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Boston College Strong Scholarship

Honoring dedication and resiliency



BC Strong Scholarship honors Marathon bombings survivors: Boston Globe | AP via New York Times |Metro Boston Fox 25 Boston | WBZ-TV Boston | NBC Boston | WCVB-TV News | NBC Early Today | NECN


Nov. 2, 2017

"Light shall shine out of darkness." (2 Corinthians 4:6)

When we gathered on the Boston College campus to announce the first recipient of the BC Strong Scholarship last week, our hearts were lifted by the light that has warmed us in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Today, we are proud to shine that light on sophomore Jack Manning '20 as the scholarship's inaugural recipient.

Hailing from Norfolk, Mass., Jack is a student in the Carroll School of Management. After losing his leg to cancer 10 years ago, he now volunteers to support and mentor young cancer patients who face the prospect of losing limbs.

The outpouring of support since the launch of the scholarship two years ago has served as a beacon for all of us on the BC Strong team, and especially for my wife, Jessica, and me. Since then, nearly 1,000 supporters have raised close to $400,000 to make this moment possible, epitomizing what the scholarship represents.

BC Strong is a testament to love in the face of hateā€”and an homage to the power of coming together as one. For Jack, it is a gift of what is possible, and we know that he will exemplify Boston College's great mission of educating "men and women for others" and continue to spread his own light into the world.

For us, BC Strong embodies the best the Boston College family has to offer: one indelible community greater than the sum of its parts, strong in voice, strong in heart, strong in light.

With deepest gratitude,

Patrick Downes '05 with Michael Hundgen '05; Kevin Collins '05, MEd'08; Grace Simmons Zuncic '05; and Liz Stowe Fennell '05

Jack Manning '20, Patrick Downes '05, and Jessica Kensky

Read more about the scholarship event:

Patrick Downes '05 and Jessica Kensky announce that the first recipient of the Boston College Strong Scholarship will be sophomore Jack Manning >> Read press release


About the BC Strong Scholarship:

In April 2013, newlyweds Patrick Downes '05 and Jessica Kensky, while watching the Boston Marathon near the finish line, were caught in one of the two blasts that went off that day. Each sustained serious injuries resulting in amputations.


The couple, initially separated by rescue personnel and treated at different hospitals, remained strong. After being reunited, their love and dedication to one another was summed up in the media and captured the attention of the entire country.

In the wake of this tragedy, and despite an ongoing healing process, Patrick and Jessica have spent their time reaching out to others impacted by traumatic injuries, especially people who have undergone amputations and need support. They have used their influence and educations to advocate for better processes for amputees, better conversations among public officials regarding healthcare, and more.

Even the latest addition to Patrick and Jessica's family, Rescue, a NEADS dog who assists Jessica with everyday tasks from walking to fetching her phone to simply being there for a good hug, has caught the eye of the national media. It is no surprise that these two then seized on his fame to raise awareness for the impact of dogs such as Rescue in the lives of disabled Americans everywhere.

As family and friends of Patrick and Jessica, we want to honor their incredible dedication and resiliency. As part of the Boston College family, we look to them and see models of what it means to be "men and women for others." The Boston College Strong Scholarship, once endowed at $250,000, will live on in perpetuity in Patrick and Jessica's names. Each year, it will be awarded to an individual who exemplifies the same character and values as this amazing couple.  

This scholarship fund was established by the Class of 2005 in honor of their friend and fellow classmate, Patrick Downes '05 and his wife Jessica Kensky, in the spirit of love they received in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. This gift will establish a scholarship for a student with demonstrated financial need and a physical disability; second preference for a student who exhibits qualities of compassion and service to the community; and third preference for a student who has overcome adversity. The scholarship has been endowed at $250,000, and we continue to raise funds.

Read more about Patrick and Jessica in:

Business Wire

The Boston Globe

Iceland Monitor


For more information about the BC Strong scholarship, contact Michelle Murphy, Director of Annual Giving & Volunteer Engagement.

Light the World Campaign