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Reunion of former RAs, Jesuit neighbors includes gift to scholarship fund

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

A 20th anniversary reunion of former Newton Campus resident assistants and their Jesuit neighbors produced an evening of rekindled memories, renewed friendships and an $18,000 gift to a Boston College scholarship fund in a tribute to one of their favorite campus mentors.

Twelve of the 18 Newton campus RAs from the 1981-82 academic year joined five former Barat House Jesuit residents and several University administrators at a gathering in Alumni House on Dec. 29. The event was highlighted by the group's contribution to the Frank A. and Mary Grace Capalbo Scholarship Fund, established by former Director of Residential Life Robert A. Capalbo '62 in honor of his parents.

Capalbo was head of the Resident Assistant program in BC's Housing Office 20 years ago and lived on the Newton campus as supervisor of the Newton RA group. Capalbo was recently appointed associate director of corporate and foundation relations in the University Development Office.

"Bob Capalbo was a mentor and a friend to all of us," said George Fischer '83, a former Keyes Hall RA who was one of the reunion's organizers. "He looms pretty large in our lives right to this day. It was his mentoring that made us begin to think about what we were going to do with our lives."

Fischer said that the group of junior and senior dorm monitors assigned to the Newton Campus 20 years ago figured "we were going on our own version of 'Junior Year Abroad.'

"Instead, it turned out to be one of the happiest and most productive times of our lives," said Fischer. "It helped to develop us as leaders and helped us make friendships with each other, with the Jesuits living in Barat House at the time, and especially with Bob Capalbo, that we cherish to this day."

Joseph McKenney III '83, who also helped organize the event, recalled that the Jesuit priests living in Barat House that year "were very good to us. They had the RAs in for dinner a number of times and were very engaging to us.

"Bob Capalbo encouraged this relationship quite a bit and told us over and over, 'The Jesuit Community is a tremendous asset of the University. You won't regret the time that you spend with them.'"

McKenney said that Rev. John A. Dinneen, SJ, one of the Barat House residents that year, married him and his wife Grace and later baptized their first child.

"We had a great relationship with that group," recalled Fr. Dinneen, a former University Chaplain who is now a special assistant in the Development Office. "We regarded them as colleagues. They certainly developed into more than just people who were once friends; they are the 'heart' of our institution.

"They are the kind of graduates that we hope to have at Boston College," added Fr. Dinneen, who was unable to attend the reunion. "They are outstanding people and I am happy to say that I was a part of that group."

Timothy Finnegan '82, a former Duchesne Hall RA who traveled from Virginia to attend the reunion, said, "We were fairly close group then, and we continue to be today. We are already planning for five years from now when we will get everybody together again."


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