There was a greater appreciation than usual for the man who received this year’s David Brudnoy Memorial Award—Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick—which was presented by the Phi Alpha Tau fraternity on May 1.
Several days ago Patrick steered the state through an unprecedented terrorist attack tragedy and police manhunt that locked down the metropolitan area for nearly 24 hours on April 19.
“He had to make some very tough decisions that turned out to be exactly the right decisions,” said Emerson President Lee Pelton when introducing Patrick to a crowd at the Bordy Theater.
The award, named after late radio talk show host David Brudnoy, goes to individuals who have done a great service to the Boston community, and use their leadership to further excellence in communications or the arts.
“It was important for me to acknowledge what we did know as we learned it,” Patrick said, “and what we came to know about the nature of the attacks, and who was behind it.”
Pelton praised Patrick for leading the Commonwealth “superbly and with vision and passion in the toughest of times.” He also thanked the governor for calling him shortly after the explosions to ask about the eight Emerson students who sustained injuries, and were treated and released from the hospital.
“He called simply to find out who they are, how they were doing, and how the Emerson community was doing,” Pelton said. “We are very, very grateful, Governor, for your attention.”
Jon Allen ’14, president of Phi Alpha Tau, said Patrick has now become a member of the fraternity family.
“We are healing. We are strong. We are ‘Boston Strong’ and we believe David Brudnoy would be proud,” said Brendan Scully ’15, a fraternity brother who ran the marathon, while speaking with fellow runner and fraternity treasurer Christian Bergen-Aragon ’15.
Patrick turned his praise to the scores of citizens who helped each other in a time of need.
“The countless acts of kindness and grace that people showed each other, and ultimately showed to all of the world—that is the best of who we are,” Patrick said. “As we do that, I think not only does it help us heal, it helps us be a better community, a better city, and a better Commonwealth.”
“I hope we hold onto that,” he said, “because I feel quite confident that David Brudnoy would want that.”
Brudnoy was a popular radio talk show host on WBZ-AM who died in 2004 at the age of 64. He received an honorary degree from Emerson in 1996 and became a brother of Phi Alpha Tau in 2001. Brudnoy forged a friendship with the brothers and regularly invited students to sit in on his radio shows.
Not long before his death, he willed to the fraternity a scholarship in his parents’ name.
Previous recipients of the Brudnoy Award are Robert L. Beal, president of the Beal Companies; Jack Williams, anchor on WBZ-TV; Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino; Peter Meade, director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority and former Emerson College Trustee; and Paul S. Grogan, president and CEO of The Boston Foundation.