Donald A. MacMillan, S.J., '66, MDiv'72
be faithful at BC
Triple Eagle Fr. Don MacMillan has spent a lifetime immersed in Jesuit education. After more than two decades as a teacher and administrator at Jesuit high schools, he joined BC’s Campus Ministry team in 1995. “I loved the classroom, but this work is just as important. We help students develop a faith life that is centered on helping others,” he says.
Recently, MacMillan was honored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network with the Robert M. Holstein “Faith Doing Justice” Award, which referred to him as “a tremendous witness to the social teachings of Catholic faith through his solidarity with the economically poor and marginalized” and cited his lifelong commitment to education grounded in spirituality.
MacMillan explains that he was deeply affected by the 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests, along with their housekeeper and her daughter, in El Salvador. To instill concern for social justice in the high school students he taught and mentored, he began talking about the brutal Salvadoran civil war in homilies and encouraging his students to work for the good of their own communities. He continues this work at BC, leading the Arrupe International Immersion Program in Cuernavaca, Mexico, as well as Urban Immersion in Boston—both intended to give students intensely visceral experiences of the lives led by marginalized populations.
“I’m still as enthused as ever about my work, and as interested in the kids,” says MacMillan. “In my estimation, it all comes from the Gospels: serve the poor, help the disadvantaged, and try to live in love, as Christ taught. That’s how I try to live my life.”
What has been the most satisfying moment in your professional life?
There have been many, but overall it is when people begin to recognize that they are good people and have much to contribute. This would include coming to know that God plays an important role in life.
In your personal life?
Not much different from my professional life—when I am finally able to find God in others and all things.
What is your next goal?
My next goal is to improve my skills in pastoral ministry. It’s a continuous updating process.
What is the secret to success?
Self-confidence and trust in God, as well as other mentors and people in my life.
How have you changed since graduation?
I have grown more aware of the world and its issues. I am personally more in tune with my abilities.
What was your first job?
My first job was teaching first-year Latin at my high school alma mater, Boston College High School.
How do you relax?
I relax by reading, watching some television, occasional movies, music, and being with family and friends for various events.
What do you look forward to each day?
I look forward to the surprises each day brings.
What is one thing everyone should do while at BC?
Talk to an adult—a faculty or staff member, even an upperclassman. Get to know someone who offers you a new and broader perspective.
What was your favorite BC class?
Probably the Modern History of Philosophy, taught by Norman Wells. I also remember wonderful classes with Fr. Leo McCauley in classics and Fr. Charles Healey in theology.
What is your favorite spot on the Heights?
Sitting on a bench along Linden Lane outside Bapst Library on a summer evening. It’s lovely. I also love walking around the reservoir.
Who would play you in the film version of your life?
Oh, some aging actor—maybe George Clooney! Oh, how about Mark Wahlberg? He’s already got the Boston accent.
What is something your friends don’t know about you?
They know everything—I’m on Facebook!