Feedback: Readers Weigh In on a Changing BU, the Legacy of Travis Roy, the Health Effects of Alcohol, and More
A New BU
The most recent issue of Bostonia (Winter–Spring 2021), which included articles on the University’s Queer Activist Collective (“Rising Up”), antiracism efforts at the School of Law (“New Trustee Committee Accelerates Work to Eliminate Systemic Racism”), and some exceptional efforts to foster inclusivity at the School of Theology (“New STH Dean Is a Scholar, an Advocate of Inclusiveness”), makes BU look nothing like the institution I attended in the early 1980s. I mean that in an entirely positive way.
Mark Aurigemma (COM’84)
Los Angeles, Calif.
I was so pleased as I read through the latest edition of the magazine to note the concentrated focus on racial equity and antiracism. From the Center for Antiracist Research to the endowed law professorship to a trustee committee focused on DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion], BU has come a long way since my time at the School of Law in the mid-1980s. At that time, the mention of “public interest” often brought blank stares or “nice, but wouldn’t you rather interview with a corporate law firm?”
I look forward to learning from and about the work these initiatives represent, and to their contribution to a more inclusive and equitable society, and hope that they live up to the promise they hold for actions, policies, and laws that help us get there.
Scott Cotenoff (LAW’87)
Walnut Creek, Calif.
BU is a hockey powerhouse, having won NCAA national championships and more Beanpot tournaments than any other school. So many that the Beanpot became known as the “BU tournament.” With the death of Travis Roy (“Travis Roy, Hockey Player Paralyzed in 1995, Dies at 45,” Fall 2020), I am reminded of the exceptional individuals, both on and off the ice, who have played hockey at BU.
When Herb Brooks put together the 1980 Olympic squad, he stocked it with a number of BU standouts. Key among them was Mike Eruzione (Wheelock’77). Whenever I watch Miracle, the movie that tells the story of the gold medal win by the US men’s hockey team, I burst with pride. Not just because of the huge upset win over the heavily favored Russians, but because the heart and soul of that team was made up of BU Terriers.
Interesting was the selection of Eruzione as team captain. He was not the fastest skater, nor did he have the playmaking ability of others. But Brooks saw something in Eruzione that his team needed; he was a Leader with a capital “L.” He had character and as it turned out, he also had the winning goal against the Russians. (You can’t make this stuff up.)
For Travis Roy (COM’00, Hon.’16), it was the first 11 seconds of what was expected to be the beginning of a starred college hockey career and perhaps the NHL. Instead, it tragically became a life as a paraplegic. Who accepts this, moves on, and shows others that you can accept defeat or treat it as a challenge you will not let destroy you? That was Travis Roy. His hockey ability was eclipsed by his character. He will be remembered as an inspiration and a member of the BU community we can all be proud of. Mike Eruzione and Travis Roy: two Boston University ambassadors. Both have gone on to achieve goals one would never think possible. They have led by example, while teaching us a valuable lesson to never give up.
Frank Gunsberg (Questrom’67)
Great Barrington, Mass.
Alcohol Use and Adverse Childhood Experiences
I appreciated opening the Winter–Spring 2021 edition of Bostonia to read a comprehensive account of the health and societal effects of excessive alcohol consumption (“Our New Pandemic”), which have been exacerbated by the isolation caused by the COVID-19 crisis and resulting policy decisions.
The article briefly mentioned underlying risk factors. I believe whenever we communicate about problems associated with substance use, we are well served to describe the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). ACEs, ranging from abuse and neglect to alcohol or drug addiction in the family, to incarceration of a loved one, are linked to lifelong health and social outcomes. The connection between ACEs and future alcohol use has been rigorously studied, including by researchers with BU’s School of Public Health. In 2008, a team from the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences concluded in the journal Pediatrics that “children with particular adverse childhood experiences may initiate drinking earlier than their peers and that they may be more likely to drink to cope with problems…”
Many of us learn at an early age to use drinking or other behaviors to try to solve underlying emotional challenges, rooted in trauma. A shift toward education and empathy can help people replace harmful behavioral coping mechanisms with improved self-esteem and healthy outlets. All of us can benefit from understanding each other better.
Joe Markman (COM’10)
Standing Up for a Trump Sibling
Well, I read it (“Feedback,” Winter–Spring 2021) and I must respond! Obviously the writer is no fan of Donald [Trump], but also he graduated 10 years after Robert [Trump] (DGE’68, CAS’72)—or Bobby to friends and teammates and also his coaches. Let me straighten this out right here. I coached the BU freshman soccer team and also was the varsity’s assistant coach while attending BU School of Law. Bobby is far removed from his brother; he was beloved by his teammates, who elected him captain, and he was a terrific central defender for a very good team. We coaches loved him as well: generous, helpful, and a great leader. He returned for alumni soccer games and did fundraising for BU in New York City. The difference from his brother? Night and day. Well now you have heard from someone at BU concurrently with Bobby who greatly mourned his passing.
Bob Houlihan (LAW’72)
I am writing in response to the letter from William Politt in the Winter–Spring 2021 issue about the In Memoriam coverage of Robert Trump (DGE’68, CAS’72).
I can understand vitriol toward Donald Trump, but I am not sure that should extend to Robert. I was a teammate of Bobby, as known to me, on the 1969 soccer team. I cannot address his life after BU, as we did not stay in touch. But I have fond and appreciative memories of him. He was very different from his notorious brother and had a calm and quiet personality. He was well-liked and captain of the team. I knew little or nothing about his family background. He personally helped me secure my scholarship funds when delays almost prevented me from beginning classes that year.
I believe he helped raise funds for BU Athletics over the years. Occasionally, I would see his name in some BU news over the years and wonder how he could be related to that other Trump.
Pete Riley (DGE’70, CAS’72)
Remembering COM’s Norman Moyes
I was so sorry to read of the passing of Professor Norman Moyes. He was one of the best teachers I had in my time in the photojournalism department at (what was then) the School of Public Communication, and yet I never took one of his classes. But his office was one of the students’ favorite hangouts because he was so generous with his knowledge of photojournalism. The many file cabinets that filled the space were packed with photos, neatly organized. He would pull one out and talk so easily about it.
As his office was right across the hall from the darkrooms, he and I were very often the first people in the building. I was one of the darkroom techs and his first-thing-in-the-morning greeting was something to be treasured. More than a few times that greeting would be accompanied by an orange juice brought back from the Tom Thumb Diner, just behind SPC.
Although I hadn’t seen him since I graduated, he is a perfect example of how someone’s generosity and friendship can stay with you the rest of your life. My deepest sympathy to his family.
Ann (Ahearn) Ringwood (COM’77)
Still More on Harold Case
I received my copy of Bostonia today. Thanks to Thomas Skouras (CGS’66) for his note on BU President Harold Case.
I also attended BU classes in that Copley Square building when the school was named BU Junior College.
From my viewpoint, Mr. Skouras is correct in his recollections on that building. Just to clarify, there are surely additional BUJC alumni remembering that very building fondly. I don’t think we should be left out.
Following that super JC learning experience (JC’58), I earned two more BU degrees signed by President Harold Case and a fourth signed by President John R. Silber.
Jean Charles St. Pierre (CGS’58, Wheelock’60,’61,’71)
I often joke that I owe my education at BU to the anti-communism of the witch hunts that lead to the blacklisting of my yet-to-be-appointed dissertation advisor, Marx Wartofsky, and to the homophobia of the 1950s that forced Ken Benne, my other mentor, to resign from the University of Illinois and come to BU. When Marx was interviewed, then-President Case insisted that he tell him everything that he had done that led to his blacklisting. It is likely that Marx would have heard this request as just the start of another rejection, like “well now you can see why we can’t hire you!” But when Marx finished recounting all his “transgressions,” Case did no such thing. Instead, he politely thanked him, remarking that now if anyone asked whether he knew about Marx’s activities he could honestly tell them that he did. Marx went on to have a very illustrious career—at one time chairing the department—and contributed to building the national reputation of the philosophy department.
Ken, a few years older than Marx, had served in the Second World War and had taught for a few years at the University of Illinois before he was shamed, brutally outed as a homosexual, and forced to resign his tenured position. Like Marx, Ken had received his PhD from Columbia, where he served as John Dewey’s assistant. In his letter of recommendation to the University of Illinois, Dewey praised Ken and described him as the best graduate student he had known in the past 20 years. In spite of his very public dismissal at the University of Illinois, Case hired him too.
When Ken arrived in Boston to take up his new position, he was quite ill and President Case put him up in the president’s house while he recuperated. Like Marx, Ken had an illustrious career, as both a founder of the T-group movement and a leader in the field of philosophy of education.
I think it is time that BU paid more attention to Case’s legacy. All joking aside, I owe my education not only to the homophobia and anti-communism that brought both Ken and Marx to BU, but also to President Case and his willingness to stand up for the principle of academic freedom, to reject the intense pressure of the time, and hire these two vital faculty members.
Walter Feinberg (CAS’60, GRS’62,’66)
C. D. Hardie Emeritus Professor
The University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana
Praise from a Reader
The recent Bostonia (Winter–Spring 2021) was excellent. I have been receiving the Bostonia for awhile and this past issue was by far the best. Clear, well-written, relevant info, pertinent and current, and motivating to 2021. I plan to read it all. Before, I just glanced at it and tossed it. I think I may start keeping the issues. Big improvement whatever you did. (Restructuring? New authors? Whatever.) Keep up the good work.
Susan Ott (Sargent’77)
Virginia Beach, Va.
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