About Boston College
Boston College was founded by the Jesuits in 1863 to serve the sons of Boston's Irish immigrants. The college officially opened its doors on Harrison Avenue in the South End of Boston in September 1864 with three teachers and 22 students in the preparatory program. According to the vision of Fr. John McElroy, S.J., Boston College would offer a classical education to deserving young men in need of opportunity, one grounded in the liberal arts and in a commitment to the service of others.
Today, Boston College — a coeducational university spread across 185 acres in suburban Chestnut Hill — may seem a world apart from that small school in the teeming heart of Boston that was its first home. Through nearly 15 decades of growth and change, however, the University has held fast to the Jesuit ideals that inspired its founders. Some measures of the University's growth include:
From those 22 boys, enrollment at Boston College has grown to 14,695 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. The University conferred its first degree on a woman in 1926 — a Master of Arts on Margaret Ursula Magrath. Today, women make up 54 percent of the total enrollment.
Courses of Study
The nine seniors who comprised BC's first graduating class in 1877 received the only degree the school then offered: the Bachelor of Arts. Students now choose from among 11 schools, colleges, and institutes offering 14 degree programs and two certificate programs in arts and sciences, education, law, management, nursing, and social work.
Boston College moved to Chestnut Hill in March 1913 with the opening of Gasson Hall, which served as classroom building, administration building, library, and dining hall for a student body that was made up exclusively of commuters. The first library, Bapst, opened in 1928; the first residence halls, Claver, Loyola, and Xavier, opened in 1955 on what is now the Upper Campus.
Today, BC's physical plant includes 28 residence halls, 22 academic buildings, 15 administration buildings, nine libraries, nine dining areas, and a sports complex that includes 42,000-seat Alumni Stadium and the 8,500-seat basketball and hockey arena, Conte Forum.
The first library on the Chestnut Hill campus occupied a wing of Gasson Hall. Boston College now has nine libraries housing more than 1.7 million volumes, government documents, and periodicals and more than 2.5 million microform units. The John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections contains more than 45 named collections, with a strong emphasis in the areas of Irish studies, British Catholic authors, Jesuitana, Boston history, and Congressional archives. The O'Neill Computing Center, located in the Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Library, is equipped with dozens of workstations for word processing, email transmission, and other computer tasks.
All residence hall rooms and faculty and administrative offices are wired into the Agora network, which provides students, faculty, and staff with individual access to email and the Internet. The Academic Development Center, also in O'Neill Library, offers extensive tutoring services to undergraduates and teaching workshops to faculty and graduate assistants.
In 1865, Joseph J. Sinnott, a Philadelphia physician, donated $1,000 to establish a scholarship fund — the school's first endowment. In 1994, total University endowment passed the $500 million mark.
Boston College fielded its first athletic team in 1870, in baseball. The University now offers 33 men's and women's varsity sports, 23 intramural sports, and 15 club sports.