“Nothing will be more important to the future of the University than our success,” says BU President Robert A. Brown. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

It has been just over seven years since I had the privilege of being named the 10th president of Boston University. When I arrived, the development of the current University was well under way, but not clearly expressed. We have, through strategic planning and execution, brought our objectives into sharper focus and accelerated our progress, even during difficult economic times.

Our strategic plan in 2007 laid out our commitments and priorities for a decade. This issue of Bostonia highlights some of our steps to realizing our goals. First, 320 new faculty members have been hired on the Charles River Campus; 87 of these hires were for newly created positions. We are attracting promising young scholars and outstanding senior colleagues who are opening new areas of inquiry across the University and collaborating on critical interdisciplinary research. More undergraduates than ever are participating in research and working closely with inspiring mentors. This May, we announced a special initiative to hire 15 additional outstanding senior faculty members, who because of their stature and accomplishments help define Boston University as a leading institution.

The $1 billion will bolster education, research, and the student experience.

We have continued to emphasize high-quality undergraduate education by fostering student engagement in academic and extracurricular life and working to better equip students for success here and after graduation. The Kilachand Honors College and the new Center for Student Services (which opened this fall) both reflect our commitment to student engagement and success. We have also sought to expand our available resources and then target student financial aid to ensure that promising students can take advantage of a Boston University education. And we have worked to keep our tuition increases modest.

As we have invested in undergraduate education, we have simultaneously invested in our graduate and professional education. Two examples of this investment are the new residence for medical students, which opened in August, and the major expansion and renovation, beginning this summer, of the campus for the School of Law. Our School of Management also is expanding its faculty and is planning a new executive education center adjacent to the Hariri Building.

We are focused as well on breakthrough interdisciplinary research. Two major initiatives on that front are the opening of the Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering and the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories on the Medical Campus.

In the last three years we have announced six gifts of over $10 million.

How did we get to where we are today? We have funded some initiatives using resources generated through our widely recognized fiscal efficiency. We have also, of course, made the case—to our alumni and good friends—for philanthropic support of our plans. And support has come at levels BU has never before seen. In the last three years we have announced six gifts of over
$10 million. This is in comparison to one gift of this scale in our entire previous history. The impact of this support is enormous. Wonderful examples include a $25 million gift from Rajen Kilachand (GSM’74) to support the establishment of the Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College, Allen Questrom (SMG’64) and Kelli Questrom’s $10 million gift through the Allen & Kelli Questrom Foundation to support faculty and facilities in the School of Management, and a gift from overseer Kenneth Slater and his family to establish the Slater Family Professorship in Behavioral Economics. There have been many others, leading to a level of support that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.

This brings me to the first comprehensive Campaign for Boston University, launched on September 22, 2012. Our goal is to raise $1 billion in private philanthropic support for the University. We will never sacrifice our fiscal efficiency. But we will deploy these additional resources to further bolster the quality of education and research at Boston University and to enhance the overall academic and extracurricular experience for our students.

Nothing will be more important to the future of Boston University than the success of our campaign. Your participation will matter. Help us press the accelerator pedal to speed our progress to make this great University the very best it can be. I hope you will support us.

Robert A. Brown
Robert A. Brown

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On 20 December 2012 at 12:09 PM, Anonymous wrote:

Indeed, since I first joined BU a few years ago as a PhD student, I have seen some real progress in the strength of research in our faculty. Facing tough funding challenges and competition across the river, I agree that BU is in the right direction to focus on strategic areas. Once we are known for being top notch in certain fields, we will then be able to attract the best students and scholars to further strengthen our reputation as a major research institution.

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