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Obituaries

All of the following are obituaries written for late staff members of Boston University and published in Bostonia magazine. 

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Jane S. O’Hern (SAR’54, SED’62)

80, A SCHOOL OF MEDICINE PROFESSOR EMERITA OF MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING AND BEHAVIORAL MEDICINE, ON MAY 27, 2013.

O’Hern earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education fromSargent College, a master’s in counseling from Michigan State University, and an EdD in counseling from BU’s School of Education.

During her long career at BU, O’Hern served as a professor and an administrator. She also was a practicing psychologist for 40 years. At SED, she was director of international education and chair of programs in counselor education and counseling psychology. In 1972, O’Hern joined MED, where she was instrumental in developing the mental health counseling and behavioral medicine program within the school’s Division of Graduate Medical Sciences. She was a part of the Mental Health Task Force at the University, planning new approaches to teaching and training those going into the mental health professions.

O’Hern also was an avid traveler and enjoyed playing tennis, cards, and Keno, according to the Boston Globe, which described her as “full of life, independent, honest, generous, determined, intelligent, funny, stylish, and very much loved.”

O’Hern “was beloved by faculty, staff, and students,” says Karen Antman, provost of the Medical Campus and dean of MED.

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Krzysztof Michalski

64, A COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY, ON FEBRUARY 11, 2013.

Michalski, a world-renowned Polish philosopher, was born in Warsaw in 1948. He received a master’s degree in 1969 and a PhD in 1974, both at the University of Warsaw. He became a visiting professor of philosophy at Boston University in 1986 and a professor in 1990. His students remember him as a lively teacher with a dry sense of humor and a million stories to tell.

He was rector of the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (the Institute for Human Sciences) in Vienna, an independent institute for advanced study in the humanities and social sciences that promotes, among other things, “intellectual exchange between East and West.” BU graduate students can spend a semester or a year in Vienna working in the institute’s offices, learning about politics, art, and religions of the world.

Michalski was also Erasmus Chair at the University of Warsaw and a professor of philosophy.

In 2010, Michalski was elected president of the European Institutes for Advanced Study. It was one of many organizations, societies, commissions, and councils on which he served during the past 30 years. He received numerous awards for his efforts to generate peace and understanding. Among these honors were the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and the European Cultural Prize.

In 2004 he was awarded the 39th Theodor Heuss Prize, which cited his role “in the deepening of the political and cultural dialogue between East and West. Before 1989 he contributed to the liberation from Communism, and in the 1990s he supported the development of a democratic civil society in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.”

Writing in the New York Review of Books, Timothy Snyder described Michalski as “one of the architects of the Europe that emerged after the end of communism….He devoted his life to the risky proposition that philosophical discussion, in the right setting, could bring together Poles and Germans, Eastern and Western Europeans, and eventually Europeans and Americans.”

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Kathleen M. Bennett (MED’84)

56, A SCHOOL OF MEDICINE ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, ON NOVEMBER 23, 2012.

Bennett had a reputation for providing exceptional clinical care and for being extremely dedicated to her patients. In the classroom she taught her students: “Quality care first and all else will follow.”

She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from McGill University. After graduating from BU, she completed an internship in family medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago and went on to a residency in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital, now Boston Medical Center, where she served as chief medical resident. Bennett joined the BU faculty in 1989, when she was appointed a MED clinical assistant professor of medicine.

She served as assistant director of medicine, visiting physician, and program director for Boston City Hospital and was a staff physician at Uphams Corner Neighborhood Health Center in Dorchester, Mass. She was a leader in health care administration at Neighborhood Health Plan and Boston Medical CenterHealthNet Plan and was chief medical officer at Senior Whole Health.

Bennett was known for her zest for life and her love of the ocean, and for driving her Volkswagen convertible, exploring new places and restaurants with her life partner, Sharon Hanson, traveling to the Caribbean, and enjoying the company of good friends and family.

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55, A SCHOOL OF MEDICINE PROFESSOR OF NEUROLOGY AND SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH PROFESSOR OF BIOSTATISTICS, ON JUNE 1, 2012.

Atwood earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematical sciences from the University of Texas at Dallas. In 1986, he received a doctorate in computer science from the University of North Texas and spent the next four years in postdoctoral training in statistical genetics at the Louisiana State University Medical Center.

After his postdoctoral work, Atwood joined the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio and later the Division of Epidemiology and the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

In 2001, Atwood joined the Framingham Heart Study in Boston as a senior geneticist. The multigenerational epidemiological study, begun in 1948 by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has been run by BU since 1971 under NIH contract.

He later cochaired the Framingham Genetics Steering Committee and was director of both the Framingham Genetics Data Management Group and the Framingham Genetics Laboratory. He also was codirector of SNP Health Association Resource (SHARe), a project to search the human genome for genetic variants affecting hundreds of traits that have been measured in the Framingham participants since 1948.

Atwood’s primary research interest was the genetics of complex diseases, particularly obesity.

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