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In Memoriam: Boston College's 'Ambassador,' Senior Vice President James P. McIntyre

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (9-5-15)—Boston College Senior Vice President James P. McIntyre—a beloved  BC administrator whose career spanned more than half a century and touched all facets of University life—passed away on September 4 of complications from multiple myeloma. He was 81. [Funeral arrangements follow below.]

Dr. McIntyre played a unique role in the advancement of Boston College from a commuter school to a preeminent national university. He had worked at Boston College since 1959, under four presidents.

James P. McIntyre
James P. McIntyre

In modern BC history, there were few major University developments in which he was not personally involved. He had a hand in establishing BC's financial aid program, directing its first major capital campaign, and hosting nationally acclaimed finance conferences on campus, which convened top leaders from the financial world.

"When you think of all the key jobs Jim McIntyre held at Boston College, you realize how much he helped shape this University,” said University President William P. Leahy, SJ. “He was such an effective, dedicated ambassador for his alma mater. Future generations will benefit greatly from his lifelong commitment to BC.”

Boston College's Newton Campus, Flynn Recreation Complex, Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Library, Silvio O. Conte Forum, Robsham Theater Arts Center, the renovated Alumni Stadium and the Merkert Chemistry Center were all the fruits of Dr. McIntyre’s efforts, in addition to many of the University’s largest donations, and less visible entities such as the Presidential and Tip O'Neill scholarships that have benefitted generations of BC students.

“Jim McIntyre was known as ‘Mr. BC’ to all who knew and loved him,” said longtime University trustee and benefactor Jack Connors.  “He accumulated many ’firsts’ during his career at Boston College. He was the first lay person to work in Admissions, the first emissary to the neighborhoods surrounding the school, the first VP for University Relations and the first administrator to secure federal grants for Boston College programs and capital projects. He was the unofficial college ambassador to the world and fundraiser extraordinaire. Jim would go anywhere and talk to anyone when it was time to raise money for the school. He had a knack for relationships, for bringing people together, and for identifying and overcoming challenges. He wore Boston College on his sleeve and was tireless in support of the school that meant so much to him.”

James McIntyre Jr, the third oldest of Dr. McIntyre’s six children, recalled his father as a devoted husband, beloved father, and adored “Papa” to his 16 grandchildren.  “He was truly a blessing to us all--a thoughtful, kind-hearted and selfless man who lived an extraordinary life of service to others,” said McIntyre, Jr. “He touched countless lives, and measured his success by the positive impact he had on other people. But above all, he loved God, his family, and Boston College.”

The son of Irish immigrants born and raised in Malden, Dr. McIntyre was six when his father died. Upon graduating from Malden Catholic High School, he went to work full time to support his family while studying at BC's Evening College.

He graduated from Boston College with a degree in English in 1957 and served two years in the Army before returning in 1959 as the first layman hired in admissions, a job that would also introduce him to his wife, Monica.

"I met Monica while working in the Admission Office and began to date her when she went to work for the president, Fr. Michael Walsh," Dr. McIntyre once said. "BC not only provided me an education, but it also provided me a wife. It's easy to see why I feel such great love for this institution."

Dr. McIntyre went on to earn a master’s degree in 1961 and a PhD in higher education and administration in 1967, and was awarded an honorary degree in 2011.

After fulfilling Fr. Walsh's request to help build a first-rate admissions office that would attract the best students, Dr. McIntyre's next assignment was to create a modern student affairs office. Named BC's first lay vice president in 1968, he  would begin the difficult tasks of centralizing student affairs in a University with four undergraduate  colleges, and helping to transform a commuter school into a residential university, all while dealing with the turbulent social issues of the late 1960s.

In 1976 then-University President J. Donald Monan, SJ, asked Dr. McIntyre to take on a new role as vice president for University Relations. “I got the job on March 1 and on April 11 we started a capital campaign," Dr. McIntyre recalled years later. "The goal was $21 million and we raised $25 million. When you consider that we didn't have the resources to do research and cultivation, it was a very successful campaign for Boston College."

As senior vice president since 1986, Dr. McIntyre was responsible for major donor fundraising, assisting with congressional relations, securing federal appropriations, and a myriad of other functions important to the University.  A prodigious fundraiser, he is credited with securing many of the largest gifts in BC history, including several major gifts in the current $1.5 billion Light the World campaign.

In a 2000 Boston Globe article, then US Representative Edward J. Markey--a BC and BC Law School alumnus and longtime friend of Dr. McIntyre’s with whom he organized the campus finance conferences, said: “Jim McIntyre has dedicated his life to the effort of ensuring that Boston College joins the ranks of the top universities in the United States and in the world. And during his years that goal has been accomplished.”

That article called him “legendary for his ability to draw upon his far-flung connections in academia, government, business, and other realms to enhance the college’s finances and prestige.”

The honorary degree citation presented to him, at Boston College’s 2011 Commencement Exercises read, in part:

“During his half-century as a student and administrator at ‘the Heights,’ James P. McIntyre has had an immense impact on the evolution of Boston College  … His 43 consecutive years of service as a vice president are unmatched in Jesuit higher education in the United States. For his many contributions and unwavering commitment, Boston College awards James P. McIntyre the degree of Doctor of Science in Education, honoris causa.”

At University Convocation in 1998, Fr. Leahy announced that the James P. McIntyre Chair had been established in his honor by a Boston College benefactor. The chair is currently is held by Professor Solomon Friedberg, chairman of the BC Mathematics Department.

He served as chairman of BC’s Speaker Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr., Scholarship Committee, and was a member of Boston College’s Irish Famine Memorial Fund Committee. The IFM Fund was established by the family of late University Trustee and benefactor Thomas Flatley, to provide financial or material support to alumni and other individuals associated with Boston College who are committed to alleviating poverty, disease, famine and illiteracy in the US or abroad.

He was also a member of the American Association of Higher Education and the American College of Personnel Association. In addition, he was a member of the New England Council and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Knowledge Creation Subcommittee, and served on the boards of the Massachusetts Educational Finance Authority (MEFA) and Malden Catholic High School.

“I am fortunate to have had a very satisfying career and to have worked at an institution I love and whose mission I fully support,” said McIntyre in a recent interview with the Boston College Chronicle. “It has been a wonderful experience and a joyous life.”

Well known in BC circles for his love of family, Dr. McIntyre is survived by his wife of 52 years, Monica, and six children—Mary, Peter, James Jr., Ann, Kara, and David–all graduates of Boston College, and 16 grandchildren, Michael, Sarah, James, Eddie, Caroline, Kate, Ryan, Matt, Yana, Julia, Patrick, McKayla, Owen, Monica, William, and Tim.

Visiting hours will be held at St. Ignatius Church in Chestnut Hill, Mass., on Tuesday, September 8, from 4-8 p.m.  A funeral Mass will take place at St. Ignatius on Wednesday, September 9, at 11:00 a.m.  In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the James P. McIntyre Scholarship Fund at Boston College.

—Jack Dunn and Sean Smith, News & Public Affairs