Boston College Celebrates Stokes Hall Dedication
The rain fell steadily on the granite and limestone façade but could not dampen the festivities within.
The Boston College family gathered to formally dedicate Stokes Hall on June 7, with more than 150 alumni, parents, and friends lauding the University’s vision to construct an 183,000-square-foot home for the humanities.
The Collegiate Gothic building opened for classes in January thanks to a transformative gift from University Trustee Patrick T. Stokes ’64 and his wife, Anna-Kristina “Aja” Stokes, P’91, ’94, ’97.
“We all appreciate the architecture of this building and its seamless tie to the beautiful Boston College campus,” said Pat Stokes to the crowd seated in the Commons for the evening’s gala dinner. “But the real value of Stokes Hall will be the community of people who come together and interact with one another as they pursue their mission: ever to excel.”
A former president and CEO of Anheuser-Busch, Stokes, together with his family, has long been generous to Boston College, previously creating an endowed scholarship fund for students in need and annually supporting the Pops on the Heights Scholarship Gala, among other prominent initiatives.
The couple’s investment in BC’s new liberal arts center has proven the most inspirational. The convening Light the World campaign co-chairs have sparked ongoing support for this landmark building among the University’s leadership donors—many of whom shared in the evening’s ovations.
Committed to the Humanities
Special guest speaker David McCullough, H’08, declared that the building’s dedication wasn’t simply a cause for celebration at the Heights or in Boston, but rather something to be cherished across the nation.
“Imagine being committed in this way, so physically and conspicuously, to the humanities at a time when the humanities have been too long ignored or let slide,” said the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian, who returned to campus after serving as Commencement speaker in 2008.
Those in attendance were treated to an intimate look at the building’s North and South Wings, with BC students providing tours of Stokes Hall’s 36 classrooms and five academic departments. Also on view were the essential undergraduate programming offices now housed in Stokes, including First Year Experience, the Academic Advising Center, and the PULSE Program for Service Learning.
In addition, several of BC’s leading faculty members, including History Department Chair Robin Fleming and Philosophy Department Chair Arthur Madigan, S.J., offered an inside look at how Stokes Hall is altering the landscape of a BC liberal arts education.
The significance of opening the University’s new academic center is not lost on David Quigley. As dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, he understands the power of uniting more than 200 faculty in classical studies, English, history, philosophy, and theology.
“Today, Boston College aspires to leadership in liberal arts education among American universities,” said Quigley. “Stokes Hall is already helping to achieve that aim by providing a forum for interdisciplinary teaching and research. It’s visible in the way faculty and students are interacting in our state-of-the-art classrooms. It’s also clear in the way they converse outside the classroom, in spaces throughout Stokes designed specifically to facilitate ongoing dialogue and contemplation.”
Share in Stokes Hall
Naming opportunities remain available for many of these signature spaces including the Honors Library, Commons, West Lawn, and Performance and Lecture Hall. Alumni, parents, and friends may also make special annual gifts throughout the University’s Sesquicentennial to be a part of BC history and secure their place on the leadership wall near the Stokes Hall entrance.
At the dedication, University President William P. Leahy, S.J., thanked all those who have already advanced BC’s mission and its Light the World campaign through Stokes Hall support. He demonstrated singular appreciation to the Stokes family by offering a traditional gift of the Society of Jesus: a pure white candle.
“It is a symbol of our gratitude and also a reminder that you have been a light for us, and you are casting such an illumination on our campus and our community,” said Fr. Leahy.