Named in honor of Boston College faculty members Rev. Walter McGuinn, SJ, and his brother, Rev. Albert McGuinn, SJ, McGuinn Hall is located behind and below the incline from Carney Hall.
Father Walter McGuinn was convinced there was a need in the Boston area for professionally trained social workers who could view social problems in the light of Catholic social principles. With the idea of starting a school of social work at Boston College, he engaged in graduate studies at Fordham University in New York; in 1935 he was awarded a Ph.D. degree in Social Work. In May 1936, Rome granted permission to open a Graduate School of Social Work at Boston College, and Cardinal O'Connell gave his enthusiastic approval. The first classes were held in September 1936 at the school's quarters at 126 Newbury Street in downtown Boston.
Father McGuinn died suddenly of a heart condition on April 1, 1944. In 1968, Boston College announced that a building was to be constructed and dedicated to the social sciences. It would be named for Father Walter McGuinn, founder and first dean of the Graduate School of Social Work; and for his brother, Father Albert McGuinn, who served for many years as chairman of the Chemistry Department.
Today, McGuinn Hall houses the offices of the Graduate School of Social Work and its library; the offices of the Rev. James C. Woods College of Advancing Studies; the offices of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; and the departments of Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. In 2002, the Devlin family dedicated the College of Advancing Studies in honor of Rev. Woods. McGuinn Hall also has an auditorium with 260 fixed seats that serves as a lecture hall for large classes, as well as a venue for visiting lecturers and social events.