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Ivy League precautions

Ashley Judd (front) as the younger Vivi in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Gaylord Films' 2002 film 'Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood' directed by Callie Khouri. (Michael Tackett/Warner Brothers, Gaylord Films) Ashley Judd (front) as the younger Vivi in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Gaylord Films' 2002 film "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" directed by Callie Khouri.
By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
August 13, 2009

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If you happen to see Ashley Judd wandering the halls at Harvard, approach at your own peril. The B-list actress, who just enrolled in the Kennedy School’s Mid-Career Master in Public Administration program, asked officials to take additional measures to ensure her privacy while studying at the World’s Greatest University. And the school, not surprisingly, complied. Program director Robin Engel this week sent an e-mail to colleagues detailing the precautions, and it’s safe to say Judd will not be reprising Rodney Dangerfield’s role in ‘‘Back to School.’’ First, the registrar has put a privacy block on Judd’s file, which means no information about the actress will be available to the public. (Without such a block, a student’s name, program, degree received, and dates of attendance are open to anyone who asks for them.) Officials also arranged to have Harvard police present during the program’s coffee breaks in case a member of the media or public shows up and wants to talk about, say, Judd’s performance as a police inspector in the mediocre 2004 movie ‘‘Twisted.’’ Engel encourages everyone at Harvard to play dumb should someone start asking questions about Judd: ‘‘Simply turn the line of questioning back on them by asking who they are and what the purpose is of their query and contact security immediately to have them escorted off the premises if they are here inappropriately.’’ Finally, Engel says all media calls should be directed to Judd’s publicist in Los Angeles, Cara Trippichio. We tried that yesterday, wondering whether Judd, a 1990 University of Kentucky grad whose husband is the handsome Scottish race car driver Dario Franchitti, might have a minute to talk about college life. No luck. ‘‘Thank you for your e-mail,’’ replied the publicist, ‘‘however we are declining this request.’’ (Engel also declined to talk to us yesterday.) Harvard is not alone in hosting celebrity students, of course. Brown University is expected to be welcoming ‘‘Harry Potter’’ actress Emma Watson, who’s far more popular with the paparazzi than Ashley Judd. Without confirming that Watson — a.k.a. Hermione Granger — is actually attending Brown this fall, Mark Nickel, the school’s director of communications, did tell us, ‘‘We do whatever we need to do to ensure safety and privacy, and that applies pretty much to all students.’’ Asked if the school might take extra precautions to protect a young wizard, he responded, ‘‘Sure.’’

MIX-ing it up

After more than 40 years as rock-of-Boston WBCN (104.1) became MIX 104.1 yesterday. The station - formerly known as MIX 98.5 - celebrated its new number on the dial by hosting former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page at its studios (Page and the Ladies were often guests on 98.5), and by hiring a Bono look-alike to hand out cash to random radio listeners.

Mike masters
The Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame has announced this year's honorees. They include Bruins voice Fred Cusick, former WBCN DJ Charles Laquidara, and Emily Rooney of ''Greater Boston.'' The group will be honored Sept. 16 at a gala at the Dedham Hilton.

B's Thornton on Guard

Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton dropped by the Woods Hole Air Force Base yesterday, touring the Coast Guard sector there. Thornton hopped on a response boat and buzzed around Vineyard Sound with chief Josh Lemoi and boatswain’s mate first class Jordan Baptiste, and later took a short flight on a helicopter.

A meeting of movers and shakers

US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke was among the VIPs at the opening of the Asian American Journalists Association National Convention last night at the Seaport Hotel. Locke, who paid a visit to Genzyme earlier in the day, was due to be joined by Vivien Li of the Boston Harbor Association, Boston's chief planner Kairos Shen, Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong, chef Ming Tsai, and the Rev. Cheng Imm Tan.

Home court advantage
Celtics player Eddie House and his son Jalen teamed up with former man-in-green Cedric Maxwell yesterday to dedicate a new basketball court at the home of Waltham resident Jordan Carter. The Carter family won RE/MAX's New England Home Court Contest, which got them a sweet ''home court makeover.'' The players gave Carter's children, Jordan and Sydney, personalized Celtics jerseys and then spent the afternoon leading a youth clinic at the Waltham Boys & Girls Club.

Animal safety
Despite claims made by animal-rights organization PETA, the elephants, bears, giraffes, and monkeys on the local set of ''The Zookeeper'' will be treated just fine, according to the movie's spokeswoman, Tammy Sandler. Yesterday, PETA announced that it had sent letters to ''Zookeeper'' cast members Rosario Dawson, Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Cher, and Sylvester Stallone, asking them to speak out against the hiring of trainer Mark Forbes, who PETA says has a history of mistreating animals on the sets of films. Forbes's resume includes ''Hotel for Dogs,'' ''Marley & Me,'' and Steve Carell's ''Evan Almighty.'' The letter to the actors states, ''Even under the best of circumstances (and even when they're not forced to perform), captivity can be hell for exotic animals. Confined to small, barren cages or imprisoned behind iron bars, captive exotic animals are often forced to sleep on concrete slabs amid their own waste. Deprived of their freedom and independence, they are unable to engage in natural behavior and often suffer from depression and loneliness.'' Tammy Sandler said the film company stands behind Forbes and that like all films that feature animals, ''We have a licensed person from the Humane Society on set.'' ''The Zookeeper'' crew has already started filming animal scenes at the Franklin Park Zoo. Sandler said actors begin filming on the property next week.

Shriver honored at MFA

As of yesterday, the Museum of Fine Arts is displaying black-and-white photographs of Eunice Kennedy Shriver taken by Herb Ritts. Museum spokeswoman Kelly Gifford said the MFA will show the photos through September to honor Shriver, who died Tuesday. Ritts took the shots of Shriver in Los Angeles in 1995. They were brought to the MFA in 2000 and had been in storage.

Read the Names blog at www.boston.com/namesblog. Names can be reached at names@globe.com or at 617-929-8253.

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