Emerson fraternity Phi Alpha Tau presented the 2012 David Brudnoy Memorial Award to Robert L. Beal, president of the Beal Companies, at a ceremony in the Charles Beard Room April 17. The award includes honorary membership in the fraternity.
In honor of the late David Brudnoy, the longtime WBZ radio talk show host and honorary member of Phi Alpha Tau, the Brudnoy Award is given to a Boston-area leader in communications who demonstrates compassion, hard work, and responsibility. Previous recipients include Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority and former chair of the Emerson Board of Trustees Peter Meade ’70, WBZ anchor Jack Williams, and president and CEO of the Boston Foundation Paul Grogan.
A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School, Beal joined the Beal Companies in 1976 as vice president after being with The Beacon Companies for 11 years. Beal and his brother, Bruce, are the fourth generation of Beals to run the family business.
Beal and his brother have worked to advance Boston’s business and civic life for many years through involvement in numerous city organizations and charities. They made a generous joint gift to Emerson College in 2007 to name The Quiet Room in Piano Row in honor of their mother, Leona, who graduated from Emerson in 1931.
Beal told the audience at the ceremony that he was “truly honored” to receive the award. He recounted his many connections to Emerson, including his mother’s attendance at the College, his friendship with former Emerson President Jacqueline Liebergott, and his involvement with the College’s move to the Theatre District.
President Lee Pelton, who presented Beal with the award, called Beal a “man of enormous civic commitment.”
Among the many organizations Beal has served are: the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, A Better City (formerly the Artery Business Committee), the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, and the Boston Coordinating Committee (commonly known as “the Vault”). He also chaired Mass Development (originally the Massachusetts Industrial Finance Agency) for 19 years.
He is the current chairman of the board of Northeastern University’s new School of Social Science, Urban Affairs and Public Policy. He has held leadership roles at the Belmont Hill School, the United Way, the New England Aquarium, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the New England Aquarium, and Harvard University. He and his brother established and endowed the first curatorship in contemporary art at the Museum of Fine Arts. He also led the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ capital campaign for its Angell Memorial Hospital.
The Tau brotherhood is the College’s oldest fraternity, founded in 1902 by Walter Bradley Tripp to support student-run debates, and is the first professional fraternity in the United States to focus on the communicative arts.