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Alumni Weekend 2016: event for entire BU community

Just what is in that dirty water? Alumni will find out this weekend—without getting wet. The College of Arts & Sciences earth and environment department is giving them the chance to analyze samples of water scooped from the Charles River at a daylong inside look into its climate change research during Alumni Weekend 2016. The event, called Alumni College, takes place today, September 30, and features small-group discussions and behind-the-scenes lab tours led by BU experts: alums will climb to the CAS rooftop science labs (with their stunning, little-seen views of Boston) and get a virtual experience of Antarctica in BU’s Experimental Permafrost Laboratory. No expertise is required.

Alumni College is one of more than 100 events during Alumni Weekend, which runs through Saturday, October 1. Plenty are educational—a lecture on elections that changed America, a School of Law–led tour of the Museum of Fine Arts, and an exhibition on the late Elie Wiesel (Hon.’74), BU’s Andrew W. Mellon Professor Emeritus in the Humanities and a Nobel laureate, who died in July. But many are not: film screenings and art exhibitions, soccer and hockey games, boat cruises and Duck tours, and receptions and networking. There are also special gatherings for both Golden Terriers (Go, Class of 1966) and recent grads.

Toy terrier with sunglasses on

Alumni Weekend 2016 features more than 130 events, including lectures, receptions, film screenings, art exhibitions, and soccer and hockey games. Photo by Michael D. Spencer

Susan L. Richardson, director of alumni relations, always looks forward to welcoming alumni back to campus. “With over 130 programs and events,” she says, “we hope there is something for everyone to enjoy, in addition to seeing all of the new and exciting changes at BU.”

Most events are open to the entire BU community; faculty, staff, and students should check individual listings for any restrictions and ticket details.

Best of BU

Three alums will receive the University’s highest honor, a Distinguished Alumni Award, at the Best of BU Luncheon on Saturday. Awards will be presented to: Bonnie Arnold (COM’78), an accomplished filmmaker and copresident of feature animation at DreamWorks; Gil Caldwell (STH’58), a veteran civil rights campaigner who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59); and Ruth A. MacFarlane Hunter (ENG’64, Questrom’86), a multidisciplinary engineer who focuses on safety projects for the Federal Aviation Administration. After collecting his award, Caldwell will join Kenneth Elmore (SED’87), associate provost and dean of students, and new BU overseer Lisa Wong (CAS’00, GRS’00), former mayor of Fitchburg, Mass., for a panel discussion on race relations.

  1. Repeatedly wonder, “Has it really been [insert number that still surprises you] years since I left?”
  2. Clash glasses, dunk a pretzel in cheese sauce, and shout “Prost!” in the BU Pub’s German biergarten.
  3. Get your scarlet and white on for the Terrier pregame cookout and men’s hockey exhibition game against the Atlantic Conference’s University of Prince Edward Island Panthers.
  4. Get lost. “I swear, the Armory used to be right here.”
  5. Keep telling your kids, “It could be you.” Lots of events are family friendly—including a night at Fenway Park—so you can drop plenty of hints about them following in your footsteps.
  6. Class of 1966? This is your year. Pin on that Golden Terrier badge.
  7. Show ’em you’ve still got it. FitRec is free for the weekend—just show your program at the door.
  8. Experience Antarctica in BU’s Experimental Permafrost Laboratory during Alumni College @ Alumni Weekend. You won’t shiver—it’s virtual.
  9. Feel the pride. You’re in good company: DreamWorks executive Bonnie Arnold (COM’78), civil rights pioneer Gil Caldwell (STH’58), and multidisciplinary engineer Ruth A. MacFarlane Hunter (ENG’64, Questrom’86) are all getting Distinguished Alumni Awards.
  10. If (or even if not) you’d give anything to be 18 and in class again, then pretend to be 18 and go to a class again. Pick from a lecture on elections, a School of Law–led Museum of Fine Arts tour, and a dozen more educational programs.

Photo by Michael D. Spencer

Individual schools and colleges will also honor their alumni. At the College of Fine Arts, awards will be presented on Friday evening to opera and theater producer Beth Morrison (CFA’94), graphic novelist Joel Christian Gill (CFA’04), and The Fosters cocreator Peter Paige (CFA’91). Emmy-winning actor Michael Chiklis (CFA’85) will host the ceremony. On Saturday evening, CFA will lead a special tribute to the late Phyllis Curtin, who, following a stage career as a soprano, was CFA dean (then dean emerita) and founder of the School of Music Opera Institute. Phyllis Hoffman, a CFA professor and chair of the voice department, says the evening’s program and reception at the Tsai Performance Center will be a chance to mourn Curtin’s June 2016 passing and celebrate her legacy. “Phyllis Curtin touched countless lives through her performances as an opera star and recitalist, champion of living composers, and her teaching, both at Tanglewood [Music Center] and at BU during her deanship,” says Hoffman (CFA’61,’67).

Every year, BU applauds its Golden Terriers. Events for those who graduated 50 or more years ago include a riverboat cruise and a special luncheon on Friday to welcome the Class of 1966 into the ranks of Golden Terriers.

Younger alums get some special treatment, too, with BU offering an expanded range of events exclusively for those who graduated within the last 10 years. The BU Pub—which will be transformed into a German biergarten for the weekend—will host a recent-grads-only gathering today from 4 to 7 p.m.

Let’s go, Terriers

The marquee athletics event of the weekend comes on Saturday with a men’s ice hockey exhibition game against the Atlantic Conference’s University of Prince Edward Island Panthers. The pregame cookout, which starts at 4:30 p.m. on the lawn at 10 Buick Street (behind FitRec), will have food and live music by the James Montgomery Band, led by Montgomery (DGE’69, CAS’71).

“Hockey is one of those things here at BU that people really rally around and get excited about,” says Melissa A. Stuart, associate director of alumni programs and events. “There will be a really fun atmosphere.”

A complete list of Alumni Weekend events is here. The site also has tips for planning your trip, from how to use FitRec facilities for free to where to park. There will be a registration desk on Marsh Plaza all weekend, but some events do have limited space, so registering online in advance is recommended.

Andrew Thurston can be reached at thurston@bu.edu.

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