Barbara and the late Jim Cleary founded the annual Pops on the Heights scholarship gala in 1993. Together they helped it grow into the University’s largest annual fundraiser, accumulating nearly $22 million to fund more than 800 scholarships.
A long-time supporter of Boston College, Jim Cleary was a beloved presence on campus and a tireless worker in support of his alma mater. As a trustee, he chaired BC’s development committee for 22 years and helped to incorporate a number of innovative fundraising incentives, including the Fides and President’s Circle societies.
Cleary was also a lifetime trustee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and was active in a number of other charities, including the American Cancer society, the Inner City Scholarship Fund, the American Ireland Fund, and the Boston Public Library Foundation.
The Clearys made one of Boston College’s first million-dollar commitments to establish the James F. Cleary Chair in Finance in the University’s Carroll School of Management. In 2000, BC established the James F. Cleary 'Masters' Award that is given annually to a fundraising volunteer who best exemplifies the creativity, dedication, and leadership shown by Jim Cleary over the years