"lighting the world" with their time and talents
The Boston College community has invested generously in the Light the World campaign—with financial contributions that support crucial initiatives and, just as importantly, with abundant gifts of time and energy.
Expanding volunteer engagement is one of the campaign's major priorities, as it is key to the University's continued growth. Only by drawing more alumni and parents to volunteer roles with a tangible impact on the University's advancement can BC achieve its other ambitious campaign goals of raising $1.5 billion for vital priorities, increasing alumni donor participation, and securing BC's future through legacy giving. When volunteers assume leadership roles—motivating fellow Boston College supporters to contribute their own resources—the benefits are extraordinary.
The following people are exemplary of those volunteers whose own contributions to BC have encouraged others to deepen their connection to the University. The common thread? A commitment to Boston College expressed through a volunteer project that is both personally meaningful and fun.
A MUSICAL TREASURE
Next fall, the Pops on the Heights Scholarship Gala will celebrate 20 successful years as a fundraising powerhouse. Since 1993, the annual benefit concert has raised more than $19 million for the Pops Scholarship Fund, with more than 730 awards provided to talented young men and women.
The students who have benefited owe their thanks to the man who started it all—Trustee Associate James F. Cleary '50, H'93, P'84, '89, who has been its driving force for two decades. Cleary, in turn, credits his daughter Kara '84, MA'91, with the original idea: "We were walking along the Charles River, and I said I wanted to do something special for BC. Kara said, 'Why don't you bring the Pops to the Heights?' And so we did."
At the time, Cleary was a trustee of both Boston College and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO).
"At the BSO, my special love was the Pops, and we had fundraising success with gala Christmas Pops concerts," recalls Cleary. "I thought a concert at BC would be a way to raise money for scholarships and give students a chance to experience a true cultural treasure." Cleary worried that students weren't taking advantage of Boston's wealth of arts and music.
"We had America's greatest orchestra right in our own city, but students didn't have the opportunity to experience it," he says.
Cleary's own attendance at BC was made possible by the post-World War II GI Bill, giving him a very personal understanding of the importance of financial aid. In the six decades since his own graduation, he has watched with pride as BC has grown from a small commuter school to an internationally renowned university.
Today's Pops Scholars attend a Boston College very different from the BC of his era, but he feels the school's identity remains intact.
"The balance is so important at BC—the Jesuit character with the great academics," he says.
In honor of Cleary's devoted service to BC, the University annually presents the James F. Cleary '50, H'93, Masters Award to volunteers who have distinguished themselves by providing ideas, energy, and leadership that elevate fundraising initiatives at Boston College to new levels of excellence. It is a fitting tribute to a man whose own skills and enthusiasm have made it possible for hundreds of students to attend BC—and will do so for generations to come.
Lean more about Pops on the Heights at www.bc.edu/pops.
BC TECH LEADERS
Peter W. Bell '86 and Daniel J. Nova '83, founding co-chairs of the Boston College Technology Council, love to talk about their alma mater.
Nova recalls: "As a venture capitalist traveling around the U.S. to meet with entrepreneurs and executives, I kept coming across these really impressive people who turned out to be BC graduates. There was such a great affinity for the school. Over and over, conversation would turn to our love for BC."
One of those executives was Bell, who had also noticed that many technology industry leaders were fellow BC alumni and began to realize that tech was an untapped resource.
When Bell joined the Board of Trustees in 2000, he suggested to Fr. Leahy that the University formalize a connection between alumni, students, and faculty in the technology sector. Bell says, "The goals would be three-fold: help students secure jobs, connect with faculty to share resources, and raise funds for the University. Out of that idea, the BC Technology Council was born."
It quickly became apparent that BC graduates on the West Coast also craved this kind of association. In 2003, University Trustee William S. McKiernan '78, P'15, founded the West Coast Technology Council in an effort to connect with the many Eagles in California's Silicon Valley and beyond.
"I want to make sure that BC is at the top of the list for every college applicant in California and that every member of the tech community knows that BC graduates are of the very highest caliber," says McKiernan.
Founded by such energetic entrepreneurs, it is not surprising that the Tech Council itself reflects those characteristics. Over the past decade—led on the East Coast first by Bell and Nova and later by John S. Gallant '79 and David Donatelli '87, and on the West Coast by McKiernan—the Tech Council has had a major impact at the Heights and across the country.
Working closely with the Carroll School of Management and the College of Arts and Sciences, the council has created mentoring, networking, and recruitment programs for students; brought alumni together for educational and social events; and motivated its members to contribute to Boston College at double the average rate of alumni participation.
Learn more about the Technology Council at www.bc.edu/techcouncil.
Thomas P. McGrath '04 and Allison Puca '04 have both found numerous ways to stay involved with Boston College, and they motivate their friends and classmates to do the same. Last spring, their volunteer leadership skills were called into service as Maroon & GOLD (Graduates Of the Last Decade) table captains for the annual Wall Street Council Tribute Dinner.
Over the past 23 years, the Tribute Dinner has raised more than $15 million for the Presidential Scholars Program endowment. Boston College attracts the most promising students from around the world for this program, an integrated honors educational experience that embodies the best of the University. The Presidential Scholars learn to carry the Jesuit ideal of "men and women for others" into their post-graduate careers.
McGrath and Puca took on the challenge of filling a table for this premier event with a quintessential BC attitude: a deep desire to give back, an abiding love for BC, and a serious appreciation for a great fundraiser.
"The event is a blast," says McGrath. "The people you meet, the students it supports, and the evening itself are truly memorable." While working on his 5th Reunion Gift Committee, McGrath discovered how much he enjoyed motivating his classmates to get involved at BC. "I've always been a planner and an organizer, as well as a volunteer," he says. "And I love BC, so this is a great way to help out and reconnect with old friends."
In addition to raising funds for financial aid, Puca mentors a student through the BC Connections program. She's driven to help make a Boston College education possible for students who might not otherwise have the opportunity.
"The values instilled in you during your BC experience take higher education to a whole different level," explains Puca. "I want to give that to others."
Both McGrath and Puca also serve on the Maroon & GOLD Executive Committee, which has played an important role in increasing participation among BC's younger alumni in recent years. As fundraising leaders for their class, the two friends are eager to ensure that the Class of 2004 continues to advance the Light the World campaign—and they're sure they'll have a great time in the process.