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Unintimidable: Boston
University's 'Silver Unicorn'

Townhall, by Jeff Jacoby

Original Article

Posted By:Judy W., 9/30/2012 7:38:56 AM

"I've never been intimidated by anyone," John Silber once told me. "I don't know the meaning of the word." I never doubted it. Twice I worked for the former Boston University president, who died Thursday at 86. (Snip) Several years later, with both law school and my exceedingly brief legal career behind me, I returned for a full-time job with the exalted title of Assistant to the President. However lofty the title, reality was something else. Having John Silber as a boss, I quickly learned, was an ongoing adventure in being put in one's place.

Comments:
This piece has some wonderful stories about Silber. He was in the news a lot in the 1980s and 1990s but I haven't heard anything about him since then. He was a good guy.

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: seminolesecure, 9/30/2012 8:55:39 AM     (No. 8899951)

I went to Boston University in the late 70's when he was president and turning the school around in amazing fashion. He was hated by the hippies and the professors. He wanted excellence from his professors, fired them if they weren't, and we can't have that. He did not knuckle under to political correctness. Ever.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: grampus, 9/30/2012 9:22:38 AM     (No. 8899988)

I spent a good part of a day, one-on-one, with this remarkable man in the late 1980s. He had come to my office regarding BU's program for the military in Europe. He was business-like and cordial. We took the Metro to the Pentagon for a face-to-face with a (my)three-star general. The result was not what he had wanted, but he remained very polite to me on the return to my office, sharing with me a bit of his younger years in Texas. Had he possedd two "good" arms, Silber's career might well have been military....in which case he could well have been the four-star boss of my three-star general.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: sinic, 9/30/2012 10:01:33 AM     (No. 8900044)

I lived in MA most of my life, and remember John Silber well. He ran for governor as a Democrat, but didn't win partly due to his George S. Patton style of dealing with everything. He lost to Willaim "Pink Floyd" Weld, who wasn't really all that bad a governor in a Democrat controlled state like MA, but was a little bit on the odd side. Silber didn't pull any punches whatsoever, and couldn't have cared less who he offended in the process. He took BU from an also ran to one of the largest and most successful universitys in the area. He was a good guy, and I doubt that you'll ever see another one like him.

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