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150th Is a Banner Year for Campaign

Stokes Hall is one of the many results of the “Light the World” campaign. (Photo by Gary Wayne Gilbert)

By Jack Dunn | Director of News & Public Affairs

Published: Sep. 19, 2013

Boston College’s Sesquicentennial has proved to be a banner year for “Light the World,” providing added momentum, administrators say, for the stretch run of the University’s $1.5 billion capital campaign.      

The FY ‘13 total of $102 million in cash received was raised through 27,582 gifts from alumni donors, a new participation record for Boston College. This accomplishment, coupled with the crossing of the $1 billion mark just before the new year and the 100,000th “Light the World” donation in April, has made 2013 one of the most successful fundraising years in University history, and provided the staff of University Advancement with renewed energy as they approach $1.1 billion in campaign donations.

“The Sesquicentennial anniversary has clearly resonated with BC alumni and donors who responded enthusiastically to our call to support the University’s strategic goals,” said Senior Vice President for University Advancement James Husson. “It has given ‘Light the World’ — and by extension Boston College — a significant boost as we work towards meeting our $1.5 billion goal.” 

This past year also witnessed record-setting numbers in alumni volunteerism through the “150 on the Road” initiative, in which 1,823 alumni, parents and friends packed 451,077 meals in seven cities for distribution in West Africa, while a record number of 1,457 seniors from the Class of 2013 contributed to the senior class gift.   

In addition, BC students receiving financial aid have benefitted from the 305 new financial aid scholarships that have been financed as a result of the campaign.

“As student director of the BC Entrepreneur Society, my passion is to expand opportunities for entrepreneurial-minded students at Boston College,” said junior Derek Switaj of Cleveland. “The activities in which I participate, the people I meet, and the ideas I generate are all made possible by my financial aid scholarship. I am grateful for the opportunity Boston College and this campaign have given me.”   

Added senior Shaun Flint, a French and linguistics major from Atlanta, “My financial aid is the number one reason why I’m at Boston College now. Without the grants and work study opportunities that BC has offered me during my undergraduate years, I would not have been able to branch out from home and attend BC.”

Publically launched in October of 2008 as the most ambitious capital campaign in University history, “Light the World” set four important goals: raise $1.5 billion for University priorities; expand volunteer engagement; increase alumni donor participation; and secure BC’s future through legacy giving. As it approaches its sixth year this fall, it is clear that tremendous progress has been made in all areas.

“The ‘Light the World’ campaign is a sign of Boston College’s progress, momentum and enthusiasm,” said University President William P. Leahy, SJ. “It has had a tremendous effect, particularly on facilities, financial aid and faculty hiring. Because of our success we have been able to maintain our need-blind, full-need admission policy, invest in buildings like Stokes Hall that demonstrate our commitment to the liberal arts, and add faculty in key areas that reflect our strategic priorities.

“We have much left to do to meet our goal, but we continue moving forward knowing that reaching $1.5 billion will be a huge achievement that will set the stage for a stronger, better Boston College.”     

 Students and faculty alike have praised the addition of Stokes Hall, made possible in part through a $22.5 million gift from BC alumnus and former Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick Stokes ’64, and his wife, Anna-Kristina P’91, ’94, ’97.

“Teaching and interacting with students in Stokes Hall, with all of its amenities, has been a true pleasure,” said Adjunct Associate Professor of Philosophy Brian J. Braman, who directs BC’s Perspectives Program. “It is a wonderful facility and a fitting endorsement of our commitment to liberal arts education.”    

Faculty members have also expressed support for the 20 new assistant and full professorships that have been funded since the campaign’s inception.    

“I was honored and humbled to receive the O’Connor Chair in the Carroll School of Management,” said Michael G. Pratt, whose chair was established through a gift from David P. ’86 and Maureen O’Connor P’16. “Given that its purpose is to recognize and promote innovative thinking, the creation of new knowledge, and ultimately the development of methods for bringing out the best in organizations, it provides a constant yardstick with which to measure the worth of the work that I am doing.  

“With additional resources at my disposal, I can devote more time to being a better teacher, researcher, mentor, and volunteer – in short, I can do a better job fulfilling the mission of the University.  I am incredibly grateful to the O’Connors for investing in Boston College, and investing in me.”

Husson expects that the coming months will bring continued progress for “Light the World.” “Our alumni and parents can see what this campaign has already accomplished, thanks to their generosity and leadership. It has opened up a world of possibilities for Boston College, and we are eager to build on its success.”