A Golden Year for Lynch School

A Golden Year for Lynch School

LSOE to celebrate its 50th year on Oct. 24

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

As the Lynch School of Education prepares to celebrate its golden anniversary on Oct. 24, the school's faculty, administration, alumni and partners in education are taking a fond look back at LSOE's first half-century.

Lynch School of Education Prof. Mary Walsh and students (L-R) Marc Banks '04, Courtney Valentine '04, Diana Gonzalez, a doctoral candidate, and Gloria Knight '05. (Photo by William McDonald)
Recollections vary from an early school calendar that included weekly tea receptions and annual class skits to today's multi-faceted outreach community programs and wide variety of academic endeavors. But those who have been associated with the Lynch School agree that the 50-year old institution has made a significant positive impact on teaching - and learning - in Boston, New England and beyond.

The recollections of 16 LSOE community members will be a part of a 15-minute video shown during the Oct. 24 celebration.

In September of 1952, the school opened its doors to 176 students as the University's first undergraduate division to admit both men and women. Today, it has grown to a population of 756 undergraduate and 1,006 graduate students.

The Lynch School has established an international reputation through its Trends In Mathematics and Science Study (formerly known as the Third International Mathematics and Science Study), or TIMSS, which measures math and science achievement in 38 countries, as well as its research on educational testing and policy and recent work in international higher education.

Lynch School of Education 50th Anniversary Celebration

Thursday, Oct. 24

10 a.m. - Faculty/alumni panels on "Teaching and Learning" and "Removing Barriers to Achievement," Robsham Theater.

Noon - Luncheon and class reunions, Heights Room, Lower Campus Dining Hall.

3 p.m. - Liturgy featuring Lynch School alumni, St. Ignatius Church.
4:30 p.m. - Symposium and official 50th anniversary commemoration, Robsham Theater. Celebration to follow in Heights Room, Lower Campus Dining Hall.

Additional information on LSOE anniversary events is available at: /bc_org/avp/soe/50th/default.html.

LSOE's outreach to the community is evident in the Center for Child, Family, and Community Partnerships, as well as the Campus School, which provides educational and therapeutic services for children and youths with multiple disabilities.

The overriding factor in this growth and success, says LSOE Dean Mary Brabeck, remains the Jesuit and Catholic values that its founding dean, the late Rev. Charles Donovan, SJ, espoused a half century ago.

"We are a unit in the University that is committed to enhancing the world and making the world more just," Brabeck said. "Those are not just lofty words. Those are the words that the people who work in Campion Hall live by."

Proposing the school's formation in 1951, Fr. Donovan deemed it "appropriate and wise for Boston College to start a four-year co-educational School of Education." In his letter to then Boston College President William Kelleher, SJ, Fr. Donovan wrote, "There is no reason why in so strongly a Catholic center as Boston and Massachusetts, Boston College should not have a good and flourishing School of Education, to exercise a beneficial influence on education and educational policies in this part of the country."

Later on in his life, Fr. Donovan, who served as the school's founding dean from 1952 until 1965 before moving onto other administrative posts at BC, would refer to the School of Education as "a liberal arts school with a purpose."

Retired professor Mary Griffin, who joined the faculty in 1965, said she was "amazed at the vitality and the enthusiasm, and Fr. Donovan's remark that it was 'a school with a purpose.'

"They were doing their best to attract the brightest and the best to go into education, and believed that someday the School of Education would be the best in the country," she said.

Senior Development Officer James McGahay, a 1961 LSOE graduate, agrees that Fr. Donovan's stamp is still evident at the school. "Things such as his commitment to training teachers who were real humanists, who were very broadly educated, and not just professionally prepared," McGahay said.

There are few better examples of that humanist philosophy than LSOE's collaboration with the Boston Public Schools. At the Thomas Gardner Elementary School in Brighton, BC education faculty helped to establish an extended service effort that now provides mental health counseling, adult education, health care and after-school opportunities in addition to educational services to the school's 450 students and their families.

"I don't think that the Gardner could really exist without the support and collaboration that we receive from Boston College," said school principal Catalina Montes.

"The partnership is an exciting one. We have the student teachers from the Lynch School, we have social workers from BC's Graduate School of Social Work, we have law students, we have students from the Connell School of Nursing. We have tutors in the afternoon that come from the different schools of BC."

The outreach effort pays dividends to Boston College as well, notes Prof. Mary Walsh (LSOE), a founder of the Gardner collaborative, who sees the partnership as a learning experience for BC students and faculty alike. "The importance of the partnership really is to connect the thinking with the doing," Walsh said.

As its academic programming and standing have grown, the LSOE facilities at Campion Hall also have undergone improvement and expansion. Originally built in 1955, Campion was completely renovated and expanded during Prof. Diana Pullin's tenure as dean from 1987-1994.

"One of the goals that we tried to achieve was to ensure a real healthy mix in the use of space so that faculty and students would have many opportunities for natural interactions," Pullin recalled. "I think that was quite fitting, given the commitment we have, I think quite unique in a school of education, to a close relationship between faculty and students."

Along with its new quarters, LSOE has continued to attract a brighter and more representative student population. "Since I've been here [1988], the School of Education has become - especially the staff - much more diverse, in terms of gender, in terms of ethnicity, in terms of the kinds of things that people think are important to study," said Associate Dean for Students and Outreach John Cawthorne.

In November of 2000, the School of Education was renamed in honor of Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch, University benefactors with a long history of financial support of education. "The Lynches' gift represents the fact that Carolyn and Peter think that investment in education at Boston College is a good investment," said Brabeck. "It was a statement by a major figure in the world of business, that said, 'Education is important. Education has value. Education is worth putting my name on.'

"We have superb students," Brabeck added. "It is heartening to get to know the students who are entering the human service professions, the teaching professionals.

"They're not only bright - and they're very bright, eager to learn and highly motivated - they're also compassionate and they come here because of our mission; that is, trying to make the world more just.

"They believe that that is work worth doing," she said.


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