Fr. Monan––philosopher, professor, administrator, and visionary leader––had a profound effect on Boston College in the modern era.
Fr. Monan came to Boston College from the deanship and a vice presidency at LeMoyne College in upstate New York. BC was in crisis when he became president in 1972: deeply in debt, divided over issues of governance, and rocked by the social controversies of the era.
Believing that fiscal stability and academic excellence were inextricably linked, Fr. Monan implemented long-range plans that would have dramatic impacts in both areas. He guided the University into a new era, reaffirming the University’s Jesuit, Catholic mission while asserting its commitment to providing the highest quality liberal arts education and emphasizing outstanding scholarship and research.
When Fr. Monan retired as president in 1996, Boston College had undergone an extraordinary renewal. The campus had been expanded by the O'Neill Library, Merkert Chemistry Center, Conte Forum, and several other buildings. New academic programs had been established at every level, including the Theater and Music Departments as well as doctoral programs in social work, finance, and nursing. Two successful fundraising campaigns had concluded, and the endowment had reached $500 million. Applications for admission had achieved a record high, as had the SAT scores of incoming students. BC had emerged as a center of sponsored research, reflecting a vigorous and broad-ranging faculty.
Over 24 years––the longest presidency to date––Fr. Monan skillfully led Boston College through a dramatic transformation from a struggling university into one of the most successful and admired institutions of higher education in the U.S.