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Winterfest Warms Up the Campus

Weekend activities highlighted by Robert Altman appreciation

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UH-Winterfest09.jpg

Julia Abrams (CAS’08) (left) and Aya Pothwell (COM’07) create an ice sculpture during Winterfest 2009. This year’s event starts on Friday, January 22. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

A program packed with events, including a panel celebrating the late film director Robert Altman and featuring actors Elliott Gould, Sally Kellerman, and Michael Murphy, is on tap for Winterfest 2010 this weekend.

Winterfest, an annual event that draws hundreds of alumni back to campus, will take place on Friday, January 22, and Saturday, January 23. The weekend will also feature an alumni evening with the Huntington Theatre Company, Alumni College classes, ice sculpting, children’s activities, a wine and chocolate tasting, a Terrier tailgate party, and a men’s ice hockey game.

Meg Umlas, executive director of alumni relations, says 700 to 800 alumni and their families and guests, as well as parents of current students and friends, are expected to attend. “The entire BU community is invited and encouraged to join us,” she says.

Online registration will close on Wednesday, January 20. Umlas says the Alumni Office will take registrations by phone, at 617-353-5261, until Friday, January 22, but that the office prefers that participants register online.

The panel, Robert Altman: Celebration of an American Icon, will take place Friday, January 22, at 5:30 p.m. at the Tsai Performance Center. Sponsored by the College of Communication and the BU Alumni Association, the event will mark the 40th anniversary of Altman’s film M*A*S*H and the publication of the book Robert Altman: the Oral Biography by Mitchell Zuckoff, a COM professor of journalism. In addition to Gould, Kellerman, and Murphy, the panelists will include Zuckoff, Altman’s wife, Kathryn Altman, film critic Ty Burr, and Paul Schneider, an associate professor and chair of COM’s film and television department. The discussion will be followed by a screening of M*A*S*H and a wrap party. Admission is $10, free for students.

Winterfest participants can also take in the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of Arthur Miller’s Tony Award–winning play All My Sons, on Friday at 8 p.m. at the BU Theatre Mainstage.

On Saturday, several Alumni College classes are offered. In the morning, participants can get a workout in the Zumba class. Those who prefer more sedentary pursuits can explore physics principles in the film King Kong in the class Cinema Physica: King Kong, led by Andrew Cohen, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of physics.

Later in the morning, Cooking Up Culture: Lombardy Classics will teach kids the cooking techniques and cultural significance of the classic dishes of Lombardy, Italy.

Christopher Nowinski, codirector of BU’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, will discuss sports concussions and what researchers are finding inside the brains of former athletes. Nowinski, a lineman in college and former WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) wrestler, suffered concussions and some bad head blows over the years. The author of Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis from the NFL to Youth Leagues, he’s been treated for depression, headaches, and memory trouble. Research at the center has led to changes in NFL policy regarding how concussions are handled in professional football.

In the afternoon, participants can enjoy three culturally diverse student dance groups or hear expert panelists discuss the training, psychology, and nutrition of elite athletes. The panel will feature Thomas Bohrer, men’s crew coach and a former Olympic rower; Len Zaichkowsky, BU’s director of sports psychology training and a professor of counseling psychology at the School of Education and at the School of Medicine, and Stacey Zawacki, director of the Nutrition and Fitness Center at Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences.

At 3 p.m., R. Curtis Ellison, a School of Medicine professor of medicine and public health, will lead Taste the Benefits: Wine & Chocolate, at StuVi2. Ellison, director of MED’s Institute on Lifestyle and Health, has done research on the “French Paradox” — the low rates of coronary heart disease among the French despite their high-fat diet and other risk factors. The answer may lie in the regular consumption of wine.

A Terrier tailgate party will take place at 5 p.m. in the upper-level gymnasium at the Fitness and Recreation Center. The 2009 NCAA Champion ice hockey Terriers will take on the University of New Hampshire Wildcats at 7 p.m. at Agganis Arena.

“We hope our guests enjoy a full, family-friendly weekend of activity, experience a sampling of our faculty stars, our beautiful campus facilities, and enjoy the company of each other,” says Umlas.

Winterfest is Friday, January 22, and Saturday, January 23. More information is available here. To register, call 617-353-5261.

Cynthia K. Buccini can be reached at cbuccini@bu.edu.

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