McNeice said he made the donation "to help ensure BC's leading role among Catholic colleges and universities in the area of student formation." His gift, which will establish the John and Margarete McNeice Student Formation Fund, will provide support for the University's extensive volunteer service and student retreat programs.
"John McNeice has done so much for Jesuit education and Catholic causes," said University President William P. Leahy, SJ. "Boston College is indebted to him for this wonderful gift which will enable future generations of leaders to develop their God-given talents and use them in the service of others."
"Boston College's mission is to form 'men and women for others,'" said McNeice, a 1954 BC graduate. "That includes teaching students the importance of sharing their time and talents with those less fortunate. While being trained academically is important, students' cultural, social and spiritual development is also important in educating the whole person. I hope that this fund will help more students to think about their spirituality by getting them involved in these formative experiences."
The McNeice gift, said to be the largest single endowment for student volunteerism and retreat programs in the United States, comes at a time of growing student interest in community service programs.
Some 1,200 Boston College students provide more than 80,000 hours of volunteer service each year in programs from Boston to Belize. In addition, nearly 1,700 students take part in retreat and spiritual formation activities sponsored by the Boston College Chaplain's Office.
But, i n recent years, the number of BC students seeking volunteer activities has exceeded the number of opportunities available.
"Boston College does a good job of educating students academically," said Vice President for Mission and Ministry Joseph Appleyard, SJ. "But what was needed was increased resources to accommodate the demands for personal, moral and spiritual formation. The McNeice gift will address this need directly. We are grateful to the McNeices for their support."
McNeice, 66, of Canton, built the Colonial Group, Inc. into one of the nation's leading investment management companies before selling it in 1994 to Liberty Financial. He is considered one of Massachusetts' most generous individual s, whose primary philanthropic focus has been Jesuit education and Catholic charitable endeavo rs.
"I think it is essential that a Jesuit university stresses the importance of service because it is a training ground for the next generation of leaders ," said McNeice . " I often quote St. Augustine who said, 'Our hearts are made for God, and we aren't truly happy until we are serving God.' I hope this gift will help to facilitate this university-wide commitment to service."
Born and raised in Quincy in a family "too poor to purchase a car," McNeice credits his parents' faith and his Jesuit education with instilling in him a moral foundation and a commitment to volunteerism and community service.
"My father was a daily communicant; he set an example of the importance of a spiritual foundation in my life," said McNeice. "That foundation, and my own training at the hands of the Jesuits, have served me well throughout my life. I have always believed in the adage, 'To whom much is given much is expected.' I have been given much in my life and I am happy to share it with Boston College through the creation of this fund."
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