$400M Drive is Launched

$400M Drive is Launched

$20M Gift Leads Ever to Excel Campaign, BC's Most Ambitious Fund-Raising Effort

By Jack Dunn
Director of Public Affairs

Paying homage to its illustrious past while outlining its ambitious goals for the future, Boston College announced a $400 million capital campaign on Nov. 6 at a gala event that many have called one of the proudest moments in University history. Its stained-glass windows aglow in a spectacle of light, Gargan Hall of Bapst Library played host to the kickoff for the Ever To Excel Campaign, an event that attracted 250 of the University's most generous alumni, trustees and friends for a fund drive that it hopes will solidify its position as one of the nation's preeminent universities.

The campaign, the most ambitious in Boston College's 136-year history, aims to nearly triple the $136 million raised in the Campaign for Boston College, which ran from 1987-91. Upon its completion, the campaign will increase BC's endowment to more than $1 billion, placing it among the 35 largest university endowments in the United States. The campaign also seeks to endow 100 new professorships, increase financial aid resources for students and finance needed campus construction projects.

In total, the Ever to Excel Campaign will raise $260 million for endowment and $140 million for construction and present needs. Of the $260 million for endowment, $140 million will be allocated for professorships, $60 million for academic centers and special initiatives, $50 million for financial aid and $10 million for libraries.

At the Nov. 6 kickoff, University President William P. Leahy, SJ, along with campaign co-chairs Jack Connors Jr. '63, J. Donald Monan, SJ, and Geoff Boisi '69, delighted the gathering with the announcement that an anonymous donor had just pledged $20 million to the campaign, the largest gift in the University's history. The anonymous gift elevated the total amount received thus far to $165 million of the $400 million, five-year goal. The surprise announcement was particularly remarkable, they noted, given that 30 years ago BC's "major donors" consisted of 22 Fides members who contributed $1,000 each to help the University avoid fiscal insolvency. In addition, the chairs announced that they had already received eight $2 million gifts and three $5 million gifts, in addition to Peter and Carolyn Lynch's gift of more than $10 million to name the School of Education.
Gargan Hall in Bapst Library was the setting for a celebration launching the most ambitious capital campaign in Boston College history.

In an emotional speech that melded the classical influence of the Jesuits with the practical realities of higher education today, Fr. Leahy used the analogy of a Kairos Moment -- a place within time where opportunities and challenges meet and, if accepted, lead to new greatness and excellence -- to urge the gathering and all of BC's 130,000 living alumni "to respond to this moment to fulfill BC's destiny to be a light to the nations."

"Tonight we are faced with two issues," said Fr. Leahy, "a past that compels us to live to the high standards of our elders, and a future that asks, `How great can we be?'" This campaign will answer that question."

The highlights of the evening included a video presentation featuring still photos of some of BC's most distinguished alumni, ranging from Richard Cardinal Cushing and Tip O'Neill to Peter Lynch and Doug Flutie, followed by the presentation of five Kairos Moments in BC's history.

The first Kairos Moment was introduced by Trustee Robert J. Morrissey '60, who read from the memoirs of BC's founder, John McElroy, SJ, who struggled for more than 30 years to establish Boston College amidst the intense anti-Catholic bigotry of 19th century Boston.

Trustee Peter Lynch '65, introduced the second Kairos Moment by reading excerpts from the memoirs of Thomas Gasson, SJ, whose vision to create "The Oxford of America" brought BC from the South End of Boston to its present location in Chestnut Hill.

He was followed by Trustee Thomas Vanderslice '53, who introduced the third Kairos Moment by reading excerpts from a speech by former President Michael Walsh, SJ, the "double-eagle" son of South Boston whose leadership and vision guided BC to its present status as a national university.

Campaign Co-chair Jack Connors Jr. (seated) talks with Board of Trustees Chairman Charles I. Clough Jr. at the event.

He was followed by Fr. Monan, the University chancellor, who introduced the fourth Kairos Moment which depicted the successes of his remarkable presidency, before Fr. Leahy introduced the final Kairos Moment -- The Ever To Excel Campaign -- during which he shared his goals and aspirations for Boston College's third century of service to Boston and the world.

"And so we say with this campaign: 'We are grateful for what was built for us. But it is not enough,'" Fr. Leahy said at the gala. "'Like McElroy, Gasson, Walsh and Monan and their supporters, we will build something here never before seen and not expected -- something at which others, in years to come, will marvel.' That is the meaning of Ever to Excel."

Among those in attendance at the kickoff gala were: William F. Connell '59, chairman and CEO of Connell Limited Partnership; Charles I. Clough, Jr. '64, chief investment strategist of Merrill Lynch; Gregory Barber '69, chairman of Gregory P. Barber & Associates Inc.; Patrick Carney '70, chairman and CEO of Claremont Companies; Joseph Corcoran '59, chairman of Corcoran Jennison Companies; Thomas O'Neill 3rd '68, chairman of McDermott/O'Neill and Associates Inc.; and Mary Steele Guilfoile '76, partner of The Beacon Group;

The Ever to Excel Campaign will seek the support of alumni, parents, trustees and friends of Boston College, as well as local and national corporations and foundations.

"For us to remain competitive and distinctive, we must have additional resources," Fr. Leahy said. "I regard this campaign as being crucial for us to respond to the challenges and opportunities in the years ahead."

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