Boston College Club: Twenty Years of Service
When the Boston College Club opened in 1998, co-founder John “Jack” Joyce ’61, MBA’70, H’16, did not imagine that in 20 years, millions of dollars in financial aid would benefit dozens of talented undergraduates.
“I knew we’d have an impact, and that young people would be given the incredible opportunity to attend BC thanks to our members. But we thought it would be ten years before we were able to give back. Instead it was two,” remembers Joyce, chair of the club’s board of governors.
The club, on Federal Street in Boston’s financial district, was created to provide BC alumni, faculty, and staff with a sophisticated location for business and social gatherings while also supporting the University. The agreement with Club Corporation of America, which manages the club, ensured that a portion of profits would be donated to BC—but first the club had to turn a profit, and that was by no means guaranteed.
The club’s success prompted the establishment in 2002 of the Boston College Club Scholarship Fund, which provides support to deserving students from inner-city Boston. To date, the fund has distributed 98 scholarships to students with high financial need.
“I went to BC on the GI Bill myself,” says Joyce, a U.S. Navy veteran who grew up in Dorchester. “I didn’t have any money; that was the only way I could ever have attended.” He’d never thought himself qualified for college and had had little preparation, but was accepted on a provisional basis. “They told me if I failed a single course, I was out,” he recalls. Instead, he made the dean’s list by his junior year, was elected president of his senior class, and received the University’s highest student honor at graduation, the Edward H. Finnegan, S.J., Award, given to the graduating senior who best exemplifies Boston College’s motto “Ever to Excel.”
Joyce recalls his parents sitting in the front row as he was given that award. “They’d never been out of Dorchester. I walked down and handed the award to them, and it was one of the happiest days of my life.”
Joyce’s own struggles to attend college and his transformational experience at BC made him determined to give back to the University and help kids whose opportunities were limited, as his had been, by lack of financial resources. With friends Owen Lynch ’56, JD’59, P’90, ’92, and John “Jack” MacKinnon ’62, P’89, ’90, ’92, ’99, Joyce forged a new kind of university-affiliated partnership, fiscally separate from but benefitting Boston College. “We were the pioneers in this,” says Joyce, who believes it was the first such affiliation of its kind. Since then, its success has since inspired many similar ventures. “I’m thrilled we’ve been so successful—it’s all a result of our passion for BC.”