Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. and Boston College
virtual exhibit spring 2002 - burns library
| On January 5, 1994, Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. passed away at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He was eighty-one years old. It was a sad day for Boston College as it had lost one of its "favorite sons." On February 3, the Boston College community held a final tribute for O'Neill. The cover of the program is reproduced to the left. Charles D. Ferris (BC Class of 1954), former General Counsel to the Speaker, remarked "He [O'Neill] never insulated himself from the pain of normal people. In his 50 years of public service, he never forgot who he was, where he came from, or who hired him...I never saw him look over the shoulder of a person to try and talk to someone else who may have been more important...Duplicity was a stranger to him. I think Tip must have failed Latin here at Boston College; he didn't know the meaning of pro forma." Though Boston College was not in his home district, O'Neill always represented the university well.
Source: Thomas P. O'Neill Papers, Burns Library, Boston College
On January 6, 1994, President J. Donald Monan, S.J. issued a public statement and remarked that "For the past 50 years, it has been this University's pride to witness the love and esteem of the entire nation spontaneously directed to one of its beloved sons. If it has always been Jesuit education's aspiration to educate men and women for service to others, Speaker O'Neill is one whose faith helped him understand the importance of taking responsibility for his world and making a difference for others; but it bestowed the humility as well to know that even largeheartedness is a gift to enhance not himself but those he loved and served." It is indeed a fitting legacy that the name of Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. lives on in so many ways at Boston College to this day. O'Neill is pictured here in a 1984 photograph standing with wife Millie in front of the library named in his honor.
Photo Credit: JET Photography, University Archives, Burns Library, Boston College