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Memorial Service for John R. Silber November 29

BU president emeritus will be remembered at GSU


A memorial service for John R. Silber (Hon.’95), Boston University president emeritus and former chancellor, will be held Thursday, November 29, at 3 p.m. in the George Sherman Union Metcalf Ballroom. Silber died September 27 at age 86.

As BU’s seventh president, Silber led the University’s transformation from a commuter school to a renowned research institution. He served as president from 1971 to 1996, when he became University chancellor, a position he held until 2003. Silber also was a College of Arts & Sciences professor of philosophy and of international relations, a University Professor, and a School of Law professor of law.

During his tenure at BU—which coincided, for a time, with his unsuccessful 1990 run for governor of Massachusetts—Silber greatly expanded the campus, recruited top-notch faculty, and established the University’s long-running partnership with the Chelsea Public School system, which began in 1988 and continued for 20 years. The University he served for so long awarded him an honorary degree at the 1995 Commencement.

The memorial service on November 29 will include a remembrance by Vartan Gregorian, the former president of the New York Public Library and Brown University, now president of the Carnegie Corporation, who was a BU trustee from 1976 to 1989, when he was made an honorary trustee for life, as well as video remembrances by former secretary of state Henry Kissinger (Hon.’99)—Silber served on the President’s National Bipartisan Commission on Central America (known as the Kissinger Commission)—and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel (Hon.’74), the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, whom Silber brought to BU more than three decades ago.

Those wishing to attend the memorial service are encouraged to register in advance because of limited space.

Donations in Silber’s memory may be made to BU’s Opera Institute, care of Director of Gifts & Records, 595 Commonwealth Ave., Suite 700, West Entrance, Boston, MA 02215.

The John R. Silber Memorial Celebration will be held Thursday, November 29, at 3 p.m. in the George Sherman Union Metcalf Ballroom. It is open to the public. RSVP here.


4 Comments on Memorial Service for John R. Silber November 29

  • Hillary on 11.15.2012 at 6:00 am

    I learned an important lesson about life and paper trails as an undergrad at BU while watching John field questions from students. When a student wrapped an allegation within a question about John’s decision to invest endowment funds in Seragen, John responded “Do you have any evidence of this to support this allegation?”. When the student replied that he did not John simply said, “Next question please”. John played hard ball. When you play hard ball even if you are the best you sometimes strike out. People forget that Babe Ruth struck out quite often but everyone remembers his home runs. As an adult every day of your life is a game of hard ball which you must play to win. In that one instance John taught me not only how to play hard ball for the rest of my life but also how to protect myself from controversy and further injury by keeping a good paper trail. Thanks John, wish you were still in the game!

  • Michael Kim on 11.17.2012 at 10:36 pm

    Mr. Silber was all hands on, while President, he also taught. I never took his classes. But as an undergrad, I would not trade my experience with any other school. I majored in Economics. To which laid my foundation on a successful hedge fund company based in Boston. He told us as freshman, don’t just take from society, give back immensely. I truly respect his man and loved his book “Straight Shooting” by John Silber. He will always be in my family’s memories. ’88

  • Prof. Donald F. Megnin, PhD on 11.29.2012 at 8:44 am

    He was not only well informed, but greatly admired by students and faculty in the School of Theology as the successor President to Dr. Case.

  • Gene F. Dalton on 05.23.2014 at 4:28 pm

    Dr. Silber was my friend and mentor for over twenty five years. When I was in my 30s I had a couple of extremely tragic, painful and horrific incidents. I was a complete stranger to Dr. Silber. Thank God he took the time to meet me, helped me out of my nightmare. He was not done. He pushed me hard to attend college. We argued. I lost. I went to college, the first and only one of a large family, had another career in community correction, returned to BU for another degree. I am back again and have worked here for fifteen years. I will never forget when John Silber and his Provost John Westling took turns correcting my very first paper. I was heart broken as I walked down Bay State Rd. with my paper dripping of red magic marker. This was not the first or last time my friend and mentor took time out of his busy schedule to help me and many others like me. Thank you Dr. Silber.

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