City, Country, World

Robert A. Brown in front of flagsBoston University has a strong commitment to community, on campus and around the world. Here you can find information about BU and our involvement in the community on a citywide, nationwide, and worldwide level.

BU in the City

BU is a university in the heart of a city, and our identity is shaped around this urban environment. The city of Boston has helped to make BU a great university, and we are dedicated to supporting the city through a variety of outreach and community service programs.


One of BU’s strongest commitments is to the education and intellectual development of city youth. We work closely with a number of elementary, middle and high schools in the city of Boston, and we actively work to promote their success. Among our most prominent local educational initiatives:

  • The Thomas M. Menino Scholarship Program, through which we give 20 to 25 four-year full-tuition scholarships to graduating seniors from Boston’s public high schools. Since the program was created in 1973, BU has awarded more than $169 million in scholarships to 1,921 graduates of Boston’s schools.
  • The new Community Service Award program, through which the University guarantees to meet the full demonstrated financial need, without loans, of all graduates of Boston’s public high schools who earn admission to BU.
  • The Cardinal Medeiros Scholarships, which provide four-year full-tuition scholarships to graduating seniors from area Catholic high schools.

Boston University offers a variety of tutoring and educational development programs for Boston Public School students, including the Boston University Initiative for Literacy Development (BUILD), CityLab, the Early Learning Center, Upward Bound, and many others. The University provides extensive support to the Trotter Elementary School. This includes faculty engagement, tutors, and a dedicated coach for the building principal. To ensure consistency of support, the University funds a shuttle bus to and from the school.

Health Care and Social Services

The Boston University Medical Center, in the South End neighborhood of Boston, includes the School of Medicine, the Goldman School of Dental Medicine, and the School of Public Health. Boston Medical Center, the largest safety-net hospital in New England, was formed by the 1996 merger of the BU Medical Center Hospital and Boston City Hospital; its clinical staff is composed exclusively of BU School of Medicine faculty and physicians-in-training. Along with the College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College and the School of Social Work on the Charles River Campus, these schools and the hospital provide an extensive array of free and low-cost services and educational programs for the greater Boston community. Boston University Geriatric Services, founded in 1875, is the oldest continuously operating home medical program in the United States. Dozens of similar programs offer dental services, health education, and other services to residents of Boston.

Business and Professional Programs and Services

Students and faculty from all areas of the University provide professional services to residents of Boston. School of Law students, for example, provide advocacy services in civil litigation, and provide defense and prosecutorial services in criminal court. Students from the College of Communication provide professional advertising, public relations, and video production services to local non-profits at little or not cost. Faculty from the School of Management help aspiring local entrepreneurs to develop their own businesses. University faculty and staff play key roles in the creation and start-up of new businesses.


BU is a school of national reputation, consistently ranked among the top private universities in America. As such, the BU community extends nationwide as we draw students from all 50 states and beyond. The invitation in 2012 to join the Association of American Universities (AAU), the organization of the leading North American research universities, was a major milestone for BU.

Our nationwide reputation and sense of community has grown as evidenced by President Brown’s involvement in the private and public sectors, including his service on the boards of the Universities Research Association and the DuPont Company and, from 2006 through 2008, on the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology.

Boston University also has a strong commitment to the American people and to the community of higher education institutions. Because of this dedication, we were among the universities that took in students from Tulane University in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, providing a temporary home and learning environment free of charge for students from the New Orleans school. Katrina highlighted, for us and for other schools, the interconnection and interdependence of all institutions of higher education nationwide, and reaffirmed our sense of community. Every year, hundreds of Boston University students travel around the country to perform a week of community service through our Alternative Spring Break program.

Global Community

President Brown is personally involved in partnerships around the world, serving as chairman of the Academic Research Council of the Ministry of Education in Singapore and a board member of King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC). In recognition of his dedication, Singapore named President Brown an Honorary Citizen. He brings to Boston University an energetic commitment to expanding BU’s international reputation and making ours a truly global community.

BU has always had a number of vibrant study abroad programs throughout the world; since Dr. Brown assumed the presidency, he has begun a series of initiatives aimed at expanding BU’s influence, opening dialogue with academic and business leaders in a number of countries.

BU consistently is ranked among the leading schools in America for attracting international students and scholars, and for sending students and graduates abroad. The Times of London Education Supplement has ranked BU #57 among world universities and 31st for US universities for the breadth and quality of its programs.