Skip to main content

Breadcrumb navigation:

Pops Balloon Drop

It was a record-breaking night for a favorite BC tradition on September 30 as the Pops on the Heights Barbara and Jim Cleary Scholarship Gala, now in its 24th year, raised $9 million for student scholarships. Read more.

The Cleary Legacy


The late Barbara and Jim Cleary founded the annual Pops on the Heights scholarship gala in 1993. Together they helped it grow into the University’s largest annual fundraiser, accumulating nearly $22 million to fund more than 800 scholarships.

A long-time supporter of Boston College, Jim Cleary was a beloved presence on campus and a tireless worker in support of his alma mater. As a trustee, he chaired BC’s development committee for 22 years and helped to incorporate a number of innovative fundraising incentives, including the Fides and President’s Circle societies.

As a member of Saint Edwards Church in Palm Beach, Florida and Our Lady of the Assumption in Osterville, Barbara was also a Dame in the Order of Malta and organized many pilgrimages to Lourdes in France to heal the sick. She was also involved in the Children's Museum in Boston.

The Clearys were lifetime trustees of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and active in a number of other charities, including the American Cancer society, the Inner City Scholarship Fund, the American Ireland Fund, and the Boston Public Library Foundation.

The couple made one of Boston College’s first million-dollar commitments to establish the James F. Cleary Chair in Finance in the University’s Carroll School of Management. In 2000, BC established the James F. Cleary 'Masters' Award that is given annually to a fundraising volunteer who best exemplifies the creativity, dedication, and leadership shown by Jim Cleary over the years.

Light the World Campaign