Art Museum To Bear McMullen Name

By Sandra Howe
Staff Writer

The Boston College Museum of Art will be renamed the Charles S. and Isabella V. McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College at a June 10 dedication ceremony, in honor of the late parents of Trustee Associate John J. McMullen.

McMullen - who is making a gift to the museum in his parents' memory - and his family will join University President J. Donald Monan, SJ, and members and guests of the Boston College community at the event, which will take place in the museum at noon.

"Dr. McMullen's friendship with Boston College began when his son, Peter, entered the University in 1977," Fr. Monan said. "Dr. McMullen is one of the most versatile and accomplished persons who has served on our Board of Trustees: career Naval officer, marine architect and engineer, art connoisseur, professional sporting team owner, business executive, ceaseless reader, philanthropist, friend to people of every station in life. In 1986, John honored his earliest Jesuit friend at Boston College by establishing the Sidney McNeil, SJ, Room in Bapst Library.

"Despite all of his accomplishments, it is indicative of his own outlook that it is his parents' names rather than his own that will grace our Art Museum."

According to McMullen - owner of the National Hockey League's New Jersey Devils - it was his long association with Boston College as a trustee and parent, and his appreciation of Fr. Monan's presidency that inspired his gift to the University.

John J. McMullen.

"I've long had an interest in museums, art and collections," said McMullen, who joined the Board of Trustees in 1979. "As one approaches the golden years, you tend to think back to beginnings and that, for me, means my mother and father. They would be very proud to have their names identified with BC's beautiful Museum of Art."

An avid art collector for many years, McMullen's interest in marine art reflects his family and professional background. His father owned a small ship repair company and encouraged McMullen to join the Navy in 1934. He rose to the rank of commander before leaving active duty in 1954, when he became chief of the Office of Ship Construction and Repairs for the US Maritime Administration. In 1958, he founded John J. McMullen Associates, Inc., a New York naval architecture, marine engineering and transportation consulting firm, which he sold in 1988.

McMullen and his wife Jacqueline have three children. He has owned the New Jersey Devils since 1981 and owned the Houston Astros professional baseball team from 1979 to 1994. He also served as chief executive officer of United States Lines and Burmah Oil Tankers.

McMullen holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the United States Naval Academy, a master's degree in naval architecture and marine engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

"It means so much to have a name for the museum," said Museum Director Assoc. Prof. Nancy Netzer (Fine Arts). "This kind of support is very important and we now take a seat next to all the other great university museums in the country, even though we're a relative newcomer."

The museum has been housed in Devlin Hall since October 1993, and has received critical acclaim for its exhibitions, including the recent show "America's Eye: Irish Paintings from the Collection of Brian P. Burns."

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