The Change Agent
Aimee Milliken is helping the Connell School train nurses to overcome feelings of distress and voicelessness on the job.
Steven Jackson '24 became the first BC runner to break the four-minute mark, raising hope for men's track.
Halfway through the race, he knew he was going to do it. “Stay on your feet,” Steven Jackson ’24 told himself. “Get to the line, and you’ll have this.” And minutes later, he did. It was January 27, 2023, and in the second heat of the John Thomas Terrier Classic race, Jackson had just crossed the finish line in 3 minutes 57 seconds, making him the first Eagle in history to record a sub-four-minute mile.
“Right when I crossed the line, I was in shock,” Jackson said. “It was an electric moment. A moment I’ll never forget.” And one that took years of hard work. Jackson credited his grandfather, an all-around athlete named Ralph Dellorfano, with being a major influence. For his part, Dellorfano praised his grandson’s “tremendous” work ethic—even if it wasn’t always clear he was a born athlete. He laughed recalling the time he took a six-year-old Jackson out to the backyard to hit golf balls into a lacrosse net. “After five minutes we came back in, and I said to his mother, ‘I hope this kid is smart, because he has absolutely no athletic ability.’” By the time Jackson reached his junior year of high school, however, he was able to record a 4:20 mile.
Jackson’s barrier-breaking run placed him at the competitive peak of his sport, and it could be a boost for the entire men’s team, which has historically had a difficult time attracting top athletes because, unlike the women’s program, it doesn’t offer athletic scholarships. John Kane, a former longtime BC sports administrator, explained that a sub-four mile “is something that really doesn’t happen in a non-scholarship program. It’s really a big deal.”
And it’s exactly the kind of thing that BC Track & Field Coach Pete Watson has been waiting for. Watson, who came to the Heights last August to oversee both the men’s and women’s programs, has set a goal of attracting top men’s talent that usually gravitates to scholarship programs. Before Jackson’s run, Watson said, it had been a long time since there were “marks on the board” that could make a serious case for men’s athletes to choose BC over other ACC options. But Jackson’s sub-four is just the edge the men’s program needed to recruit more talented athletes to BC. As Kane pointed out, even people who don’t follow the sport know that a four-minute mile is the gold standard. “It’s the best gift I could have gotten this year,” Watson said.
Jackson said his focus right now is on competing for BC next year as a senior, though he did acknowledge his feat has added fuel to his dreams of being a pro runner. “I’ll see where I am at the end of my NCAA career, and how much faster I can go,” Jackson said. “Running is a tough sport, but it’s definitely just a whole part of my identity.”
Many Boston College students pursue internships to further their professional ambitions, but it can be hard for football players to fit this kind of experience into their practice schedule. Now a new internship program is making professional experiences available to football players by scheduling them during the two weeks off that the team gets during the summer. The HighBrook Scholars program, created by Boston College Trustee David O’Connor ’86, is made up of two parts: a one-week in-person professional experience, and a remote capstone project. “We saw an opportunity to tap into what I think is the biggest untapped resource at Boston College,” O’Connor said, “which is the talent that exists among the athletes that don’t have time to participate in traditional internship programs.”
The in-person portion of the internship takes place at the Florida offices of HighBrook Investors, the real estate investment firm, cofounded by O’Connor, that gives the internship its name. The program launched with a class of three athletes last summer.
O’Connor said he hopes the program will attract students from underrepresented backgrounds to the real estate industry. “We’re hopeful we’ll inspire other employers to come up with programs of their own to tap into this opportunity,” he said.