'Ever to Excel' Passes the Test

Campaign success seen as bolstering academics, student life, research

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

Boston College's "Ever to Excel" campaign has lived up to its motto, significantly surpassing its original $400 million goal and strengthening the University's academic future, as well as its standing among the leading institutions of higher education.

The recently completed six-year fundraising drive, the most ambitious in the University's history, has generated more than $441 million in gifts from more than 90,000 donors. See sidebar.

This generosity has been evidenced in the naming of BC's schools of education, nursing and advancing studies, the addition of endowed academic chairs and professorships, and new or renovated campus buildings. Less visible, but no less important, is the increased financial support for students and enhanced programs promoting research, student formation and Boston College's Jesuit-Catholic character.

University administrators and campaign leaders say the success of Ever to Excel will enable Boston College to build on the progress it has made during the past decade, even as the University embarks on a major planning and assessment initiative.

"The successful completion of our Ever to Excel campaign will forever affect Boston College, and we owe so much to our alumni and friends for their tremendous support," said University President William P. Leahy, SJ, last week.

The campaign, under the stewardship of Fr. Leahy and co-chairs University Chancellor J. Donald Monan, SJ, and BC trustees Jack Connors Jr. '63, Geoffrey Boisi '69, Gregory Barber '69 and Peter Bell '86, originally set goals of $260 million for the BC endowment and $140 million for construction, current-use priorities and other needs.

Among other highlights, Ever to Excel saw three schools named as a result of major gifts: the Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education, the William F. Connell School of Nursing and the James A. Woods, SJ, College of Advancing Studies, the latter through a gift by Katherine and Robert Devlin in the name of the school's long-time dean.

More than $80 million was raised to endow faculty teaching positions, enabling the University to honor distinguished faculty within its ranks and to recruit prominent scholars elsewhere in academia. The new endowed chairs and professorships encompass fields and disciplines such as Western culture, education, philosophy, computer science, political science, and social work.

Another $71 million of the campaign donations were allocated to student scholarships and financial assistance, far surpassing the drive's initial $50 million financial aid goal. These funds will enable BC to continue its "need-blind" admission policy.

Other aspects of the University's academic mission that will benefit from the successful campaign include undergraduate research assistantships, student retreats and volunteer efforts in the United States and abroad.

The Center for Ignatian Spirituality, and other programs enhancing Boston College's Jesuit and Catholic mission and heritage, also received support through contributions by the University's Jesuit Community, among other benefactors.

Ever to Excel also has helped bring physical changes to the BC campus: Major renovations were made to Higgins Hall, which houses the Biology and Physics department, and a $15 million commitment from The Yawkey Foundation will support the upcoming construction of a new varsity athletics center.

Campaign leaders said that it took the cooperation of every sector of the Boston College community to make the campaign such a resounding success.

"The alumni, the trustees, faculty, staff, corporations and foundations, parents, and the Boston College Jesuit community, all came together to contribute to this effort," said Senior Vice President for University Relations Mary Lou DeLong.

Alumni donors contributed $259 million to the campaign, nearly 60 percent of the total. The majority of those gifts - nearly 85 percent - were $1,000 or less.

"Most of the money came from people who were grateful for their own Boston College experience," said campaign co-chairman Connors, who also chairs the University's Board of Trustees. "I think that this is the most powerful type of gift, because it comes from people who feel so strongly about Boston College that they want others to have a similar experience.

"This reinforces the thought that people believe in the future of the University," Connors said.

Corporations and foundations provided an additional 20 percent of the gifts, while parents and friends contributed another 20 percent of the total. The University's faculty and staff contributed over $2.7 million towards Ever to Excel.

"We could not have done it without all of these gifts combined," DeLong said. "You not only need big gifts, but you need everybody from the University's various constituencies making a gift, to make a campaign successful. 'Team effort' would be a very accurate way to describe how this success came about."


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