Joseph E. Aoun Picks His Best Bostonians of All Time

The Northeastern University president weighs in with his picks, including Abigail Adams and Martin Luther King, Jr.

We’re asking prominent locals who they think are the Best Bostonians of all time. Below, Northeastern University’s Joseph E. Aoun shares his picks. Play along by voting in our online game.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. via Wikimedia Commons

Vannevar Bush

“He was a visionary in his deployment of science and engineering to answer the great challenges of his time—such as winning World War II. And he was instrumental in some of the great advances of the mid-20th-century, including early computing. He showed us how great scientific leaders engage with the world.”

Abigail Adams

“I admire her for her masterful correspondence and for holding views on slavery and women’s rights that were very progressive for her time. We would do well to listen more closely to this founding mother.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I think we can claim the greatest American civil rights leader—indeed, one of the greatest Americans in any field—as an adopted Bostonian. He studied here in the 1950s, met his wife here, and later returned to make a historic speech before the Massachusetts Legislature.”

An Wang

“An immigrant, inventor, and founder of Wang Laboratories, he was an entrepreneur who launched one of the great tech firms of his day.  He was also a committed philanthropist and patron of the arts, supporting hospitals, theater, and education.”

Frederick Law Olmsted

“The  Emerald Necklace is one of the most beautiful treasures of our city, and Olmsted based his landscape architecture firm in Brookline. He literally transformed our country, shaping so many of our most wonderful green spaces.”


Whom would you choose? Help us pick the Best Bostonians of all time.