Just a couple of years into his retirement, former BAM editor and publisher Norman Boucher passed away in September. We’ll bring you more about him in the next issue, but for now, all of us at the BAM have been thinking about how grateful we are to Norman. In 24 years at the BAM, he never wavered in his commitment to making the magazine as good as it could be, stewarding BAM’s distinctively smart and independent voice with an utter dedication to fairness, truth, great storytelling, and always—always—making a point of putting the reader first. He inspired complete loyalty in his staff, mentored many talented young writers, and could write the heck out of pretty much anything. I got to meet him just once. We had lunch at his favorite taco joint a few months after I settled into the job, and he charmed with tales of hiking exploits in the Southwest, ventures he hoped to continue even as he fought multiple myeloma. I wish he had had more time.
Norman always wanted to create an email version of the BAM, believing it was vital to give readers as many ways to engage with Brown and BAM as possible. That dream is now a reality. After this print issue reaches you, we’ll follow up with an email newsletter that will bring you some of the same stories, and some other stuff, too. As always, we’ll be hoping to hear what you like, what you don’t, and what you’d like to see us do differently.
In 24 years at the BAM, he never wavered in his commitment to making the magazine as good as it could be, with an utter dedication to putting the reader first.
One of the many traditions Norman stewarded was BAM’s annual gift guide, which for decades brought readers a selection of Brown alumni-made gifts and services in each November/December issue. We are taking 2020 off from the guide. While we will still search for ways in which BAM can support Brown entrepreneurs, it didn’t feel right this year to dedicate a big feature largely to consumer goods, even as so many people struggle with the economic crisis wrought by the pandemic. If you’d like it to return next year, let us know.
We received a number of letters reacting to last issue’s story “Justice. Now.” about the country’s national reckoning over race, and we hope to continue to hear from you. BAM is committed to continuing to cover stories around these issues, and we’re collaborating with others at the University who want to hear from alums, too. Brown’s alumni team is collecting stories about what alumni are doing to address anti-Black and systemic racism in their communities. Share what you or a Brunonian you know are doing to help create a more just society at brown.edu/go/alumni-stories. As the initiative notes, it is, after all, at moments like these that the promise to pursue lives of “usefulness and reputation” is most needed.