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Pops on the Heights

The 23rd annual Pops on the Heights: The Barbara and Jim Cleary Scholarship Gala smashed fundraising records and left a packed Conte Forum cheering for more. Thousands swayed and sang along to the music of special guest artists Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, and Judith Hill, the powerhouse vocalists in the Oscar-winning film Twenty Feet from Stardom—and known for their work in countless hits by everyone from Michael Jackson to the Rolling Stones.

This year’s gala raised a record $7.5 million, which will fund scholarships for 275 deserving Boston College students. Since the first Pops on the Heights concert in 1993, more than 1,200 scholarships have made it possible for talented young men and women to benefit from a BC education.

View more than 200 photos from the concert.

Thank You to Our Pops 2015 Leadership Team


Chuck Clough '64 and Phil Schiller '82

Honorary Co-chairs

Drake Behrakis '86
Kara Cleary '84, MA'91

John Fish P'13
Janice Gipson '77

Dave O’Connor '86, P'16, '18
Sue Shea '76, MS'81

Parent Co-chairs
Vice Chair

Patricia and Marc Brutten P'16, '18

Pat Carney '70

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.

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