'97-98 Fundraising Set Record

Boston College enjoyed a record fund-raising year in 1997-98, garnering $28.7 million in cash gifts and $62.6 million in pledges, while receiving news of the largest personal bequest in school history.

The pledge total of more than $62 million outstripped the previous one-year total of $34.6 million set 10 years before. The previous record for cash gifts, $27 million, had been set one year before.

Boston College received the largest bequest in history - more than $3 million - from the late John H. Rourke '41, longtime owner of Rourke's Pharmacy in Brighton, and his sister, the late Mary Rourke.

Vice President for University Relations Mary Lou DeLong credited the hard work of volunteer fundraisers for the record level of giving. "The support of Boston College parents, alumni and friends has been absolutely critical," she said.

Boston College's current funding priorities - faculty growth and development, student financial aid, academic programs and improved facilities - appear to have struck a positive chord with donors, observed Trustee Patrick Carney '70, chairman of the Trustee Committee on Development, who noted the 1997-98 fund-raising year was marked by a number of highs.

Members of the 10 reunion classes gave a record $8.8 million to their alma mater, exceeding the previous high of $6.3 million set in 1995. The Class of 1968 gave more than $2.5 million, and the Class of 1963 donated more than $2.4 million. The overall participation rate was 40 percent.

The University's two giving societies, Fides and President's Circle, set membership records for the fifth straight year, with 2,227 and 740 members, respectively.

The University received 12 gifts of $1 million or more, totaling $31.6 million. Corporate and foundation pledges totaled more than $11.5 million, including a $1 million grant from the Ford Foundation.

The 10th annual Boston College Tribute Dinner raised $1.1 million for the Presidential Scholars Program. The Pops on the Heights benefit concert in fall of 1997 raised more than $1.2 million for the Pops Scholarship Fund.

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