Photo: Lee Pellegrini

BC unveils Academic Wall of Honor

Project recognizes student recipients of prestigious academic scholarships

Boston College has created an Academic Wall of Honor in Gasson Hall to pay tribute to BC student recipients of the world’s most prestigious academic scholarships.

The Wall of Honor lists the names and graduation years of the 59 BC students who earned coveted Rhodes, Marshall, Churchill, Goldwater, and Truman scholarships during their undergraduate years.  It will be updated annually to recognize future award winners.

The project was conceived by Associate Vice President of University Communications Jack Dunn as a way of recognizing the University’s most accomplished students for their academic achievement.

“These individuals represent Boston College at its best,” said Dunn. “Having had the pleasure of interviewing many of them during the past 25 years, I have always been impressed by their talent, leadership, and commitment to excellence.  They deserve to be recognized and celebrated as examples for our current students to emulate.”

Dunn said University President William P. Leahy, S.J., and Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley hope the wall will encourage more students to pursue the highly competitive awards, which provide a range of opportunities from international study at some of the world’s most distinguished universities to tuition support at undergraduate and graduate schools.

Boston College's faculty is proud of our many graduates who have earned these prestigious awards, and the Academic Wall of Honor will be a powerful reminder of their legacy.
David Quigley, Provost and Dean of Faculties

Rhodes Scholarships, awarded each year to 32 students from the United States on the basis of scholarly achievement, character, and potential for leadership, provide two or more years of fully funded graduate study at the University of Oxford.

Marshall Scholarships support two years of fully funded graduate study for up to 50 distinguished American undergraduates in any field at an educational institution in the United Kingdom.

Churchill Scholarships, which are awarded to 18 American students annually based on academic and research achievement in science, mathematics, and engineering, provide a year of graduate study at the University of Cambridge.

Goldwater Scholarships offer financial grants for up to two years to outstanding college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering.  

Truman Scholarships support select students who are interested in careers in public service with funding for graduate study at the college or university of their choice.

Melanie McNally ’06, who won both a Goldwater and Beckman Scholarship during her years at Boston College, said she was pleased to see the University create a space to honor its scholarship recipients, many of whom are making a difference in the world as leaders for change.

“These awards play a critical role in opening doors for students,” said McNally, a pediatric neurologist and clinician scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital. “They exposed me at a young age to what was possible and helped to launch my career as a scientist and researcher. I will always be grateful for the fellowships and to BC for giving me the opportunity to thoroughly challenge myself as an undergraduate.” 

Thomas Kempa ’04, associate professor of chemistry and of materials science and engineering at Johns Hopkins University, who spent two years at Imperial College in London courtesy of a Marshall Scholarship, said the award helped to shape his career by providing an opportunity to do research with leaders in the field of energy sustainability at such an early age.

“By giving me extreme flexibility and freedom to pivot to a new research area, the Marshall scholarship inspired me to be bold in my future scientific pursuits and to have the courage to push boundaries,” said Kempa. “These post-graduate scholarships help young scholars to contend with tough questions regarding intellectual interests, core values, and dreams. I am very touched and honored that my alma mater has created such a tribute to student achievement.”

Quigley lauded the student recipients and credited Jason Cavallari, interim director of the University Fellowship Committee and his fellow faculty committee members for the work they do in advising students on fellowships and scholarships, which also include Fulbright Grants, Gates Cambridge Scholarshipsand Gilman International Scholarships, among others.

“Boston College's faculty is proud of our many graduates who have earned these prestigious awards, and the Academic Wall of Honor will be a powerful reminder of their legacy,” said Quigley.

“The University Fellowships Committee stands ready to support current students as they explore the many opportunities for post-graduate study and travel. I look forward to seeing the names of some current undergraduates on the Wall in the not-too-distant future and for many years to come.”