A Daughter’s Memoir of B.U.’s Dr. John Silber

This week on The Learning Curve, Cara and Gerard talk with Rachel Silber Devlin about her memoir, Snapshots of My Father, John Silber, which captures the wide-ranging and remarkable life of the late philosopher, teacher, and president of Boston University. Devlin discusses how her father became known as a vigorous proponent of a traditional liberal arts education, improved the prestige and endowment at B.U., and became a national leader in K-12 education reform. She offers listeners a unique, personal look at a man and an educational leader who had a deep commitment to academic quality, music, and the arts, and capped his career by authoring books on the absurdity of modern architectural fads and the ethics of Immanuel Kant.

Stories of the Week

Cara discussed a New Yorker article that chronicles the decline of the English major and the study of humanities in general. In a society that seems increasingly focused on STEM careers, she wonders what we may be losing when we have so few students studying the humanities. Gerard discussed an article at mysantonio.com noting how that Texas city was not only among the first to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education but had welcomed Black students to the San Antonio Tech High School even before that decision.


Rachel Silber Devlin is one of John Silber’s six daughters, as well as a wife, mother, homemaker, and author of the memoir, Snapshots of My Father, John Silber. She divides her time between Texas and Massachusetts, the states where her children and grandchildren live. Her commentary “John Silber, my father, never caved,” on the importance of free speech in higher education, was published February 26 in CommonWealth Magazine.

Tweet of the Week


Subscribe to The Learning Curve in Apple Podcasts (and leave a 5-star review, please!), or by RSS feed. For all our podcasts in one place, subscribe to the Ricochet Audio Network Superfeed in Apple Podcasts or by RSS feed.