Onward and Upward
As light the world passes the $1-billion fundraising mark, Father Leahy reflects on the campaign's achievements to date and looks toward the finish line.
How is the Light the World campaign advancing Boston College?
The campaign is having a tremendous impact in many ways. Two obvious examples are financial aid and faculty hiring. Because of our success, we have been able to maintain our need-blind admission policy and will increase need-based undergraduate financial aid to $97 million this year. And when I think about faculty hiring and some of the strengths we have added—not only in the sciences but across all eight schools and colleges—it is clear that we would not have had these opportunities without the campaign.
BC is two-thirds of the way to the campaign goal. What does that mean for the University?
It is another sign of progress, momentum, and enthusiasm. It doesn’t mean we are done by any stretch of the imagination—but it is a milestone worth celebrating. We have never raised a billion dollars in a Boston College campaign and, within Catholic higher education, very few schools have raised a billion dollars.
How has the BC community embraced the campaign?
I have seen rising aspirations and expectations among our alumni, parents, and friends. They want BC to succeed—to be a leader—and understand that their financial support is vital to making our vision for the future a reality. Boston College has also stressed the importance of volunteer service as part of the campaign and has asked our community to remember the University in their estate plans. I think the campaign has caused people to think about BC in a different way.
What else are you hearing from alumni as you travel and attend Sesquicentennial events?
Alumni always talk about their educational experience. Most have lifelong friends from their Boston College days. The campaign and its activities have really reinforced ties to the University and pride in Boston College. I also hear gratitude. So many alumni say they would not be where they are today without BC; that the faith and ethical principles they learned here have guided them throughout their lives.
What are some of the most visible achievements of the campaign so far?
The building and construction projects are probably the most visible accomplishments that the campaign is making possible. Stokes Hall, for example, has had major symbolic importance on campus. With 36 new classrooms and offices for key departments in the humanities, it offers a model for student-faculty engagement. Stokes also heightens Boston College’s role in American academic culture and specifically within the Catholic intellectual tradition.
Why is reaching the campaign's ultimate $1.5-billion goal so important?
Light the World reflects the Jesuit, Catholic dimensions of Boston College, which have been strengthened by this campaign’s very name. There is a call to “light the world,” to be individuals who invest in wider society, who share talents, and who think about their mark in the world.
I’m incredibly grateful to our donors for their support of these and all our campaign priorities. Boston College has only achieved what it has because of their unwavering commitment. And thanks to this community of support, our campaign goal is now in sight.