Wiesel cancels popular BU lecture series, cites health reasons

Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, citing health reasons, has canceled the popular fall lecture series at Boston University he has held annually for the past 3½ decades.

“We are joining the many friends of Elie Wiesel out there and here on campus in sending our best wishes to Elie and expressing our regret at the cancellation of this year’s lecture series,” the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies at BU said in a statement on its website.

The lecture series was scheduled to begin Monday night and continue on each of the next two Mondays. Staff at Wiesel’s office in New York City said the lecture series was canceled “due to health reasons,” but declined to comment further.


Campus officials said there is no lecture series more highly anticipated or more popular at Boston University than the talks Wiesel, who is 85, has given each fall since 1976, when he became the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at the university.

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“Its something that many students say was a highlight of their years at BU,” said spokesman Colin Riley, saying that each talk draws a standing-room-only crowd of about 1,500 people.

In June 2011, Wiesel underwent emergency quintuple heart bypass surgery and published a book, “Open Heart,” about the experience. In an interview last year with the Associated Press, he said his doctor asked him to cut back on teaching at BU.

But, he told the AP, he planned to continue with his fall lecture series and said he may eventually teach more courses.

Wiesel wrote movingly of his experience in Nazi death camps in his memoir, “Night,” which has been translated into more than 30 languages, according to his foundation.


In 1986, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at For more coverage of area colleges and universities, go to