• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Rich Barlow

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 13 comments on Pursuing Human Progress, Frederick Pardee Gives $7 Million

  1. Wonderful news. I trust the Humanities will play a role in the Center’s vision.
    And let’s not just talk about the “human condition” – a 1950s term – but “the human situation.” Birth and Death are not the same everywhere. Being born in poverty is quite different than being born into wealth; dying impoverished and alone is different from dying surrounded by loving families and the comforts of a stable home.

    1. Pardee was a RAND man; there, they seem to think there that quantitative research is the key to predicting of the longer-range future. I would submit that to understand the deeper movements of history, perform holistic analyses, and engage in truly sound policymaking takes more than big data; it is a way of seeing the world informed by the humanities.
      I’ve been a candidate for Pardee fellowships three times with projects on international ethics and judgment and have to say, they do not seem to be receptive to that way of seeing the world, at least as I’ve articulated it. Too enamored by a narrow scientific (environmental) definitions of sustainability to appreciate that human ecology comprehends politics (even if politics does not comprehend ecology).

      1. Those involved in the efforts at the Pardee Center are not at all ignoring humanities-based perspectives. The question is how to best incorporate them. By the way, politics is part of the set of dynamics that are about human behavior and decision-making. This is absolutely core to our environmental future, so it is difficult to see the environmental definition of sustainability as narrow. Since our material needs are met exclusively by nature, what other definition is there? Culture and governance are are essential to the crafting of durable lifestyles, but it is still all about how people and society learn to sit gently in the cradle of natural systems.

    1. You know that alumni campaign donations don’t impact tuition, right? They have little if anything to do with each other.

      If you’d read the article rather than jumping right to the comments section to sing your cliche refrain, you would have realized that Pardee’s donation goes to furthering his center and global education.

      1. Actually you are a bit off. The $1 Billion dollar does impact tuition for current students in that a portion of it has been ear marked for Financial Aid and student support (Specifically: $150 million of $1 billion the campaign seeks to raise is for student support).

  2. Mr. Pardee has truly been a great benefactor to BU. It’s not just his generosity though. His vision for the Pardee Center has helped to support many research initiatives that contribute to problem-oriented knowledge and support informed policymaking. Thank you, Mr. Pardee!

  3. This is fantastic news. The Pardee lectures and seminars were hugely inspiring and educational during my time at BU. They played a big role in the work I did through Net Impact and sustainability @ BU, which is probably my most cherished contribution and takeaway from my time at BU.

    However, I truly appreciate that those were all team efforts and required support from many parties. Mr. Pardee’s contributions deserve immense thanks.

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