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Some 400 Boston College benefactors attended the "Light the World" capital campaign gala event this past Saturday, which included a dinner in The Residence on Brighton Campus, where they were welcomed by University President William P. Leahy, SJ. (Photo by Rose Lincoln)

University Kicks Off $1.5 Billion Campaign

'Light the World, The 150th Anniversary Campaign for Boston College' will fund academic programs, financial aid, student formation and campus construction

By Jack Dunn | Director of Public Affairs

Boston College has announced a seven-year $1.5 billion capital campaign to fund the academic programs, financial aid commitments, student formation initiatives and campus construction projects outlined in its Strategic Plan.

The campaign, called "Light the World, The 150th Anniversary Campaign for Boston College," represents the largest fund-raising initiative in the school's history, far exceeding the $440 million total raised in the previous "Ever to Excel" campaign that concluded in 2003.

University President William P. Leahy, SJ, said the capital campaign will enhance Boston College's academic strengths by enabling the University to hire additional faculty, create more endowed professorships and fund new academic centers and research programs. It will also help maintain BC's commitment to need-blind admissions and to meeting the full financial need of admitted students; strengthen student formation and athletics programs, and provide funds for campus construction plans.      

The $1.5 billion total will be used for the following:

•Academic Programs—$575 million
•Undergraduate Financial Aid—$300 million
•Jesuit, Catholic Heritage and Student Formation Programs—$125 million
•Intercollegiate and Intramural Athletics—$100 million
•Ongoing Annual Programs—$175 million
•New Campus Construction—$225 million

In addition to the $1.5 billion campaign objective, the "Light the World" campaign has set three other inter-connected goals:

•To double the number of alumni engaged in significant volunteer roles for the University
•To bring from 22,500 to 40,000 the number of undergraduate alumni donors who make a gift to Boston College every year
•To secure 5,000 estate commitments to Boston College

The capital campaign represents a significant goal for a university that was nearly insolvent 35 years ago, and signifies confidence in alumni loyalty and support during challenging economic times. 

"Throughout its history, Boston College has always set high standards and has never steered away from challenges," said Fr. Leahy. "Resulting from an extensive assessment and planning process, we established seven strategic directions for Boston College in our Strategic Plan that address our academic priorities and help respond to societal needs. This campaign will provide the resources to achieve those goals." 

Fr. Leahy said the University has already secured more than $500 million in leadership commitments from BC alumni, parents and friends in anticipation of the 150th anniversary of Boston College's founding in 2013.

That total includes a $50 million gift, the largest in the University's history, from an anonymous donor."As a university that strives for intellectual greatness and is imbued with the distinctive values of Jesuit, Catholic education, Boston College is committed to the formation of men and women who will be a leaven for good in the world, a light to the nations," said Fr. Leahy.  "'Light the World' expresses Boston College's mission and its recognition of the world's need for a great university that joins faith and reason, that pursues knowledge and justice, and that strives to serve society."  

In December of 2007, Boston College announced a $1.6 billion, 10-year Strategic Plan, that called for adding up to 100 additional faculty and a dozen new academic centers, a $43.5 million annual increase in ongoing support of academic programs and initiatives, and up to $1 billion in support of university construction and renovation projects.

The construction projects, outlined in the University's Institutional Master Plan now under review by the City of Boston, call for the addition of four new academic buildings, a student center, recreation facility, fine arts district, athletic fields for baseball, softball and intramurals and 1,280 beds of undergraduate housing, which will enable Boston College to meet 100 percent of undergraduate demand.

The "Light the World" campaign was launched at a gala event at Boston College on Oct. 11, involving nearly 400 of the University's benefactors.

Those in attendance included William Geary,'80, chairman of the Board of Trustees and campaign co-chair, and his wife Kristi Geary; Kathleen McGillycuddy, NC'71, vice chair of the Board of Trustees and campaign co-chair, and her husband Ronald Logue; campaign co-chair Trustee Charles Clough Jr.,'64, and his wife, Gloria, CGSON'96; Trustee Jack Connors,'63, and his wife Eileen, '66, MSW'95; former Trustee Pat Roche, '51, and his wife Barbara; Trustee John Fish and his wife Cindy, and Margot Connell, wife of the late Trustee William Connell,'59. 

Among the highlights of the campaign launch was a tour of Brighton Campus, a discussion on scholar athletes with Athletics Director Gene DeFilippo and BC football head coach Jeff Jagodzinski and a luncheon honoring the 11 individuals who have served as chairs of the Board of Trustees since the lay board was created in 1972.

Later that afternoon, faculty, senior administrators, trustees and students co-led panel discussions on issues central to the mission and work of the University: student formation, research, Jesuit and Catholic education and the BC Master Plan and financial model. 

Visit the Light the World Campaign Website for for more information:

Jack Dunn can be reached at