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BU names notable alumni to university boards

James Stergios, a public policy expert at the Pioneer Institute, has been elected to the Boston University Board of Overseers. PHOTO COURTESY PIONEER INSTITUTE

Boston University announced Thursday it had recently appointed an ESPN journalist and a public policy expert, both BU alum, to its Board of Trustees and Board of Overseers.

Kevin Merida, senior vice president and editor-in-chief of ESPN’s “The Undefeated” sports, race and culture blog, was named in December to the Board of Trustees for a two-year term. Jim Stergios, executive director of Boston-based research organization Pioneer Institute, was elected in October to a two-year term on the Board of Overseers, according to BU spokesperson Colin Riley.

Jim Stergios graduated from BU in 1985 with degrees in economics and philosophy before receiving his Ph.D in political science from the University Professors Program. He is also involved with the university in other ways, such as being a member of BU’s Institute for the Advancement of the Social Sciences, Riley said.

“I’ve been involved at Boston University for much of my adult life, as an undergrad, a doctoral student, and a friend to faculty and administrative staff,” Stergios wrote in an email. “My knowledge of how far the University has come over the decades informs how I think about its potential in the future.”

Aside from his work in researching public policy at Pioneer Institute, Stergios is also a regular affairs commentator among media outlets such as Fox News, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He previously served as chief of staff and undersecretary for policy at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Stergios wrote that, as an overseer, his aim is to support the vision of the trustees and the president and he hopes to contribute by “identifying further improvements to the University’s academic programs and branding, and serving as an ambassador to alumni in order to build support for the University.”

Merida graduated from BU in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Before his tenure at ESPN, he spent more than 20 years at The Washington Post. Under his leadership as managing editor, the organization won four Pulitzer prizes.

Merida did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Riley said the university is pleased to have Merida and Stergios joining the boards.

“They’re giving to the university with their time and expertise and knowledge, and we’re better for it,” Riley said.

Several BU students said they were mostly confident in the abilities of Merida and Stergios to make decisions for the university.

Emily Kirwin, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she didn’t know much about the appointees, but she worries their experiences are not right to be on the board.

“What do their jobs have to do with BU?” Kirwin said. “If you author books, that doesn’t mean you can run a board of directors.”

Arnaldo Franco, a freshman in CAS, said that while he believes that they are both qualified, others may not think the same way because of name recognition.

“The only thing that kind of makes you want to feel that someone is qualified is that if they have titles you know. For example, the guy elected for the Board of Trustees, most people would say that he is qualified because they know ESPN,” said Franco. “But, the guy for the Board of Overseers, people might say that he is not as qualified because not that many people know the Pioneer Institute.”

Analisa Arguello, a sophomore in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said she thinks Merida and Stergios are good choices.

“They graduated from here and did some great things, so I think they’ll know how to transition,” Arguello said. “They don’t have too much direct knowledge … education wise, but I think that their knowledge of BU and adding their input in will be helpful.”

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