New Guidebook Offers More Than Just Names and Places

New Guidebook Offers More Than Just Names and Places

Updated pamphlet gives readers quick, enjoyable glance at BC history

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

A portable guide to the Boston College campus has been penned by University Historian Thomas O'Connor to help visitors to The Heights tell their Devlins from their Gassons.

University Historian Thomas H. O'Connor
The fact-filled if decidedly non-glossy guidebook in a distinctive gold cover will be distributed by campus gate attendants and placed in informational packets for visitors and new employees.

O'Connor said his aim was to convey the campus' rich heritage in a pamphlet that would be inexpensive to produce and easy to carry.

"I wanted something they can put in their pockets," he said. "My ongoing approach was one building per page, and no more than three paragraphs an entry. This is a handy and practical overview of the campus.

"I had the parents in mind. I did the buildings they would be interested in."

The 42-page pamphlet includes maps of the Chestnut Hill and Newton campuses and thumbnail photos and descriptions of the buildings therein.

A reader learns of the scientific research once done in Devlin Hall; of the martyrdom of the Elizabethan saint for whom the Lynch School of Education's Campion Hall is named; of the type of granite in O'Neill Library, and the style of marble in the altar of Trinity Chapel.

The guidebook is modeled on a brochure, "Boston College, Yesterday and Today," done 25 years ago by longtime Humanities Series Director Francis Sweeney, SJ, said O'Connor, who updated the text to reflect the architectural additions to campus in the past quarter-century. Public Affairs Director Jack Dunn and Public Affairs Assistant Amanda Russo helped in production of the new booklet.

Several thousand copies have been printed of the guidebook, which has been distributed to members of the Boston College Jesuit Community, and to alumni donors and parents at the "Conversations with the President" weekend hosted by the Development Office.

"A few weeks ago, the secretary of the Classics Department called to say visitors were coming from Greece, and to ask if we had a small history of the college they could read," said O'Connor. He said the new guidebook proved just the ticket.

O'Connor took his bachelor's degree in 1949 and master's degree in 1950 from Boston College and has taught history at his alma mater ever since.
It's easy to wax lyrical over The Heights, said the scholar widely considered the dean of Boston historians.
"The Gothic style - it's traditional, it's romantic," said O'Connor. "It bespeaks education in the best style of Cardinal Newman. It's the Gothic splendor that people, in their romantic notions, imagine that a college should look like."


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