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BC Dedicates Simboli Hall, Home of School of Theology and Ministry

Boston College dedicated 9 Lake Street, the home of BC's School of Theology and Ministry and Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, as Simboli Hall on September 16, in honor of real estate developer and longtime BC benefactor Anthony C. "Tony" Simboli '50, MA '50, and his wife, Gloria, shown here with family members and University President William P. Leahy, S.J. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

By Sean Smith | Chronicle Editor

Published: Sept. 17, 2015

Boston College dedicated 9 Lake Street, the home of BC’s School of Theology and Ministry and Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, as Simboli Hall on Sept. 16, in honor of real estate developer and longtime University benefactor Anthony C. “Tony” Simboli ’50, MA ’50, and his wife, Gloria.

The dedication ceremony, held outside the building in the sun and warmth of late afternoon, brought together STM administrators – including Dean Mark Massa, SJ – faculty and students, as well as other BC representatives, who listened as Tony Simboli expressed his appreciation for his alma mater and the role it played in his personal and professional life.

“The Jesuit education I received provided my moral compass,” said Simboli, retired chairman of ACS Development Corp., and a resident of Chelsea, which in 2011 presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. “BC taught me discipline, offered me guidance, and it was there I learned to get along with people.”

Simboli said he was particularly gratified to be associated with STM and the institute, two entities he described as committed to the “study of truth, which is essential to the future of civilization and humanity.

“This is,” he added, “a special day for all of us.”

Minutes later, Simboli and his family and friends watched as his grandson Trevor tugged on the cord to unveil the nameplate “Simboli Hall” above the building’s entrance.

University President William P. Leahy, SJ, and Senior Vice President for Advancement James Husson also spoke at the ceremony, and praised Simboli for his devotion to faith and service as well as BC.

Simboli Hall will be recognized as a place dedicated “to the religious and intellectual heritage that is part of Boston College’s value system,” said Fr. Leahy. “Tony and Gloria Simboli join some of the other important family names – Carney, Cadigan, Walsh, McMullen – who have left a legacy at Boston College. Their generosity is a call for all of us to rededicate ourselves to faith, service and intellectual excellence, the hallmarks of a Jesuit, Catholic education.”

Added Husson, “This building is a fitting tribute to the philanthropy and faith that characterize the lives of Tony and Gloria.”

Fr. Leahy and Husson also reviewed the highlights of Simboli’s unlikely and colorful path to success, which began with his childhood in Boston’s North End and included his time at BC – the first in his family to attend college, he is believed to be the only BC alumnus who simultaneously received an undergraduate and master’s degree.  

   Simboli was an agent for the Central Intelligence Agency for seven years before opening a retail store in 1957, then starting a chain of super-sized drugstores under the name Sunnyhurst and Sunny Corner Farms. Selling the chain in 1980, Simboli turned his attention to real estate development, with an emphasis on creating projects of lasting value that create opportunities and enhance communities. One project involved redeveloping the abandoned Christopher Columbus High School in his native North End into a luxury condominium complex, raising the standard for new condominium construction in that area.

His philanthropic endeavors have included providing the means for young people to realize the benefits of higher education. He established the Anthony C. Simboli Scholarship Fund in 1985, and in 2006 he founded the Simboli Family College Award, which has thus far has provided financial support for more than 100 Chelsea High School graduates attending college.

“I’m honored and privileged – and while I never use the word ‘humbled,’ I think I am – to have our family’s name on this building,” he said.