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Office of News & Public Affairs


a concise look at the university

Gasson at Night

Boston College was founded in 1863 by the Society of Jesus to serve the sons of Boston's Irish immigrants. It was the first institution of higher education to be founded in the city of Boston. Today, it is one of the foremost universities in the nation, with a coeducational enrollment of nearly 14,700 undergraduate and graduate students. Boston College has drawn students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries.

Boston College has grown not just in size, but also in stature and diversity. Today, it is ranked among the top 35 national universities by U.S. News & World Report. Its Graduate School of Social Work and Lynch School of Education are listed among the nation's top 20 graduate programs, also by U.S. News, while its Connell School of Nursing and Law School are among the top 30, and its Carroll School of Management undergraduate program is listed among the nation's top 10 by Bloomberg/BusinessWeek. Boston College is among the nation's most selective universities, with more than 34,000 applications received for its 2,250-member Class of 2016, and is numbered among the top American private research universities. Its endowment of $1.9 billion is among the nation's 40 largest.

After a century and a half of growth and evolution, Boston College holds fast to the ideals that inspired its Jesuit founders. The University today remains focused on its mission of helping students to develop their minds and talents while providing them with the motivation and compassion to use those talents in the service of others.

"Deeply rooted in its Catholic and Jesuit origins, Boston College offers an education that is distinctive in spirit and content, that is doubly rich with the best of human thought and with the profound insights of faith," writes Reverend William P. Leahy, SJ, who assumed the presidency of Boston College in 1996.  "We believe that Boston College provides a transforming experience for young men and women."

A continued expression of this philosophy, based on the Jesuit principle of cura personalis, or care for the individual, is the faculty's dedication to teaching. BC faculty members have been honored for their teaching by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Education, while the University's overall commitment to teaching has been ranked among the nation's top 20, also by US News & World Report.

A Boston College education focuses not only on intellectual development, but also on personal, spiritual and physical development. Students are asked to use their abilities, education and acquired skills to help others in need, whether in Boston or Belize. Each year, BC students provide some 550,000 hours of community service in the Boston area, while more than 650 students trade vacation for service during Spring Break. Nearly 2,000 students take part in retreats and spiritual formation activities annually.

Today, the Boston College motto "ever to excel" also extends to a broad array of extracurricular activities and opportunities ranging from sports to the arts. Athletics is integral to the University's focus on the development of the whole person in body as well as in mind and spirit. BC offers 31 men's and women's varsity sports, all of which compete at the NCAA Division I level, and annually has one of the highest graduation rates in Division IA.  

BC offers a wide variety of resources that enrich intellectual and cultural life beyond the campus gates. Among these are the Jesuit Institute; Center for Ignatian Spirituality; Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life; Center for Human Rights and International Justice; Center for Christian-Jewish Learning; Center on Wealth and Philanthropy; Center for Retirement Research; Sloan Center on Aging and Work; Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation and Educational Policy; TIMSS and PIRLS International Study Center; Center for International Higher Education; Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections; Robsham Theater Arts Center; McMullen Museum of Art; Center for Child, Family and Community Partnerships; Center for Corporate Citizenship; Center for Work and Family; Center for Irish Programs and Weston Observatory.