Alums Return as Winners
Five achievers honored with BU’s annual Alumni Awards
Three alumni — including J.Crew CEO Millard Drexler — were the recipients on Friday, January 19, of the University’s highest honor: the BU Alumni Award. At the same event, two Young Alumni Awards were given. The honors were presented by Steve Karbank (CAS’79), first vice president of the Boston University Alumni Council, during the annual Alumni Awards Dinner and Ceremony.
President Robert Brown told the audience that he was struck by the accomplishments of the award recipients, adding that their “achievements say something about the impressive quality of education we hope you received here. The honorees reflect the University’s highest ideals: creativity, innovation, leadership, service, and academic accomplishment.”
Philip S. Beck (LAW’76)
A magna cum laude graduate of the
“For savvy observers and the rest of us,” his citations reads, “you were clearly the best of the best, cross-examining all Gore witnesses with a deceptively casual, Midwestern demeanor that, as the New York Times observed, ‘made the Gore legal team sound like . . . the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Hell’s Angels.’”
“Those of us who were privileged to attend the law school really got to learn their craft from genuinely dedicated professors, one of whom was my mentor and is here tonight, Bill Ryckman,” Beck said at the ceremony. “Professor Ryckman and his colleagues over the years have been teaching law students how to think critically, how to think in disciplined ways, how to argue their positions persuasively, and how to do so forthrightly.”
Millard Drexler (GSM’68)
Millard “Mickey” Drexler started his career at Bloomingdale’s, moving on to engineer a turnaround at Ann Taylor, where he was president and CEO from 1980 to 1983. He then spent 18 years at Gap, Inc., and was named president in 1987 and CEO in 1995. In that time, company sales grew from $400 million to $14 billion. Drexler became chairman, CEO, and an investor of J.Crew Group, Inc., in January 2003. Within three years he and his team
took the company public and recently announced two new J.Crew Group companies: crewcuts, a children’s collection, and Madewell, for women.
“Exuberant, demanding, passionate, you oversee every detail, down to catalog copy, fabric-care labels, and store background music,” according to his award citation. “The consummate shopkeeper, you are leading J.Crew back to market leadership by giving customers what they want: the fun of good fashion.”
“I think the things that changed my life here,” Drexler told the audience, “were getting exposed to business, feeling comfortable in the city of Boston, meeting my wife, and getting a job in retail” through the school, which proved to be the springboard to the rest of his career.
Carl A. Olsson (MED’63)
In 1969 Carl Olsson became an assistant professor of urology at the
“A pioneering surgeon and researcher, you have enriched medical knowledge with nearly 300 publications and leadership work on significant discoveries, particularly in developing the blood test predictive of prostate cancer, which often eliminates the use of surgery as the primary treatment,” according to his citation.
“I really do owe everything to
Young Alumni Awards
Jenny Gruber (ENG’99)
Having graduated from the College of Engineering’s dual-degree bachelor and master of science program in aerospace engineering in 1999, Jenny Gruber went on to the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, earning a Doctor of Philosophy in engineering science in 2002. While at
“Thirteen years ago, I was a 17-year-old living in a trailer park in
Morris DeRhon Robinson (CFA’01)
As a child, Morris Robinson sang with the Atlanta Boy Choir. When he was 10 he convinced his parents to let him give up his music lessons to play football, but he remained serious about both the sport and his singing through college. He earned a B.A. at The Citadel in 1991, where he was twice a Kodak All-American, took a job in sales for 3M Technologies, and continued singing. In 1999 he won a full scholarship to
Robinson noted that when he was singing in a show in
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