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Celebrations on Tap for BU Alumni Weekend

5,000 expected on campus for annual event


BU alums and their families and friends will have much to celebrate this year at Alumni Weekend: the 60th anniversary of the College of General Studies, the 60th anniversary of the first graduating class of the now-closed School of Nursing, the classmates who will receive alumni awards, and the dedication of the new School of Medicine student residence.

But the biggest celebration of Alumni Weekend, which begins today and runs through Sunday, will take place tomorrow, Saturday, September 22, in Agganis Arena: the public launch of the Campaign for Boston University, BU’s first comprehensive fundraising effort. The campaign aims to raise $1 billion for financial aid, faculty support, research, and facility improvements. Saturday night’s event, called the Celebration of BU, will feature performances by the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra and by BU student groups and appearances by celebrities such as Andy Cohen (COM’90), Bravo TV executive vice president of development and talent and host and executive producer of Watch What Happens Live.

Boston University BU Alumni Weekend, Black Alumni Welcome Reception

Yolanda Hamilton (SHA’10) (left) and Sarah Fadika (CAS’10) at the Black Alumni Welcome Reception during Alumni Weekend 2011. Photo by Cydney Scott

“Most universities with BU’s history and quality are in their 4th or 5th—or 10th—campaign,” says Steven Hall, vice president for alumni relations. “It really is an unprecedented opportunity for us to tell alumni and friends how important their participation is to continuing and expanding BU’s impact on the world.”

More than 5,000 people are expected to attend Alumni Weekend this year, up from last year’s 4,000, says Susan Richardson, director of alumni programs and events. All events are open to faculty and staff; students are invited to attend panel discussions, faith services, and the Celebration of BU. “This is truly a community event, bringing together alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends from across campus and the world,” she says.

Boston University BU Alumni Weekend, Jazz Brunch

Jatin Bhagat (CAS’08) (from left), Andrea McIsaac (CAS’09), and Sarah Hunter (CAS’09) at the Jazz Brunch during Alumni Weekend 2011. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

In addition to receptions, luncheons, and school and college reunions, events include a brunch celebrating the CGS anniversary, A Taste of BU lunch featuring New England foods (clam chowder, whoopie pies from Maine), a wine and cheese reception, a champagne tasting with wine experts from Metropolitan College, a special breakfast for Golden Terriers (those who graduated from Boston University 50 or more years ago), and an invitation-only “Best of BU” reception for distinguished alums, including past University Alumni Award recipients, current and former BU Alumni Council members, Annual Fund Leadership Giving Society members, SON alums, and Golden Terriers.

In addition, three panel discussions, on the presidential campaign and current events, will take place on Saturday in the Photonics Center:

  • A World in Flux: The Past and Future of U.S.-Pakistan Relations, at 10:30 a.m. in Room 210, will feature Husain Haqqani, a College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of international relations and former Pakistan ambassador to the United States, and Erik Goldstein, a CAS professor of international relations.
  • Critical Choices: Issues on the Desk of the Oval Office will take place at the same time in Room 206. The panel, which will examine the progress of the 2012 presidential election and the social and policy issues that will land on the president’s desk at the beginning of his term, includes four CAS political science faculty members: Professor Graham Wilson, department chair, Associate Professor Douglas Kriner, Assistant Professor Katherine Levine Einstein, and Professor Neta Crawford.
  • Presidential Campaign Politics: Then and Now, at 2:30 p.m. in Room 206, will feature three former producers of nightly network news broadcasts: Ed Fouhy (COM’59), founding director of the Pew Center for Civic Journalism and a reporter, producer, and news executive for more than 25 years; William Wheatley (COM’70), a journalism consultant, an adjunct professor of journalism at Columbia University, and a former executive vice president of NBC News; and William Lord (DGE’57, COM’59), a retired College of Communication professor of journalism, former executive producer of Good Morning America, Nightline with Ted Koppel, World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, and ABCNews InterActive, and former vice president of ABC News. The conversation will be moderated by Erica Hill (COM’98), former cohost of CBS This Morning, now a special correspondent with the network.
BU Alumni Weekend Welcome Tent, Marsh Plaza

Alumni network coordinators make a new friend at the BU Alumni Weekend welcome tent last year. Photo by Vernon Doucette

“Alumni Weekend is a chance not only to socialize and celebrate, but to reengage with the intellectual capital of the University,” says Shadi Daher (SDM’90,’94), president of the BU Alumni Alumni Council. “From presidential politics—past and present—to health issues such as head injury in sports, there are opportunities to learn about and discuss important issues. There really is something for everyone.”

A breakfast and campus tours for SON alums will be held on Saturday. The University closed the school in 1988.

“There are more than 7,500 nursing alumni who are making a difference in the world and who still care about Boston University,” says Daher. “They will always be BU alumni, and we want them engaged with the University and the BU alumni community in general.”

Hall agrees. “The nursing alumni I’ve met over the last few years have impressed me with two things,” he says. “Yes, they’re upset that BU closed the school, but they’re more hurt that they didn’t feel the University wanted them engaged as alumni. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our School of Nursing alumni are leaders in their profession and have great appreciation for the education they received. I don’t think the University ever intended to close the door on these alumni, but this is a step to make sure they know the door is wide open and we need them just like we need all other alumni.”

Daher says he hopes Alumni Weekend will “rekindle some old embers and start some new fires.” Alumni Weekend is about memories, he says. “It’s my hope that those embers flame a new desire to be a part of something really special. I hope that the energy and optimism of the campus, which will be magnified by the influx of the alumni and friends, is contagious and leaves everyone involved with a deep pride and satisfaction at what Boston University is today.”

A full schedule of Alumni Weekend activities is here.

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Cynthia K. Buccini, Managing Editor, Bostonia alumni magazine, Boston University BU
Cindy Buccini

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

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