Boston College benefactor Peter S. Lynch ’65, H’95 talks with Lynch School Dean Stanton Wortham, Professor Eric Dearing, Associate Professor Rebecca Lowenhaupt, and Professor Belle Liang at the January symposium. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

A symposium focused on the social context of development marked the official launch of the Lynch School of Education and Human Development and Human Development, the new name of Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development. The change acknowledges the school’s strengths in applied psychology and whole-person approaches to human development.

Stanton Wortham

Stanton Wortham

“The name enhancement reflects our faculty strengths and substantial research and teaching expertise in counseling and developmental psychology—an academic area not formally recognized in our school’s name until now,” said Stanton E. F. Wortham, the Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean of the school.

“The new designation merges the outstanding work we do in teacher education, educational leadership, higher education, and curriculum and instruction with our distinguished capabilities in human development, thereby better reflecting the school’s focus and resources,” he said.

The first coeducational school built on Boston College’s Chestnut Hill Campus, the School of Education opened its doors to 176 first-year students in 1952. Its academic reputation burgeoned and was recognized in 1999 when philanthropists Carolyn and Peter Lynch made a landmark $10 million gift to the education school, which was renamed in the Lynches’ honor in November 2000. Today, more than 1,425 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in the Lynch School, which U.S. News & World Report recently ranked 21st among graduate schools of education. It placed first among Catholic schools of education.

Lynch School Dean Stanton Wortham, Associate Professor Rebecca Lowenhaupt, Professor Belle Liang, and Professor Eric Dearing

Stanton Wortham, Rebecca Lowenhaupt, Belle Liang, and Eric Dearing

A January 30 symposium, “Partnering with Schools and Communities to Foster Human Development,” held in the Yawkey Center’s Murray Family Function Room, featured Lynch School faculty Eric Dearing, a professor of applied developmental and educational psychology, Belle Liang, a professor of counseling psychology, and Rebecca Lowenhaupt, an associate professor in the Educational Leadership and Higher Education Department. The three discussed the school’s research on social contexts of development, how that research informs practice, and how the resulting lessons contribute to strengthening community and fostering justice. University Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley gave welcoming remarks and Wortham served as moderator for the discussion. 

Mary Lynch Witkowski and Peter S. Lynch ’65

Mary Lynch Witkowski and Peter S. Lynch ’65

Boston College benefactor Peter S. Lynch ’65, H’95 described the name enhancement event that officially added “Human Development” to the Lynch School of Education eponym as “a great moment.

“It’s not like we’re changing things; it’s been going on here for a long time,” he pointed out. “We’re actually naming what the school does.

“Two-thirds of [undergraduate] students major in Applied Psychology and Human Development, and 40 percent of the faculty teach within this discipline,” he said. The two elements of the school’s name—education and human development—relate to each other every minute of the day.”

Lynch characterized his family’s involvement in the school as the “greatest thing we’ve ever done” among the numerous philanthropic ventures of the Lynch Foundation, which he and his his late wife, Carolyn, established in 1988.

“The most important four years of my life were here at Boston College,” said Lynch in closing.

Phil Gloudemans | University Communications | February 2019

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Lynch School symposium and name enhancement