Even as a freshman, Theresa McLoud knew she wanted to be a doctor. But at Boston College in 1960, women weren’t even admitted to the College of Arts and Sciences, much less the premed program.
Undeterred, McLoud enrolled in the School of Education and took biology and other science courses on the side—one of only three women to do so at the time.
She went on to earn her medical degree and is now vice chair for education in Massachusetts General Hospital’s radiology department and a professor at Harvard Medical School. Looking back, she credits her success in part to the warm and supportive welcome she received from forward-thinking BC faculty members and her fellow students.
“The men in my classes knew how serious we were and they respected us for it,” she says. And even though she was not officially premed, she says the program’s advisor, Fr. George Drury, was generous with his advice and helped guide her studies.
Now McLoud is helping the next generation of doctors pursue their passion at BC through annual gifts and an endowed scholarship for premed students. Most recently, she’s made a bequest in her will to enhance her scholarship fund, helping even more BC students follow in her footsteps.
“I consider my bequest another extension of my giving,” says McLoud. “I wanted to do something lasting and support the University that gave me the opportunity to have such a satisfying career.”
After she graduated in 1964, McLoud went on to McGill Faculty of Medicine for her medical degree and a residency in diagnostic radiology. She then completed a thoracic imaging fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine and returned to Boston, where she joined the radiology department at Mass General.
Although she originally told her professors at BC that she didn’t want to pursue a degree in education, she was appointed to the faculty at Harvard Medical School—and became the first woman in Mass General’s radiology department to attain the rank of full professor at HMS. In her dual role as doctor and teacher, she uses skills she learned at BC to help communicate her excitement for radiology with medical residents and students.
“I’ve adapted the same educational methodology that I experienced at BC for medical education,” says McLoud. “I love engaging residents, encouraging them to ask questions, and helping them develop their skills, just as my mentors did for me.”
Her career has taken her from Minnesota to Mongolia, and so far she has visited every continent but Antarctica. But no matter where she studied, lectured, or taught, she has always remembered the foundation she received at the Heights.
“There are individuals who mentor you and institutions—like Boston College—that nurture you,” explains McLoud. “I believe in giving back.”
SHARING THE DREAM
In 2002, she furthered her commitment by establishing the Malcolm McLoud ’28 Scholarship Fund, named for her father, a BC alumnus and assistant professor of classics.
“Many fathers, even those who were physicians themselves, didn’t encourage their daughters’ choice to study medicine. My dad, however, was very supportive,” recalls McLoud. “With this scholarship, which provides financial aid to an undergraduate enrolled in the premedical program, I hope to honor my dad’s commitment to education and help someone pursue a career in medicine.”
When McLoud celebrated her 50th reunion, she decided to deepen her connection to Boston College by naming her family’s fund as a beneficiary of her will and becoming a Shaw Society member. She says she’s particularly pleased to support BC’s interdisciplinary approach to science education, including the proposed Institute for Integrated Science and Society.
“Science is important, but the liberal arts provide a deeper understanding that can be especially helpful for students pursuing medical careers,” she says, noting that well-rounded students tend to fare better in the rigorous and highly specialized world of medicine.
“The University today is a true center of excellence, and I am pleased that my legacy gift will help that tradition continue for years to come.”