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Light the World campaign

Boston College’s record-breaking Light the World campaign raised a total of $1.605 billion, exceeding its goal by more than $100 million, the University announced today.

The campaign, one of the most successful in higher education this decade, featured gifts from 140,000 donors and more than tripled the results of BC’s Ever to Excel campaign, which raised $441 million in 2003.

Publicly launched in 2008 to support the priorities identified in the University’s 2006 Strategic Plan, Light the World greatly enhanced student financial aid through the establishment of 380 financial aid funds and more than 1,000 current-use scholarships for BC students. This year, Boston College will award $114 million in undergraduate need-based financial aid and remain one of only 19 private universities that are need-blind in admissions and meet the full demonstrated need of all accepted students.

The campaign also established 31 full and assistant endowed professorships, two endowed deanships and 10 major research centers, including the Institute for the Liberal Arts; Shea Center for Entrepreneurship; Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics; Corcoran Center for Real Estate and Urban Action; Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy; Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy; Lynch Leadership Academy; Roche Center for Catholic Education; McGillycuddy-Logue Center for Undergraduate Global Studies, and the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies.

In addition, the Light the World campaign enabled the construction of Stokes Hall, the new McMullen Museum of Art at 2101 Commonwealth Avenue, the new residence hall at 2150 Commonwealth Avenue and the new academic wing at St. Mary’s Hall, among other notable campus improvements. It also provided endowed funds in support of student formation programs, including retreats and service initiatives, and endowed head coaching positions in hockey and basketball as well as other projects in support of BC’s intercollegiate and intramural athletics programs.

Light the World also set new levels of alumni and parent engagement—doubling annual philanthropic revenue from $60 million in 2005 to $120 million today and positioning Boston College among the top 5 percent of private college and universities nationwide in annual contributions—all of which has helped the University to attract the best students and faculty and improve in the U.S. News rankings.

“There are many reasons why Light the World proved to be such a success, beginning with the 140,000 alumni, parents and friends who gave to the campaign and the countless volunteers whose service was essential to the work of the campaign,” said Senior Vice President for University Advancement James Husson. “Light the World resonated with our community on multiple levels and generated a palpable enthusiasm for the University’s goals and priorities. Whether it is students who would not be at Boston College without gifts to Light the World, faculty whose teaching and research has been funded by the campaign, or buildings and spaces that the campaign brought to fruition, these are gifts of real consequence, amplifying our heritage as a Jesuit, Catholic university and reflecting our shared desire to make the world a better place.”

“The impact of the Light the World campaign will affect Boston College for decades to come in the quality of faculty and students and the overall BC experience,” said University President William P. Leahy, S.J. “We are grateful for the support of all of our benefactors in making it a success.”

Both Fr. Leahy and Husson say that despite the successful completion of the Light the World campaign, the University’s commitment to securing annual gifts, planned gifts and gifts to the endowment, never ends. They point to the need for additional resources for financial aid and new academic and athletics facilities as examples of strategic priorities that will require ongoing fundraising success.

“We have terrific momentum coming out of the campaign and we are excited to build on that momentum,” said Husson. “The best way to honor those who have given so much to Light the World is to remain focused on the opportunities that lie ahead for Boston College.  While the campaign may have concluded, the call to be a ‘light to the world’ is timeless.”

Learn more about the campaign at the Light the World website.

—Jack Dunn | News & Public Affairs