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First Year Academic Convocation

go set the world aflame!

First Year Academic Convocation 2013 took place on Thursday, September 12 and featured Bill Strickland, CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation and author of Make the Impossible Possible.


Make the Impossible Possible:
One Man's Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream Bigger and Achieve the Extraordinary


William E. "Bill" Strickland is a community leader, author, and the President and CEO of the non-profit Manchester Bidwell Corporation based in Pittsburgh.


View the Reading Guide

Since the Fall of 2004, Conversations in the First Year has enriched the intellectual lives of our newest students. It begins at Orientation, where all incoming students are given a common text. This book helps to create the year's academic theme. Then, early in their first semester, all first year students gather for the First Year Academic Convocation. Each year the Convocation speaker addresses the class, inspiring the themes of the summer reading. Convocation is filled with ritual, ideas, and conversation that kick off the academic year. All first-year students are required to join us for this event.

Past Speakers (and Summer Reading)

2013 - Bill Strickland (Make the Impossible Possible)

2012 - Dan Barry (Bottom of the 33rd)

2011 - Colum McCann (Let the Great World Spin)

2010 - Daniel Wolff (How Lincoln Learned to Read)

2009 - Ann Patchett (Run)

2008 - J.R. Moehringer (The Tender Bar)       

2007 - Jeanette Walls (The Glass Castle)        

2006 - Senator John McCain (Lives of Moral Leadership by Robert Coles)

2005 - Senator Barack Obama (Dreams from My Father)

2004 - Dr. Paul Farmer and Tracy Kidder (Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder)

go set the world aflame

 "Go set the world aflame."
- Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)

In the entrance of the Jesuit headquarters in Rome is a striking statue of Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits) with the motto "Ite, inflammate omnia." - "Go set the world aflame" - his parting words to Francis Xavier who was carrying the Gospel to the East. This is our charge as you begin your experience at Boston College. Take the gift of education and carry it to great places throughout the world.