Mr. BC

Mr. BC

James McIntyre has had a hand in many major events in his 40 years at the University

By Jack Dunn
Director of Public Affairs

Standing outside the Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Exhibit he was responsible for creating, Senior Vice President James P. McIntyre is in his element as he welcomes visitors who have come to the opening to celebrate one of BC's most beloved and influential alumni. It is a scene that has been repeated at nearly all of Boston College's most prominent events throughout the past 40 years, a scene as natural to BC as the speaker himself.

In modern BC history, there is scarcely a significant issue in which McIntyre has not been personally involved. He's had a hand in establishing BC's financial aid program, directing its first major capital campaign, and hosting two internationally acclaimed finance conferences. The Newton Campus, the Flynn Recreation Complex, the O'Neill Library, Conte Forum, the renovated Alumni Stadium and the Merkert Chemistry Center are all the fruits of his efforts, as are the less visible entities such as the BC Parents Club, the Presidential and Tip O'Neill scholarships, and the University flag.

Says University President William P. Leahy, SJ, "When you think of all the key jobs Jim McIntyre has held at Boston College, you realize how much he has helped to shape this University. We are grateful to him for his lifelong commitment to the betterment of this institution."

Born and raised in Malden, the son of Irish immigrants, McIntyre was six when his father died. Upon graduating from Malden Catholic High School, McIntyre went to work full time to support his family while studying at BC's Evening College. Graduating with a degree in English in 1957, he served two years in the Army before returning to his alma mater as the first layman hired in admissions, a job that would give him his professional start at Boston College, as well as his wife of 37 years.

Senior Vice President James P. McIntyre has filled several roles in his four decades at BC.

"I met Monica while working in the Admissions Office and began to date her when she went to work for the president, Fr. Michael Walsh," says McIntyre. "BC not only provided me an education (he also earned a master's degree in 1961 and a doctorate in 1967), but it also provided me a wife. It's easy to see why I feel such great love for this institution."

After fulfilling Fr.Walsh's request to help build a first-rate admissions office that would attract the best students, McIntyre's next assignment was to create a modern student affairs office, at first supplementing and then assuming the duties of George Drury, SJ. Named BC's first lay vice president in 1968, McIntyre would begin the difficult tasks of centralizing student affairs in a university with four independent colleges, and helping to transform a commuter school into a residential university, all while dealing with the turbulent social issues of the late 60s.

"When I became vice president of Student Affairs, we were just beginning to address the issues of residential housing and coeducation," says McIntyre, "while also dealing with Vietnam, civil rights and women's rights. There were demonstrations, protests and pickets. They were painful days in many ways."

Relying on this reputation for honesty as well as the communications skills he had crafted as a professor in the Evening College, McIntyre set out to build a dialogue with the student body.

"My experience has always been that by sitting down and talking with people you erase their fears. We succeeded because we communicated with the students and because we changed when change was needed. But most importantly, while we changed the incidentals, the Jesuit, Catholic essence remained the same. That was important to me because it was why I had come here in the first place."

In 1976 then-University President J. Donald Monan, SJ, hoped to capitalize on McIntyre's knowledge of BC and its alumni when he asked McIntyre to take on a new role as vice president for University Relations.

"I got the job on March 1 and on April 11 we started a capital campaign," says McIntyre. "The goal was $21 million and we raised $25 million. When you consider that we didn't have the resources to do research and cultivation, it was a very successful campaign for Boston College."

As senior vice president since 1986, McIntyre is responsible for congressional relations, securing federal appropriations, major donor fundraising and a myriad of other functions important to the University. Among those functions was the celebration of BC's 125th anniversary in 1988. This spring, it will include hosting Boston College's third finance conference, featuring Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

"I am fortunate to have had a very satisfying career and to have worked at an institution whose mission I fully support," says McIntyre. "I am also fortunate to have worked with people like Fr. Walsh, Fr. Monan and Dr. Frank Campanella, the executive vice president. They were men of vision who dominated their eras. Now I am happy to see Fr. Leahy carry out that same mission in his own way."

The visionaries whom he so greatly admires are quick to respond with praise of their own. "Few people have made more contributions to the successful development of Boston College than Jim McIntyre," says Campanella. "He is a gentleman and a good friend."

Adds Trustee William Connell, "Jim McIntyre has been the heart and soul of lay leadership at Boston College for the past 30 years. Boston College is a better institution because of him."

Reflecting on a career that has spanned four University presidencies and witnessed monumental change, McIntyre remains grateful for an association with Boston College that has defined nearly every aspect of his life.

"I feel blessed to be a part of a wonderful organization whose objectives and goals are mine and whose hopes and ideals I share. BC has been my life. To see today that we are a highly ranked, financially successful University brings me great joy. I am proud and honored to represent BC and happy to have contributed in some small way to its success."

Return to Oct. 14 menu

Return to Chronicle home page