Bostonia: The Alumni Magazine of Boston University

Summer 2012 Table of Contents

Letters to the Editor

Bostonia welcomes readers’ reactions and encourages expressions of opinion,
pro and con. Submit your letter below.

BU, in the News

I don’t consider myself naïve. As a longtime observer, I am familiar with the business of big-time college sports. However, BU and Jack Parker have now stepped way over the line. Two of his players have been criminally accused of sexual assaults on coeds and kicked off the team—making a farce out of even trying to persuade anyone that these are so-called “student athletes.”

It is my understanding that this past school year there were five incidents of sexual assault by BU students reported—with two out of five of them being from the hockey team!

The culture of recruiting these thugs to be “BU student-athletes” and the resulting horrible public relations (public relations being my major at COM) for BU has got to end, along with Parker’s long and storied career—all of the above being my opinion.

Peter Beckerman (COM’70) Sidney, Maine

First, Do No Harm

I want to commend you for your article (“First, Do No Harm,” Winter–Spring 2012). I am a Holocaust educator, have interviewed close to 300 Holocaust survivors on tape, and have done research on the role of nurses during the Holocaust. I was captivated by the article, since it added much to my knowledge and gave me a greater understanding regarding medical aspects and ethical dilemmas during those horrific years.

Lenore B. Weinstein (SON’74) Miami Beach, Fla.

I am writing in regard to the article “First, Do No Harm.” I graduated in 2005 from BU and I have generally enjoyed Bostonia. But I was disgusted by the sympathetic portrayal of the Jewish doctors who killed their fellow Jews during the horrific events of the Holocaust. I hope I will never understand what it is like to live through what they did. But the severity of their circumstances and the evil of the Nazis do not justify the also evil action of taking innocent human life. Just because you are in a horrible situation does not mean all of your actions are automatically noble. They, the doctors and the mothers, chose to extend for a few days, weeks, months, or years their own lives at the expense of the lives of their children. I do not judge them, but their actions were not noble and do not deserve to be highlighted as such.

Stephanie J. Angelini (COM’05) Beverly, Mass.

Man at Fault?

Just finished reviewing my latest issue of Bostonia and was very interested in your article “Watching Climate Change from the Ground and the Heavens” (“Explorations,” Winter–Spring 2012), which, once again, related climate change to man: “one-third on global warming and two-thirds on urbanization.”

Unfortunately, all of these current man-made climate change impact studies conveniently leave out some very significant historical data. For example, one of the scientifically researched reasons for the amazing success of the dinosaurs and early plant life was a prehistorically warm climate.

Also, the reasons that the Vikings were able to settle in Greenland and survive in the New World was because of the Medieval Warm Period, Medieval Climate Optimum, or Medieval Climatic Anomaly, a historical time of a much warmer climate in the North Atlantic region, China, New Zealand, and other countries lasting from about AD 950 to 1250. It was followed by a cooler period in the North Atlantic termed the Little Ice Age.

I strongly doubt that man-made “urbanization” had anything to do with these extreme climate change periods. In fact, we should celebrate our short period of continued warming since the end of the last Ice Age about 10,000 years ago and the onset of the next one. It allowed humans to expand globally and develop civilizations around more agriculturally based communities—ancient Egypt, the Three Kingdoms of Ancient China, the Roman Empire, the British Empire, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, modern civilization, man on the moon, etc.

Peter G. Parsons (COM’65) Mission Viejo, Calif.

Lovin’ the Cars

Your article in BostoniaRevisiting Auto Row” (Winter–Spring 2012) has brought back a bit of nostalgia. Back in the summer of 1965, I was finishing my master’s degree in music at BU’s College of Fine Arts. As I left the building on an afternoon in August, I happened to look across the street and saw this beautiful Pontiac convertible. Right then and there, I said to myself, I need to give myself a graduation gift. So several days later, I bought the Pontiac and drove it home. When I pulled into my driveway, my wife came out of the house, holding my oldest son, Mark, by the hand and carrying my second son, Peter, in her arms.

Almost forgot, she was four months pregnant. Needless to say, my wife wasn’t too happy when she said, what was I thinking, buying a convertible with nearly three children?

When Mark turned 16 and got his driver’s license, I gave him the car. Two years later, Mark went off to BU to study music, and he gave Peter the car. Two years later, Peter gave me back the car. By this time, the car was a rust bucket, so I began restoring this great car. I had to buy parts from all around the country. Fenders came from Iowa and Tennessee, the original windshield came from Oklahoma, headlight chrome came from Oregon, and hard-to-find parts came from Missouri.

Mario A. Crociati (CFA’57,’66) Plymouth, Mass.


Regarding your story on the 2011 Alumni Weekend, and in particular, the Black Alumni Celebration (“Thousands Return to Campus for Alumni Weekend,” Winter–Spring 2012), you noted the Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture given by the celebrated former New York Times journalist Bob Herbert.

I quote from your piece, “Herbert, who is African American, described Zinn as a personal hero and praised him for ‘a mind that sliced right through the most contentious issues.’”

Really, I fail to see the relevance to your piece of noting that Mr. Herbert is African American. One can glean that from his photo. Next, why the seeming surprise that Mr. Herbert found a hero in the great Professor Zinn? Can’t one who is black find a hero in one who is white? Or, conversely?

Our most illustrious graduate, Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59), wrote, “We must come to see that the end we seek is a society of peace. That will be the day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man.”

Howard Zinn was the embodiment of that thought. Thus, the reason that folks of all colors and ethnicities found a hero in him.

Surely, it is my hope that this sentiment will find its way into the pages of Bostonia.

Basil O. Gordon (COM’75) Columbia, Md.

Advising the Academy

I read with interest your article “Where Deans Go for Guidance” (Winter–Spring 2012). When it states, however, that “all 16 colleges plus the athletics department and Marsh Chapel have active advisory boards,” the article should also have included Boston University Academy.

BU Academy has had an active advisory board for over nine years, which has grown in the last six years from 6 members to a range of 12 to 18 members, made up of current parents from each of the four grades at the academy. Like the other advisory boards, ours works on both strategic planning and fundraising. Members of BUA’s advisory board are responsible for contributing over half of our annual fund and have been lead donors and strategists in our first-ever capital campaign, which successfully reached its goal early and which has set the stage for an important building project (keep your eyes peeled at the southeast corner of the BU Bridge in the summer of 2013). Eventually, we hope to expand membership from current parents to include both past parents and graduates of the academy.

I always find our seasonal advisory board meetings to be provocative and supportive, raising tough questions and helping to find productive solutions. Members serve as BUA ambassadors at various functions, and one past chair now sits as a BU overseer. I also enjoy the esprit de corps of this lively and accomplished group of parents. So I am very happy to report that the momentum from President Brown’s vision for the role of advisory boards at BU is alive and well at BU Academy, too.

James S. Berkman Head of School, Boston University Academy

Submit Your Letter

Letters should be brief and may be edited for purposes of space and clarity.