Located at the far end of the Middle Campus, McElroy Commons stands at the intersection of Beacon and Hammond Streets and College Road. It is named in honor of Rev. John McElroy, SJ, founder of Boston College.
John McElroy was born in County Fermanagh, Province of Ulster, on May 14, 1782. With little formal education as a result of the oppressive Penal Laws, he worked on a farm until the age of 21, when he came to America. After working as a clerk in a Baltimore dry-goods store, he became a Jesuit lay brother at Georgetown College for nine years. In 1815, at the age of 33, he was allowed to study for the priesthood, and two years later he was ordained.
Father McElroy served as pastor and builder, preacher and theologian, and chaplain in the Mexican-American War before coming to Boston in 1847 to become pastor of St. Mary's Church in the North End. After discussions with Bishop John Fitzpatrick about building a "college in the city" for the sons of Irish immigrants, Father McElroy worked for 16 years to acquire the funds, the property, and the permissions to begin Boston College in 1863.
McElroy Commons was dedicated on November 9, 1961. It was designed as a multipurpose student–faculty center in order to meet the expanding space needs of Boston College during the phenomenal growth of its student body and faculty in the decades after World War II. It contains two dining rooms for boarding students, a faculty dining room, a post office, and a book store, in addition to a number of rooms for student organizations and cultural activities.