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A Note from Harvey: Spring 2021

My grandfather—“CY” to his friends—was my favorite person when I was a kid. With his own hands, he built a house in South Carolina. Later, he rode the last wave of the Great Migration to the industrial North. Together, we fished in the summers and he’d share his old man wisdom. Best of all: he kept two freezers filled with ice cream of every flavor. A cape could not have made him more of a hero.

But flying was his kryptonite. Hospitalized after a heart attack, he shared a regret. He had never flown to Florida, where his brother had lived for more than 50 years. He confided, “Life is too short. Family is important.” If his health improved, he promised that he finally would visit his brother’s home. He would dine at his brother’s table.

CY recovered. His laugh returned. His brush with death had given him a new outlook. He seemed to have a new lease on life.

I offered to fly with him. Let’s book that flight now. My grandfather hesitated. Weeks later, he told me a story about a plane engine failing somewhere in the world. A few months after that, he decided that a car trip—nearly 24 hours—might be better despite his aching back. More months passed. Years. A bigger, more intense cardiac episode claimed his life. He never made it to Florida.

CY died 20 years ago. However, as the threat of the current pandemic ebbs, I find myself thinking about him more and more. It’s not just those stories of vaccinated grandparents hugging their grandkids after a too-long separation. It’s also the way people talk about the things that they will do after the pandemic.

I share this story because I hope that the perspectives gained and priorities newly realized over the past year will guide you forward. Reconnect with friends and loved ones. Volunteer. Donate. Apply for that job. Mentor. Bake a cake. Learn a new language. Go to the opera. Book that flight. Become the person you want to be.

I invite you to join me in rebuilding the fine and performing arts. The arts need our help more than ever. If you would like to share your goals for the future, please email me at cfadean@bu.edu.

Harvey Young, Dean of CFA