Meet the 2024 John S. Perkins Award Winners

images of the three Perkins winners
The 2024 recipients of the John S. Perkins Award for Distinguished Service are Walter von Bosau, media resources coordinator, Krasker Film/Video Services, Mugar Memorial Library (from left), Daniel Ivey, program administrator, CAS Writing Program, and Richard Vezina (SPH’90), associate director of the Slone Epidemiology Center. von Bosau photo by Jackie Ricciardi, Center photo provided by Dan Ivey, Vezina photo by Cydney Scott


Each year, Boston University honors three non-faculty members for going above and beyond for the University. The annual John S. Perkins Awards for Distinguished Service recognize individuals “who have served the University with great distinction and have made important contributions toward the goals of Boston University.”

This year, the honors go to Walter von Bosau, media resources coordinator, Krasker Film/Video Services at Mugar Memorial Library, Daniel Ivey, program administrator for the Arts & Sciences Writing Program, and Richard Vezina (SPH’90), associate director of the Slone Epidemiology Center.

The three will be celebrated at an evening ceremony on Tuesday, May 7, in the Metcalf Trustee Ballroom.

The Perkins awards date back to 1981, when they were established by BU’s Faculty Council. A member of the faculty must nominate a candidate and gather three to five letters of recommendation from colleagues or students for an individual to be considered for the award. The Faculty Council reviews each nomination and selects three winners, all of whom receive $500 and a memorial plaque. The award endowment comes courtesy of the estate of the late John S. Perkins, a longtime BU faculty member, administrator, and trustee.

“The Perkins award is the highest recognition the University bestows on the unsung heroes who consistently go above and beyond to serve the institution in their respective roles,” says Marnie Reed, a clinical professor of education at Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, chair of the Perkins Awards committee.

Here’s a snapshot of this year’s recipients.

Walter von Bosau

Von Bosau has spent his entire BU career in one place: Mugar Memorial Library. More specifically, he’s spent almost four decades in the building’s basement, helping professors find and arrange films to show their classes as the media resources coordinator in the Krasker Film/Video Services center.

Krasker’s sole employee, von Bosau describes himself as the “person behind the curtain” when it comes to film needs at BU. He combines an encyclopedic knowledge of movies with a love for all film formats, ranging from the Super 8 films of his childhood to his Blu-Ray collection of recent years. “I’ve been fascinated by films and filmmaking since I was five—I’m incredibly lucky that my job is also my hobby,” says von Bosau, who works on rare film preservation in his spare time.

A letter of support from Leland Monk, a College of Arts & Sciences professor emeritus of English, noted: “I knew and worked with Walter for my entire career at Boston University. He worked diligently to provide media support for my film classes across five different screening technologies: first 16 millimeter projected celluloid film, then VHS tapes, laserdisc, DVDs, and finally online streaming services. He deserves acknowledgment and appreciation for his tireless dedication to the experience of film at BU.”

Von Bosau arrived at BU in 1986. He says being recognized with a Perkins Award after 37 years is an unbelievable honor. “In doing my job semester after semester, it’s easy for the routine to become ‘business as usual,’ von Bosau says. “It’s very humbling when so many faculty have reached out to let me know what my efforts have meant to them and their students over so long a time.”

There are endless aspects of his job that he’s enjoyed over the years, he says, from mentoring student employees to collaborating with colleagues at the CAS Geddes Language Center to track down obscure films. His current project is digitizing and saving as many of Krasker’s trove of approximately 8,000 VHS tapes as possible.

“Every film has a story to tell,” von Bosau says. “It is my goal to make sure their voices are heard for future generations.”

Daniel Ivey

As program administrator for the CAS Writing Program, Ivey has a direct hand in the education of every BU undergraduate. All undergrads, regardless of school, must take two semesters of writing seminars. Most satisfy their requirements through WR120 and WR150 courses. That’s where Ivey comes in: he’s the admin responsible for ensuring the success of the more than 350 writing seminars that CAS offers—on top of keeping the broader program running in the first place.

These are no small tasks. But they’re ones Ivey has taken great pleasure in since he took over the job in 2000, after being recruited from a role at Columbia University by the program’s inaugural director, Michael Prince.

“Like many in the program, I enjoy promoting a relaxed and friendly work environment that values dynamic ideas and encourages collaboration, a place where constant competition and overblown egos have no place,” Ivey says. “I most enjoy helping instructors navigate the many ins and outs of BU’s vast administration. If at times they feel a bit tossed at sea, I’m there to shine a beacon and assure them that terra firma lies just ahead.”

Ivey’s keep-cool attitude and ability to keep thousands of gears turning seamlessly is what led William Giraldi (GRS’04), a CAS Writing Program master lecturer, to nominate him for a Perkins award.

“Dan is so valuable and talented that we stole him from Columbia,” Giraldi wrote in his recommendation letter. “Dan is the irreplaceable adhesive that binds us, and the force that facilitates our mission. Without him, our students would be as lost as we would be. He provides the architecture in which we and our students operate, the architecture that makes it possible for students to learn and thrive under our direction.”

Being nominated by his peers is a testament to the “many great friends, coworkers, and colleagues I’ve had the pleasure of working with over two-plus decades at BU,” Ivey says. “I have cultivated friendships in the Writing Program that will last a lifetime. They already have!”

Richard Vezina

Associate director of the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine’s Slone Epidemiology Center since 2017, Vezina first arrived at the center in 1991 as project manager for a clinical trial. Prior to that, he worked as a research technician at the school, starting in 1983.

Named after its late cofounder Dennis Slone, the Slone Epidemiology Center is a public health research organization focused on studying the possible health effects of myriad elements in adults and children. In Vezina’s 30-plus-year tenure at the center, he’s been instrumental in countless research projects, including studies on the safety of ibuprofen use for children and the efficacy of the Back to Sleep campaign, an initiative aimed at reducing mortality rates from sudden infant death Syndrome (SIDS). As a brand-new administrator, Vezina was also instrumental in leading a massive restructuring effort at the center that resulted in more efficient collaboration among teams.

Vezina says he’s proud of both his research and his administrative efforts.

“The aspects of my job that I enjoy the most stem from the close-knit family environment which we have at Slone, and being able to be a significant contributor to maintaining a culture that nurtures individual growth while working toward a common goal of making significant contributions to scientific knowledge and public health,” Vezina says.

His colleagues marvel at his vast institutional knowledge and ability to create order out of chaos.

“There is no question that he cannot answer or find the answer to. He is our key liaison with the University Office of the General Counsel and can draft data use agreements with frightening ease,” Yvette C. Cozier (SPH’94,’04), a School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology and associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, wrote in a letter of support. “He is well-liked and respected in every circle he enters. It would be an understatement to say Rich is the MVP of Slone! The fact is, we would truly not be able to function without him.”

Vezina says there are many highlights from his time at Slone that he treasures. Seeing his colleagues rally in support of his nomination for a Perkins Award is just the latest.

“This recognition means the world to me,” he says.

This BU Today story was written by Alene Bouranova.