Some Memorable Moments in My Professional Life.    -- Jack M. Wilson

My Inauguration on May 12, 2005 brought about 2200 persons to Symphony Hall for a concert by the Boston Pops, the UMass Marching Band and a small singing group called Rockappella.  The Governor presided at the ceremony for my installation and I presented the President's medal to Senator Edward M. Kennedy.  At the end of the concert, Senator Kennedy and I teamed up to conduct the Boston Pops and the UMass Marching Band in the Stars and Stripes Forever.  What a spirited night!  <Video>

Alan Solomont - Jack Wilson - Barack Obama  -UMass Club

<--Jack Wilson and Barack Obama

Jack Wilson-Teddy Kennedy-Marty Meehan  - UMassLowell ->
On February 22, 2006, I was privileged to grant an honorary degree to Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel at the Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa.  they were incredibly warm and friendly. 

Video of my comments on his death -on NECN
<-I've enjoyed getting to know the Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino, who was born in Pittsburgh in 1945.  He attended Taylor Alderdice High School in Oakland.  Posing with the Red Sox Trophy was quite an honor since most Bostonians had waited 86 years for that privilege.

I was honored to be able to throw out the first pitch at the Red Sox spring training games in both 2007 and 2008. -->
Shaking hands with the catcher after the throw. 
With Wally  

On Friday October 21, 2005, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, came to UMass Amherst to announce that Microsoft was designating UMass Amherst as the first Microsoft Showcase School in the world.  A breakfast in the Dubois library Learning Commons, was the venue for the announcement.  Then Steve and I flew back to Boston on a helicopter chartered by Microsoft.  It was a great flight, on a beautiful day.  I pointed out the sights along the way including various buildings in Boston, including the UMass President's Office.  He was an interesting and relaxed conversationalist.  I then headed off for the dedication of the UMass Mass Biologics Laboratory building in which we manufacture vaccines for the state and others, while he was off for a visit to the Boston Public Schools with UMB alum, Mayor Thomas Menino, and Mass Technology Leadership CEO, Joyce Plotkin.

Jack Hart-JackWilson-unknown-Craig Mello, Nobelist

Jack Blais is one of the great philanthropists in Massachusetts.  His gift of over $20 million  enabled us to build the Aaron Lazare Research Building at the UMass Medical School.  This was not his first gift to UMass medical and it would not be his last.  He also endowed a Chair for Craig Mello, one of the co-discoverers of RNAi.  In characteristic fashion, Jack did not ask that the building be named for him, but suggested that it be named for the long serving Chancellor of the Medical School.  Similarly, when he donated $15 million to build a facility for the Patriots, he named that facility for Dana Farber and donated tickets and other fund raising items to Dana Farber. At right, I am in Jack's box for the Patriots vs Jets.
On February 22, 2006, I was privileged to grant an honorary degree to Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel at the Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa.  they were incredibly warm and friendly. 

Jack Wilson, Steven Tyler, and Keith Motley at the UMass Boston Commencement on June 3, 2005.  Steven originally declined to speak after receiving the degree, but as we turned to go back to our seats, he asked if he could step to the microphone for a moment.  When he did, he began to shake a box of Altoids as a percussion instrument and sang out a very clear "Sweet Graduation! Emily Rooney was the main speaker for graduation.  In this photo, we are sharing a few laughs at the Commencement breakfast.  I have appeared on her show several times.

David Ortiz came by the UMB Commencement breakfast to honor the President of the Dominican Republic who also spoke.   The President of the Dominican Republic was a bright and engaging leader.  We discussed the possibility of having UMassOnline help with an online education strategy for the Dominican Republic.

Mikhail Gorbachev visited Boston in April 2005.  As you can see, he was more than willing to "go native" by donning Red Sox regalia. 

Mikhail Gorbachev dons a Red Sox hat and looks like he is ready to run.

His speech that day was a very articulate defense of the changes that he brought to the Soviet Union, now broken up into several countries with Russia as the core of the former Soviet system.  He also appealed to the United States to pursue a policy of cooperation and multilateralism.


Notice also Bob Metcalf, Founder of 3COM and inventor of the Ethernet networking protocol is in the back at the far left.

Julius Erving (Dr. J) has been an active alumnus of UMass Amherst.  In addition to hosting an annual Julius Erving Golf Fundraiser, he hosted the ceremonies honoring Al Skinner and retiring Skinner's jersey.  Al is presently coaching Boston College.  On the left I stand with Julius at the Basketball Hall of Fame.  I bought the autographed ball at the fundraiser to help kick off the auction.  On the right, Julius, Al, and I pose in front of the Amherst seal at the dinner in the cage.

Steve Ballmer and I were the keynote speakers at the Mass Software Council meeting While I was in China to keynote a meeting of the American Society of Engineering Education, we were privileged to meet with Chen Zhili, who was approximately the third ranking person in the Chinese government.  She also attended MIT in the past.  It was most interesting to see such a high ranking government official who came from the sciences. At a dinner at the Union club, I signed an exchange agreement with the Minister of Education, Udo Corts, from Hessen.   Later, in June 2005, I visited with him at the kickoff of a visit by our students and faculty to the universities in his state.
 Jack Wilson and Senator Ted Kennedy share a light moment at the MassInsight event at Sun Computer  Rick DesLauriers and Lucy Ziobro present FBI Award to Wilson   Jack Wilson, Judi Wilson, Rosalynn Carter, Angela Motley, Keith Motley


Selected pictures from my years in Washington, DC (1984-90)- Jack Wilson

Arthur Eisenkraft and I were received in the White House Oval Office in recognition of our work in founding the U.S. Team for the International Physics Olympiad.  Our personal meeting with President Bush lasted for nearly an hour, during which he confessed to having dropped Physics in favor of Biology.  He was a very warm, articulate, and well informed host.

  President Bush also met with the student team from that year including the two gold medalists, the U.S. Team's first gold medalists.  



Each year that Bill Bennet served as Secretary of Education, he met with the team.  We presented him with one of the IPhO Tee shirts and enjoyed seeing him jogging while wearing one of them some months later. I can be seen hiding in the back, the third from the left.  Arthur is the first from the left and Avi Hausser, another coach in that year is the sixth..

In one year, Dan Quayle also hosted the entire group.  The group was kind enough not to ask him to spell potato (or is it potatoe?).  They were far too kind to ask him any physics questions.

Carl Sagan was always one of my favorite person's to host.  Alternately pompous and charming, he was always energetic and interesting.  My favorite conversation came after we had both returned from visits to Moscow during the first year of Glasnost.  He had met with many of the same people that I had, but he had had the pleasure of a long meeting with Gorbachev.  I picked him up at the Atlanta airport and we were riding together back down town and we started exchanging stories.  I asked him about his meeting with Gorbachev, thinking that they must have had the most profound discussions about nuclear winter, disarmament, or global warming.  Instead he told me that Gorbachev had regaled he and his new wife with stories of how to make a new wife happy! 

This picture was taken when I hosted Carl for the first Robert Resnick Lecture at Rensselaer.  It was a typical Sagan "tour de force."  He managed to combine, astronomy, engineering, politics, and common sense into a discussion of how to (or not to) prepare for a potential asteroid impact on earth.  After the talk he spoke with students graciously (with one exception) for an hour.  The one exception?  a student asked him about UFO's.  Carl then proceeded to "pull the student's wings off."


One of my most fulfilling moments came when I was named the J. Erik Jonsson '22 Distinguished Professor in 1998.  J. Erik Jonsson had left Rensselaer to become the founder of Texas instruments and later the mayor of Dallas.  He was a giant, and I was honored to carry his named Professorship.
<short card>  <short card alt>  

Pops on the Bay: The Democratic National Convention came to Boston in July 2004 and UMass hosted many events including the blockbuster finale on Thursday July 29, 2004.   Over 15,000 showed up on the lawn in front of the UMass Boston Student Center for a concert featuring John Williams conducting the Boston Pops orchestra  and James Taylor singing many of his most famous hits  Prior to the concert, I hosted a VIP reception for local political, academic, and community luminaries.   This was the night of the John Kerry acceptance speech and Kerry, John Edwards, Teresa Heinz Kerry, and Elizabeth Edwards left the convention center to arrive at the party shortly after midnight.   Because the candidates were delayed, John Williams and James Taylor worked together to fill nearly two hours of fantastic music.  The orchestra must have been exhausted.  Once  Kerry and Edwards arrived, we launched the largest fireworks display ever seen in New England as Kerry, Edwards, and their wives waved to the crowd.  Afterwards we all stood around and chatted as the attendees left the area.   We arrived back home at just before 4am.

Jack Wilson and Keith Motley welcome Delegates to the UMass Boston Student Center Wilson welcomes guests at the Pops on the Bay pre- event reception. Opening the Pops on the Bay Concert event.  
Motley, Wilson, Kerry and Jim Karam meet after the event. Wilson and Kerry discuss the speech. John Edwards notes that it is his 27th wedding anniversary now that it is past midnight. Teresa Kerry is exhausted but gracious.