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Travel mileage rate set for 2004

With the recent release by the Internal Revenue Service of the 2004 standard mileage rates, effective immediately the reimbursement for use of a private automobile on University business will be 37.5 cents per mile.

More information on mileage allowance is available through the on-line University Policies and Procedures Manual, at www.bc.edu/bc_org/evp/polpr/V/5-200-050/5-200-050.html.

Robsham Theater spring schedule

A production of the classic Cole Porter musical "Anything Goes" and a staging of the Pulitzer Prize-winning "How I Learned to Drive" are among the highlights of the Robsham Theater schedule this semester.

"Anything Goes," which includes such songs as "Let's Misbehave" and "I Get a Kick Out of You," will run from April 28 to May 2. Assoc. Prof. John Houchin (Theater) will direct the production.

Paula Vogel's darkly comic "How I Learned to Drive," which won the 1998 Pulitzer for drama, will be presented March 18-20 by the Department of Theatre Workshop at the Bonn Studio Theater in Robsham.

Other productions taking place this semester will be "Abingdon Square" (Feb. 18-22), "Three Days of Rain" (March 25-27) and "Finer Noble Cases" (April 1-3).

Robsham events this semester also include the Organization of Latin American Affairs Fashion Show (Feb. 14), the Boston College Dance Ensemble Spring Dance Show (March 11-13), the annual "Artists for AIDS" benefit (March 14), a BC bOp! concert (March 20) and "A Festival of Dance" on May 8 and 9.

For more information on Robsham events, see www.bc.edu/robshaminfo.

College of Arts and Sciences

Tough questions, hard answers

Boston College seismologists at the Weston Observatory were hard at work during the recent Christmas-New Year's break, monitoring the massive Dec. 26 earthquake in Bam, Iran, as well as a temblor in central California on Dec. 22.

While both earthquakes were of similar magnitude, notes Prof. Alan Kafka (Geology and Geophysics), their impact was markedly, and tragically, different: Some 35,000 people are estimated to have died in Bam, which suffered major devastation, while the California 'quake caused two deaths and relatively minor damage.

A major reason for this difference is the lack of safe building methods and regulation, Kafka says, echoing other experts who cite the cheap, jerry-rigged homes and poorly constructed additions put up to handle housing demands in developing countries like Iran. This potentially hazardous development is often compounded by the failure of authorities to enforce building codes.

"As tragic as the Iran earthquake was," said Kafka, "there is hope that, in the future, lives can be saved by better urban planning in earthquake-prone regions, and by making buildings more resistant to collapse when they are shaken by earthquakes."

Kafka has put together a Web page that includes seismographic images of the two earthquakes, at www2.bc.edu/~kafka/quakes/SanSimeon/San_Simeon.html.

Voice of youth

Freshman Estefania "Stephanie" Alves of Dorchester, who attends Boston College as a recipient of a Mayor's Scholarship, was the leadoff speaker for Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino's "State of the City" address at John Hancock Hall on Jan. 13.

A political science and communication major, Alves opened the ceremony with a welcome address in which she hailed Menino's commitment to the city's youth as well as his role in the overall improvement in the quality of life for all residents of Boston over the past decade.

She spoke before a standing-room-only crowd that included Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, key state legislators, dozens of Boston's neighborhood leaders, and media members from throughout the region.

"From Dorchester to Roxbury, from Jamaica Plain to East Boston, the residents of our city are much happier now than they were 10 years ago," Alves said. "That keeps us all going."

Alves served as a Dorchester representative to the Mayor's Youth Council when she was a student at the city's Jeremiah Burke High School. She was instrumental in the establishment of a local radio station for teenage girls that will go on the air in February. "The music industry tends to put girls - especially teenage girls - down," Alves said. In addition to music programming, the new radio outlet will focus on issues facing local girls in the 13-18 age bracket, she said.

Alves took the stage for the State of the City event only two weeks after undergoing knee surgery to repair an injury suffered while playing soccer for Burke High. "He [Menino] has done so much for me, nothing was going to keep me from doing this," she said. "I spoke about how dedicated the Mayor was to the youth of our city and how that related to my own life - how he helped me on the Youth Council, with the radio station and the scholarship.

"I said, 'Maybe I can be mayor some day.'"

Carroll School of Management

An air of success

The weather may have been ice-cold, but the atmosphere was warm at last week's Boston College Chief Executive Club luncheon, sponsored by the Carroll School of Management and held at the Boston Harbor Hotel, as James F. Parker, chief executive officer of Southwest Airlines - the nation's only profit-making domestic air carrier - offered some simple advice for the audience.

"Remember the golden rule," said Parker, whose low-pricing, customer service and airport location strategies have helped keep Southwest in the profit-making category for 30 consecutive years. "Treat your customers the way you want to be treated yourself."

Southwest Airlines, founded as a Texas intrastate passenger carrier in 1971, had revenue in excess of $5.5 billion during the last fiscal year and its total stock market value exceeded that of all other major airlines combined.

"Hire good people and let them do good things," Parker told the audience, which included University President William P. Leahy, SJ, University Trustees chairman Jack Connors, Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas Finneran, state Attorney General Thomas Reilly, New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft and some 300 other business and corporate leaders.
Parker noted that Southwest has never had an employee layoff in its three-plus decades of operation, even during the post-Sept. 11 period when most domestic airlines experienced a severe drop-off in passenger numbers.

When one luncheon guest asked Parker about his company's favorable relationship with employees, he deferred the question to a nearby table of Southwest staffers.

"We love Southwest Airlines," Dallas-based employee Linda Rutherford told the group, "and Southwest loves us back."

 

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