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Elevating the Arts

Donors Fuel Creative Excellence at the Heights

Boston College students performing Godspell.

A sense of momentum is building around the arts at Boston College, with nationally renowned artists teaching master classes, theater students honing their craft on Broadway, and the McMullen Museum's new home opening this fall.

President William P. Leahy, S.J., says this type of energetic, intellectually rigorous engagement with the arts is an essential element of great universities—particularly those with Jesuit, Catholic traditions.

"The arts help us get in touch with the spirit, with the transcendent, and with the human," says Fr. Leahy. "They have had this role in Jesuit education ever since we started our first school."

BC's commitment to arts education is reflected in its burgeoning music, theater, and fine arts departments, and supported in part by Light the World campaign donors.

One recent gift brought celebrated vocalist Ronan Tynan of The Irish Tenors to campus for an artist residency last fall. While at the Heights, he led master classes and provided individual coaching. His visit was underwritten by David Hayes '88, P'18, who saw it as an opportunity to bolster BC's leadership in Irish culture and scholarship.

"Ronan and BC share a reverence for Irish art and music, a deep humanitarianism, and a commitment to personal excellence," said Hayes. "It was a privilege to bring together the University I love and an artist I greatly admire."

Like Hayes, Julia Whitcavitch-DeVoy, PhD'06, and John H. DeVoy III, MBA'94, believe in the value of creative arts education. The couple recently established two endowed funds supporting high impact initiatives in BC's Theatre Department.

Artistic Development

The DeVoy Springboard Grants enable deserving students to further their theater studies through internships, travel-study programs, and fieldwork. One recipient went to Broadway as a house manager for the Tony-nominated musical If/Then, starring Idina Menzel, and another interned for the Conan O'Brien show, assisting with stage management and even developing jokes for the opening monologue.

"John and I know how valuable both professional mentorship and real-world experience are for college students," says Whitcavitch-DeVoy, an instructor at the Lynch School of Education.

Through the couple's Perspectives on Theater Fund, leading professionals in theater and the performing arts share their experience and vision with the campus community as visiting artists. Recently, actor Bryce Pinkham '05 returned to Robsham Theater to discuss his performances on Broadway and in television and to mentor students as a guest artist in two theater courses.

The arts are in full flower across the Heights, and donors have an important role to play in nurturing their success, says Crystal Tiala, chair of the Theatre Department.

Says Tiala: "Whether it's funding an endowed faculty position, establishing a new program, or bringing a guest artist to campus, these opportunities extend our developing artists' rigorous academic training and benefit the entire BC community."

» Explore the arts at www.bc.edu/artsvideo.

Boston College Alumni and Friends