes simply, “He personifies the ideals of John S. Perkins.”


Perkins (GSM’36) was a professor of management, University treasurer, and a trustee and an honorary trustee. He left his position as vice president of William Filene’s & Sons Company in 1974 to become BU’s treasurer, working at the University until 1981. Perkins was a lifetime member of the BU Friends of the Libraries, served on the trustee council at the Medical Center, and endowed the John S. Perkins Distinguished Service Award.