Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Office of News & Public Affairs

Oprah Pays Surprise Visit to BC

graduates of winfrey leadership academy at bc for summer program

Oprah Winfrey with BC President William P. Leahy, SJ, and graduates of the Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, at BC for a summer enrichment program
Oprah Winfrey on campus August 2, with BC President William P. Leahy, S.J., and graduates of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, who were at BC for a summer enrichment program. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)


CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (August 2, 2012) Oprah Winfrey paid a surprise visit to Boston College August 2 to meet with seven young women from South Africa—members of the first class of graduates of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG) —who are studying at BC in a summer enrichment experience.

(More on this story: photos via Flickr and the Boston Globe)

Winfrey personally greeted each of the participants, who were selected for the program as a result of their acceptance at US colleges, and with BC faculty who are helping them to prepare for the demands of the American college experience. At BC, the OWLAG students have been meeting with faculty for academic sessions, as well as with student groups.

BC’s inaugural initiative ran from July 23 through August 3. It is spearheaded by former academy leader Joy Haywood Moore, a 1981 BC alumna who now is director of Stewardship and Donor Relations in the Office of University Advancement. She developed the idea of a pre-college experience to help the students begin to acclimate to their new environment and culture. Boston College is the only US college or university offering an enrichment program to OWLAG graduates.

“The BC/OWLAG Summer Experience is designed to help the students get a ‘jump start’ on how to navigate an American university,” according to Moore. “This is an important initiative because the first few months of university life—academic and social—for freshmen are crucial to their success in their first year, especially international students.”

OWLAG was founded by Oprah Winfrey in 2007 to provide a rigorous and supportive educational environment for economically disadvantaged South African girls in grades eight through 12.

###