BC Club Turns 15
By Stephanie St. Martin ’07, MA’10
The Greeks ask one fundamental question about the character of a man: “Does he have passion?”
When it comes to John E. “Jack” Joyce ’61, MBA’70, and his passion for Boston College, the resounding answer is yes.
Long active as an alumnus, Jack Joyce has found many ways to make tangible his love for BC. Perhaps most significant is his work as the founding director of the Boston College Club. This year, the Club celebrates its 15th anniversary, and with Joyce still deeply involved, one can understand why it has been so successful.
Already a Navy veteran when he arrived, Joyce found school difficult. He recalls, “When my teacher informed me that I had an interview at Boston College, I remember thinking ‘This has to be the greatest sales pitch in my life.’”
But once at Boston College, Joyce hit his stride. He was elected senior class president, was the recipient of the class “Ever to Excel” Award, and saw his leadership skills begin to surface.
He entered the business world and is now managing director for Deutsche Bank Alex Brown. Joyce juggles the countless needs of its international clients and guides employees on how best to assist each client. Throughout his demanding and successful career, his passion for BC never wavered. Joyce has always found ways to stay connected to the University, including fundraising for the McMullen Museum of Art with his wife, Nancy, who was instrumental in organizing the Docent Committee for the Museum.
“One way of demonstrating my appreciation for my BC education was to continue to give back. I wanted to set an example for others to follow in any way they can,” he says.
Early in his own career in Boston’s financial services industry, Joyce recognized the need for a downtown venue where members of the BC community could meet both to network and to socialize. As Boston College grew and its alumni became more prominent in Boston’s professional life, it became ever clearer: there was a real need for a Boston College club.
In 1967, a downtown Boston College Club opened, but closed a short time later. Despite good intentions and the support of local alumni, the timing was wrong. The space the club occupied was sold, and with no place to move to, the club lasted only six months. During the later years of the 1960s and early 1970s, the tumultuous tide of the Vietnam War halted all discussions about reopening the BC Club, and while Boston College itself was preoccupied with a serious cash-flow problem, risky financial ventures off campus were not up for consideration.
But, by the time the 1990s rolled around, Joyce and his friends Jack MacKinnon ’62, P’89, ’90, ’92, ’99, and Owen Lynch ’56, JD’59, P’90, ’92, were determined to renew their quest for a club. This time, the timing was right.
The Dream Comes True
Joyce, MacKinnon, and Lynch surveyed more than 50,000 alumni, including many in the financial and legal fields in Boston, to gain support.
“We needed evidence to convince Boston College that the club was a viable option,” said Joyce.
They presented their findings to then-University President J. Donald Monan, S.J. Fr. Monan was impressed with the results, but then in 1996, Boston College welcomed incoming President William P. Leahy, S.J., who would now need to be convinced.
One afternoon, Joyce and his codirectors were summoned to meet with Fr. Leahy. Before a sentence was uttered, Fr. Leahy, who had carefully considered their proposal, gave two thumbs up.
He did make two requests. First, the club would be called the Boston College Club (the name “Eagles Club” had been floated, and when one visits the BC Club, a plethora of noteworthy eagle statues and paintings await). And second, the Boston College Club would be a sub-corporation of the University, generating revenue that would tie back to its operating budget.
In February 1998, the first 1,403 members, 10 percent of whom were non-BC alumni, were welcomed into the club.
“Holy Cross graduates are OK with us,” jokes Joyce. “Now, 30 percent of our members are non-BC graduates. But there has always been a tremendous loyalty on the part of the BC family. To get 1,403 members in that short a time is remarkable.”
Faithful to the University’s mission of “men and women for others,” the club’s impact goes well beyond its membership. “Annual gifts from the Boston College Club have made it possible for dozens of students needing financial assistance to graduate from BC, and I am certainly grateful for the generosity and commitment of the club and its leaders,” says Fr. Leahy. To date, 38 students from Boston’s inner city have received club-sponsored scholarships to attend BC.
“It’s a priceless contribution, to give students scholarships,” says Joyce. “These students can continue the tradition of excellence at BC and continue to pass on the passion. I hope they will pay it forward, too.”
The Boston College Club does even more for members of the Boston College community. Every May, 100 retired diocesan priests, including retired clergy from the Archdiocese of Boston, sponsored by the Knights of Malta and BC Club members, are invited to a dinner at the club hosted by Cardinal Sean O’Malley. Each November, the club hosts a Thanksgiving dinner for BC’s Jesuits, including those retired in the Blessed Peter Faber Jesuit Community and at Campion Health Center as well as the Jesuit faculty of Boston College High School. These seemingly small gestures bring to life the Jesuit ideal of service that is the hallmark of the BC experience—and animates the passion of alumni like Jack Joyce.
“Every club needs a Jack Joyce,” says Meredith Waites, general manager of the Boston College Club. “His vision—along with that of the other founders—his tenacity, his passion, and his pride in BC have kept the BC Club going.
“The people of the Boston College community are, in and of themselves, a club. The members take care of each other, connect with each other. The Boston College Club is just the space where that all happens.”
If you are interested in joining the Boston College Club, contact Kim Hurley, membership director, at 617-951-0971.