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O'Connell House Student Union

OCH History


O'Connell House is one of the only Welch-inspired pieces of architecture in the United States. It was constructed at the turn of the 20th century for approximately $300,000 when all of Upper Campus was part of the estate of the former drugstore baron Louis K. Ligett. The mansion resembled a royal palace at the time, filled with lavish furnishings and surrounded by fragrant gardens and beautiful fountains.

The house was later donated to Boston's Cardinal O'Connell who used the house as his official residence and spiritual haven. After his death in 1937, the Church donated O'Connell House and the estate to the growing Boston College.

Since then, O'Connell House has served as a Jesuit residence, the birthplace of the School of Management, a James Cagney movie set, classroom facility, and a football residence hall. In the early 1970s, space constraints prompted a strong movement to tear down the house. However, students fought to save O'Connell and the mansion survived. The original plans for demolition were transformed into a one million dollar renovation. Since the fall of 1972, it has served the Boston College community as the home of the official student union in addition to providing office space for the Office of First Year Experience and the Alcohol and Drug Education Program.

O'Connell House seeks to entertain, educate, and facilitate all Boston College students through events such as Middlemarch, the Breaking the Barriers Ball, and Harvest Night. It's the home of monthly (sometimes even weekly!) events such as live bands, comedy shows, student talent nights, lectures, and much more.