O'Neill Exhibit to Debut

Tribute to late House speaker, a 1936 BC graduate

By Michael Seele
Chronicle Editor

A new exhibit commemorating the life and legacy of Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. '36 , one of Boston College's most accomplished graduates, will open in the library that bears his name on Sept. 24.

The permanent exhibit was constructed over the summer to honor the memory of "Tip" O'Neill, who spent his career in public service, culiminating in a record nine-year tenure as speaker of the U nited States House of Representatives.

His political career began when he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives while still a BC student. He would become speaker of that body before beginning a career in the United States Congress in 1953. He rose through the House leadership ranks and was elected speaker in 1977.

After his retirement, O'Neill donated his papers and memorabilia to Boston College. The exhibit will include a sampling from the speaker's large collection of gavels, as well as from his collection of donkey figures, symbols of his political party. Others papers and artifacts will be included, as will the speaker's large desk.

In addition, the exhibit will include audio featuring O'Neill's voice, as well as a video screen offering highlights of his political career. A computer station will provide a way for visitors to learn more about the speaker.

The exhibit is divided into sections, each of which will focus on a n aspect of the speaker's life. They include sections on his North Cambridge neighborhood, his Boston College years, his family and faith, his speakership, and his political legacy . The display also will include a recreation of a neighborhood campaign headquarters where O'Neill's volunteers practiced his philosophy of "all politics is local."

Among those expected to attend the exhibit's opening on Sept. 24 are members of O'Neill's family, including his widow, Millie, and Rep. J. Joseph Moakley, a close friend of the speaker's.

Following the dedication, the exhibit - located in the former vision resource room on the library's second level - will open to the public.

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