Here are speeches, essays, and articles from them man who turned Boston University into a major educational institution. John Silber speaks as an educator, parent, philosophical leader, and political observer and participant (Ahead in the polls, he probably would have been elected Governor of Massachusetts had he not run afoul of a beloved media personality. The famous incident is recounted in high style in Tom Wolfe’s foreword).
He tackles issues including education at all levels, culture and the media, democracy and international affairs. Delivered from 1971 to 2012, the speeches offer his incisive reflections on the Vietnam War, Watergate, student activism of the seventies, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, developments in science and technology, the increasing power of the media, global corporations, and many other issues. His style is lively, crisp, and pointed, spiked with his acerbic wit and guided by an ongoing search for wisdom.
Mr. Silber was a model of probity and integrity in both his private and his public life, an intellectual pessimist and a congenital optimist. Even as he transformed Boston University from a sleepy and fast-declining “streetcar college,” he spoke out on topical issues and principles on which our human fulfillment and national identity depended. Inspiring many and infuriating some, his was a life that mattered and his voice was one worth listening to.