(2-17-99) -- Boston College's School of Education will be named the Peter S. and Carolyn A. Lynch School of Education in recognition of the couple's endowment gift of more than $10 million, the largest individual gift ever made to Boston College.
Peter Lynch '65, a University trustee, vice chairman of Fidelity Management and Research Co. and America's most successful mutual fund manager, said that targeting SOE was a critical component of the gift.
"We could have invested in other projects or disciplines," he said, "but Carolyn and I have been very involved in education, and we know too well that there is a serious problem in some of America's primary and secondary schools. While our colleges and universities are the envy of the world, the schools in many of our inner cities are in trouble, with drop-out rates that reach 50 percent. This country's future depends on finding ways to strengthen pre-college educational programs."
"In addition to being a top-25 school nationally," said Carolyn Lynch, "the Boston College School of Education is one of the rare leading schools of education that trains teachers and conducts important research. For us, BC's special strength is that it's helping children to succeed at the primary and secondary levels. BC generates teachers who do this every day."
In acknowledging the gift, University President William P. Leahy, SJ, said that Boston College is "very grateful to Carolyn and Peter. Boston College helped equip Peter Lynch with the professional and analytical skills necessary to become one of the nation's best stock analysts. He has a well developed conscience and a deep sense of compassion, as well as the ability and desire to help those in need."
Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties David R. Burgess added, "This great gift will enhance the status of the University. It provides a wonderful opportunity for SOE to capitalize on its success and advance further into the ranks of the nation's best schools of education."
The Lynches have close connections to Boston College and to the field of education. Peter's father, Thomas, earned his master's degree at BC and taught on the Mathematics faculty for six years. Carolyn's father was a school teacher and administrator. She is president of the Lynch Foundation, which funds innovative programs in education, and sits on the board of BC's Campus School, which provides teacher training, research and education for Boston-area children with special needs. Additionally, one of the Lynches' three daughters, Anne Carolyn, is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences.
"As the child of an educator, and as someone who has spent years working to improve education," said Peter Lynch, "I know the difference education makes in people's lives. And I feel a particular sense of gratitude to Boston College -- for what it has done for me, and for what it has done for so many others. Boston College changed my life."
SOE Dean Mary Brabeck noted that children will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the Lynch gift. "For those of us who have devoted our lives to education and to improving the prospects of children, this gift has particular meaning," she said. "Peter is known for the high quality of his investment decisions. He has chosen not only to invest in Boston College's School of Education, but more importantly in the children who are at the heart of our mission. We hope that our graduates - teachers, psychologists, researchers and administrators around the nation and the world - view this gift as a tribute to their work: a great investor's appreciation for work that improves lives."
Income from the Lynch gift will support the entire range of Boston College School of Education programs, including teacher preparation, graduate study, research, scholarships and future initiatives.
Current programs include the Gardner Extended Services Project, in which faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from the School of Education and other BC professional schools work with children, teachers, parents and the community of the Gardner Elementary School in Allston, both to support education and to help provide a range of social services, from counseling to health care. Other SOE initiatives include the nationally known Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation and Educational Policy, which directed the Third International Mathematics and Science Study, a comprehensive, world-wide test of student math and science achievement. SOE also features the Charles F. Donovan, SJ, Teaching Scholars Program, which prepares teachers for urban schools, and the Catholic School Leadership Program, which trains administrators for parochial schools.
The Lynches are long-time benefactors of Boston College, and of education. They have made gifts to support the renovation and expansion of Fulton Hall, and to endow the John J.L. Collins, SJ, Chair in International Finance in the Carroll School of Management. Peter Lynch is a founder of the Urban Catholic Teacher Corps, a program co-sponsored by BC and the Archdiocese of Boston that offers beginning teachers an opportunity to serve in inner-city parochial schools. He also is chairman of the Archdiocese of Boston's Inner City Scholarship Fund.
"The crisis in our primary and secondary schools is something society needs to deal with," said Peter Lynch. "There used to be good jobs in this country for people who didn't have advanced skills and training. But those jobs are disappearing. And with every advance in information technology, with every lathe operator who's replaced by a computer, the educational crisis deepens, because the gap between workforce skills and workplace demand grows wider. We have a 4 percent unemployment rate today, which is great. But it's a tragedy when our young people don't have the ability to land the positions that are open, and when people who are willing and able to work hard simply lack the education that will qualify them for decent jobs.
"Carolyn and I wanted to invest this money in the field to which our parents committed their professional lives and where we know it will bring the greatest return on investment. Improvement in primary and secondary school education certainly isn't the only answer to our nation's complex problems, but it's one of the important answers."
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