John Silber, the longtime President and later Chancellor of Boston University, has passed away from complications of kidney failure. He was 86.
The Texas born Silber may be best known for having unsuccessfully run for Governor of Massachusetts as a Democrat in 1990 against Republican William Weld. Here was a rare instance in which the Democrat was actually more conservative than the Republican. However, Silber was not known for his diplomacy and his bluntness would cost him with Massachusetts voters as demonstrated in this interview with Natalie Jacobson.
Yet there was no question of Silber’s intelligence and he was equally comfortable debating Noam Chomsky on U.S. foreign policy in Central America as he was discussing the state of contemporary American architecture.
Judging by this interview in which Silber described the late Howard Zinn’s The Peoples’ History of the United States as “one of the most incompetent and inaccurate histories of this country that has ever been written,”; I think it is safe to say you won’t find a college or university hiring a president like John Silber and we are the worse for it.
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