Boston College

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox University2 Boston College is a private university in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Its historic campus, one of the earliest examples of Collegiate Gothic architecture in North America, is set on a hilltop six miles (10 km) west of downtown Boston. Although chartered as a university by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1863, Boston College's name reflects its early history as a liberal arts college and preparatory school in Boston's South End. It was the first institution of higher education established in the city of Boston, though it moved from the South End to then-rural Chestnut Hill as a result of rapid growth and urbanization in the late nineteenth century. Boston College is one of the oldest Jesuit universities in the United States, and its president serves as chairman of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.


About Boston College

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Founded in part as a response to discriminatory policies against immigrants and Catholics at Harvard University in the nineteenth century, Boston College later earned the nickname "Jesuit Ivy" in a speech by John F. Kennedy. Its charter was among the first documents to stipulate that the institution "from its inception shall be open to youths of any faith," a policy since expanded to include those "of no religious faith at all."

Boston College is called The Heights, a reference to both its lofty aspirations--the college motto is "Ever to Excel"--and its location on Chestnut Hill, or "University Heights" as the area was initially designated. The name has lent itself to a number of campus organizations--including the principal student newspaper, The Heights ( to those afflitiated with the university: BC students were universally called "Heightsmen" until 1925 when Mary C. Mellyn became the first "Heightswoman" to receive a BC degree. Today, Heightsonians include over 140,000 alumni in over 120 countries around the world.

Admission to Boston College is among the most competitive in the United States. In 2005, BC received more than 24,000 applications for an undergraduate class of approximately 2,100. BC ranks fourth among private American unversities in the number of applications it receives annually, though it is less than half the size of the three schools that rank above it.

AHANA is a term coined (and trademarked) by BC students in 1979 to refer to students of African-American, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American descent. In recent years AHANA representation has grown to approximately one-third of BC undergraduates. International students make up an additional 10% of the student population.

Boston College students have enjoyed tremendous success in winning prestigious post-graduate fellowships and awards, including recent Churchill, Goldwater, Marshall, Mellon and Truman scholarships, among others. In 2004, 2 BC students won Rhodes scholarships, and 11 won Fulbright Awards. In 2005, the number of Fulbrights rose to a record 14.

At over $1.35 billion, BC's endowment is among the largest in American higher education, and the largest of any Jesuit university in the world. Its annual operating budget is approximately $600 million.


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Benedict Joseph Fenwick, SJ
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John McElory, SJ
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Groundbreaking for the "New BC" on Chestnut Hill
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Margaret Ursula Magrath (class of '26)
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Occupation of Gasson Hall, 1970

Early history

The history of Boston College is traced to the founding of the Society of Jesus in 1534 and the early activity of Jesuits in New England. Jesuit founder, Ignatius of Loyola, articulated a distinct mission that sought to engage intellectual inquiry, religious faith, and culture "in conversation with the city." His Society established colleges and universities in almost every part of the known world and were among the great explorers of the Age of Discovery. In 1825, Benedict Joseph Fenwick, SJ, a Jesuit from Maryland, became the second Bishop of Boston. He was the first to imagine a "College in the City of Boston" that would raise a new generation of leaders to serve both the civic and spiritual needs of his fledgling diocese.

"A College in the City"

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"Old BC" in Boston's South End

In 1827, Fenwick opened a school in the basement of his cathedral and took to the personal instruction of city youth. His efforts to attract other Jesuits to the faculty were hampered both by Boston's distance from the center of Jesuit activity in Maryland and by suspicion on the part of the city's Protestant elite. Relations with Boston's civic leaders worsened such that, when a Jesuit faculty was finally secured in 1843, Fenwick decided to close the Boston school and instead opened one 45 miles east of the city in central Massachusetts where he felt the Jesuits could operate with greater autonomy. Meanwhile, the vision for a college in Boston was sustained by Jesuit John McElroy, SJ who saw an even greater need for such an institution in light of Boston's growing immigrant population. Mostly poor and uneducated, Boston's immigrant class faced little opportunity for advancement, particularly in higher education where they were unwelcome at Harvard--then the only institution of higher education in all of eastern Massachusetts. With the approval of his Jesuit superiors, McElroy went about raising funds and in 1857 purchased land for "The Boston College" on Harrison Street in Boston's South End. With little fanfare, the college's two buildings--a schoolhouse and a church--welcomed their first class of scholastics in 1859. Two years later, with as little fanfare, BC closed again. Its short-lived second incarnation was plagued by the outbreak of Civil War and disagreement within the Society over the college's governance and finances. BC's inability to obtain a charter from the anti-Catholic Massachusetts legislature, only compounded its troubles.

On March 31, 1863, more than three decades after its initial inception, Boston College's charter was formally approved by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In it, BC was granted the right to confer all university degrees, with the exception of the M.D. (a limitation that was later amended). Johannes Bapst, SJ, a Swiss Jesuit from French-speaking Fribourg, was selected as BC's first president and immediately reopened the original college buildings on Harrison Avenue. For most of the 19th century, BC offered a singular 7-year program corresponding to both high school and college. Its entering class in the fall of 1864 included 22 students, ranging in age from 11 to 16 years. The curriculum was based on the traditional Jesuit Ratio Studiorum, emphasizing Latin, Greek, philosophy and theology. The great influx of immigrants to Boston coupled with sustained discrimination by Harvard and later institutions of the city's Brahmin elite assured BC's growth. Revolutionary for its time, BC's charter emphasized that "the profession of religion will not be a condition for admission to the College."

"Oxford of America"

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The Maginnis master plan

Boston College's enrollment reached nearly 500 by the turn of the century. Expansion of the South End buildings onto James Street enabled increased separation between the high school and college divisions, though Boston College High School remained a constituent part of Boston College until 1927 when it was separately incorporated. In 1907, newly-installed President Thomas I. Gasson, SJ, determined that BC's cramped, urban quarters in Boston's South End were inadequate and unsuited for significant expansion. Inspired by John Winthrop's early vision of Boston as a "city upon a hill," he re-imagined Boston College as world-renowned university and a beacon of Jesuit education. Less than a year after taking office, he purchased the Lawrence farm on Chestnut Hill, six miles west of the city. He organized an international competition for the design of a campus master plan and set about raising funds for the construction of the "new" university. Two years later, the competition winner was announced. From a field of entries by some of the most distinguished architects of the day, Charles Donagh Maginnis's proposal for an "Oxford in America" was selected.

By 1913, construction costs had surpassed available funds, and as a result Gasson Hall, "New BC's" main building, stood alone on Chestnut Hill for its first three years. Buildings of the former Lawrence farm, including a barn and gatehouse, were temporarily adapted for college use while a massive fundraising effort was underway. While Maginnis' ambitious plans were never fully realized, BC's first "capital campaign"--which included a large replica of Gasson Hall's clock tower set up on Boston Common to measure the fundraising progress--ensured that President Gasson's vision survived. By the 1920s BC began to fill out the dimensions of its university charter, estabilishing the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the Law School and the Evening College (now the Woods College of Advancing Studies), followed successively by the Graduate School of Social Work, the College of Business Administration (now the Carroll School of Management), the Connell School of Nursing and the Lynch School of Education. In 1926, Boston College conferred its first degrees on women (though it did not become fully coeducational until 1970). With the rising prominence of its graduates, this was also the period in which Boston College and its powerful Alumni Association began to establish themselves among the city's leading institutions. At the city, state and federal levels, BC graduates would come to dominate Massachusetts politics for much of the 20th century.

John F. Kennedy's characterization of Boston College as the "Jesuit Ivy" during the 1956 commencement belied the turmoil and uncertainty ahead. Cultural changes in American society and in the church following the Second Vatican Council forced BC to question its purpose and mission. Even Boston College's name was targeted for change. The desire for national recognition as a "university" was the stated reason the Board of Trustees opened debate on the issue ("Boston University" had in the meantime been chartered in a move that still puzzles some legal observers). The two sets of proposed names suggest that the real debate was one over BC's identity: secular (University of New England, Commonwealth University, Tremount University, Chestnut Hill University, Boston College University) or religious (Jesuit University, Boston Catholic University, Newman University, St. Thomas More University). Gasson University and Fenwick University were also considered, though in the end fierce alumni opposition and a highly critical editorial in The Heights closed the debate. Meanwhile, poor financial management lead to deteriorating facilities and resources and rising tuition costs. Student outrge, combined with growing protests over Vietnam and the bombings in Cambodia, culminated in student strikes, including the occupation of Gasson Hall for 23 days in April 1970.

The Monan era

By the time J. Donald Monan, SJ assumed the presidency on September 5, 1972, BC was approximately $30 million in debt, its endowment totaled just under $6 million, and faculty and staff salaries had been frozen during the previous year. Rumors about the university's future were rampant, including speculation that BC would be acquired by Harvard. Monan's first order of business was to reconfigure the BC Board of Trustees. By separating it from the Society of Jesus, Monan was able to bring in the talents of lay alumni and business leaders who helped turn around the university's fortunes. In 1974, Boston College acquired Newton College of the Sacred Heart, a 40-acre campus 1.5 miles away that enabled it to expand the law school and provide more housing for a student population that was increasingly residential and geographically diverse. No less than the university's rescue is credited to Monan who set into motion the university's upward trajectory in finances, reputation and global scope. In 1996, Monan's 24-year presidency, the longest in the university's history, came to an end when he was named University Chancellor and succeeded by President William P. Leahy, SJ.

Recent history

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The September 11 Memorial Labyrinth

Since assuming the Boston College presidency, Leahy's tenure has been marked with an acceleration of the growth and development initiated by his predecessor. BC's endowment has grown to over $1.35 billion, it has expanded by almost 150 acres, and undergraduate applications have surpassed 24,000. At the same time, BC students, faculty and athletic teams have seen unprecedented success--winning record numbers of Fulbrights, Rhodes and other academic awards; setting new marks for research grants; and winning conference and national titles. In 2002, Leahy initiated the Church in the 21st Century program to examine issues facing the Catholic Church in light of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. His effort brought BC world-wide praise and recognition for "leading the way on Church reform." In 2004, he announced plans to merge with the Weston Jesuit School of Theology and advance BC as the world's foremost Jesuit university. The announcement was followed by an article in the New York Times claiming "such a merger would further Boston College's quest to become the nation's Catholic intellectual powerhouse" and that, if approved by the Vatican and Jesuit authorities in Rome, BC "would become the center for the study of Roman Catholic theology in the United States." Template:Ref

The campus

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Gasson Tower seen from the Chestnut Hill Reservoir
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St John's Meadow
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Ford Memorial Tower, Burns Library, Bapst Library and Gasson Hall
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Aerial view of Boston College showing newly-acquired land in foreground

Landscape & architecture

Set on a hilltop overlooking the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and the Boston skyline (see live webcam (, Boston College's 175-acre Chestnut Hill campus includes over 120 buildings in addition to athletic fields, rolling hills, wooded areas, three formal gardens, an orchard, and over 100 species of trees. The campus creates an almost rural setting, only 6 miles west of downtown Boston. A Boston College "T"-station located at St Ignatius Gate, is the western terminus of the MBTA Green Line's B-branch (also know as the "Boston College" line) and provides rapid transit to the city center. Travel time is approximately 30-45 minutes.

Due largely to its location and architecture, the Boston College campus is known affectionately as the "Heights," the "Crowned Hilltop" and "Oxford in America." This last moniker was the title of the original campus master plan and was confirmed by a visiting British journalist in 1915 who famously wrote, "Even in embryo, it is Oxford and Cambridge without their grime."

"The Crowned Hilltop"

Designed by Charles Donagh Maginnis and his firm, Maginnis & Walsh, in 1908, the Boston College campus is a seminal example of Collegiate Gothic architecture. Publication of its design in 1909--and praise from influential American Gothicist Ralph Adams Cram--helped establish Collegiate Gothic as the prevailing architectural style on American university campuses for much of the 20th Century. Gasson Hall, BC's signature building, is credited for the typology of dominant Gothic towers in subsequent campus designs, including those at Princeton (Cleveland Tower, 1913-1917), Yale (Harkness Tower, 1917-1921), and Duke (Chapel Tower, 1930-1935). Combining Gothic Revival architecture with principles of Beaux-Arts planning, Maginnis proposed a vast complex of academic buildings set in a cruciform plan. The design suggested an enormous outdoor cathedral, with a long entry drive at the "nave," the main quadrangle at the "apse" and secondary quadrangles at the "transepts." At the "crossing," Maginnis placed the university's main building, which he called "Recitation Hall." Using stone quarried on the site, the building was constructed at the highest point on Chestnut Hill, commanding a view of the surrounding landscape and the city to the east. Dominated by a soaring 200-foot bell tower, Recitation Hall was known simply as the "Tower Building" when it finally opened in 1913. Maginnis' design broke from the traditional Oxbridge models that had inspired it--and that had till then characterized Gothic architecture on American campuses. In its unprecedented scale, Gasson Tower was conceived not as the belfry of a singular building, but as the crowning campanile of Maginnis' new "city upon a hill."

Expansion & eclecticism

Though Maginnis' ambitious Gothic project never saw full completion, its central portion was built according to plan and forms the core of what is now BC's iconic middle campus. Among these, the Bapst Library has been called the "finest example of Collegiate Gothic architecture in America" and Devlin Hall won the Harleston Parker Medal for "most beautiful building in Boston." Subsequent campus expansions exceeded even President Gasson's vision and brought with them a new set of architectural vocabulary: Georgian, Neoclassical, Richardsonian Romanesque, and others. The 1895 Liggett Estate was developed into a Tudor style upper campus, while an architecturally eclectic lower campus took shape on land acquired by filling in part of the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. Around this time, a Seattle newspaper ranked Boston College #2 in a list of "America's Most Beautiful Campuses" (the University of Washington ranked first). Notions of "beauty" meanwhile were challenged by the advent of modernism. The 1940 design for St Ignatius Church is an important hybrid of this period and is an example of what has been called "Modern Gothic." Modernism had an enormous impact on development after the 1940s, though most modernist buildings at BC maintained decidedly un-modern rough stone facades in keeping with Maginnis' original designs. By the 1960s, BC's severe space demands and poor financial health began to leave their mark, as evidenced by the construction of prefabricated modular apartments on the lower campus. Originally intended as temporary housing, the "Mods" have survived in large part because of their popularity among upperclassmen. Indeed, their quadrangles are ideally suited for barbecues, whiffleball and other social events. Other legacies of this era include the hyperbolic-roofed Flynn Recreation Complex, constructed using laminated wood beams, and the later International Style O'Neill Library, designed by The Architects Collaborative. More recent campus development signals a return to Maginnis & Walsh's Collegiate Gothic designs, as reflected in the renovations of Fulton Hall (1997) and Higgins Hall (2002), and in the construction of Campanella Hall (2003) and the St Ignatius Gate Residence Hall (2004).

In June 2004, Boston College acquired land from the Archdiocese of Boston. The new grounds, adjacent to the main campus, include the historic mansion that served as the Cardinal's residence until 2002.

Other BC properties

In addition to the main campus at Chestnut Hill, BC's 40-acre Newton Campus is located 1 mile to the west and houses the law school and housing for roughly half the freshman class. Other BC properties include a 20-acre seismology research observatory and field station in Weston, Massachusetts; an 80-acre retreat center in Dover, Massachusetts; a sea-side estate in Cohasset, Massachusetts designed by Henry Hobson Richardson; and a campus on St Stephen's Green in Dublin, Ireland.


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New grounds

Boston College is comprised of eight schools and colleges:

  • In December 2004, Boston College announced plans to create a Divinity School by merging its existing Theology department, its Institute for Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry and the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The new school would be located on the BC campus on land recently acquired from the Boston archdiocese.

Departments & programs

College of Arts and Sciences

Carroll School of Management

Lynch School of Education

Connell School of Nursing

Research centers & institutes

Libraries & museums

Boston College was the first institution in the 400-year history of Jesuit education to construct a building dedicated solely as a library. Today, Boston College's eight research libraries contain over twelve million printed volumes, manuscripts, journals, government documents and microform items, ranging from ancient papyrus scrolls to digital databases. Together with the university's museums, they include original manuscripts and prints by Galileo, Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier as well as world renowned collections in Jesuitana, Irish literature, sixteenth century Flemish tapestries, ancient Greek pottery, Caribbean folk art and literature, Japanese prints, US government documents, Congressional Archives, and paintings that span the history of art from Europe, Asia and the Americas.

O'Neill Library

BC's central research library, the Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Library is named for the legendary former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, a member of the Boston College Class of 1936. Opened in 1984, it houses approximately two million volumes in the humanities, the natural sciences and the social sciences. It also contains US government documents, administrative offices of the Boston College Libraries, and a museum dedicated to "Tip" O'Neill, whose papers are housed in the Burns Library (see below). The O'Neill Library was among the first libraries in the world to digitize its card catalog. A glass-enclosed atrium on the library's fourth and fifth floors offers sweeping views of the Boston skyline.

Bapst Library

When it opened in 1922, Bapst Library was the only designated library building in Jesuit history. Named for the first president of Boston College (Johannes Bapst, SJ, 1815-1887), it was one of the few structures built according to Charles Donagh Maginnis' original "Oxford in America" master plan and served as the university's main library until 1984. It has been widely praised as the "finest example of Collegiate Gothic architecture in America." In 1987, it reopened after a two-year, multimillion dollar restoration and now houses the university's fine arts collection. Designed as a "cathedral to learning," it is the most elaborate of the original Collegiate Gothic buildings on campus with extensive stained glass windows, vaulted ceilings and carved wood paneling. Gargan Hall, the soaring reading room on the library's upper floor, has been named the most beautiful room in Boston. Also on the upper floor are the Chancellor's office and the Lonergan Institute. The reading room on the ground floor features a gold-leaf and wood-beamed ceiling that was carefully restored with funds from the Kresge Foundation. A guide to the building's famous staned glass windows is available online (

Burns Library

The Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections is home to more than 150,000 volumes, some 15 million manuscripts and other important works, including a world-renowned collection of Irish literature. A rare facsimile of the Book of Kells is on public display in the library's Irish Room, and each day one page of the illuminated manuscript is turned. Other significant holdings include original works by Samuel Beckett, T.S. Elliot, Graham Greene, Seamus Heaney, Gerard Manley Hopkins, James Joyce, Francis Thompson, George Bernard Shaw, and William Butler Yeats, among others. It also houses the papers of prominent Boston College alumni, including House Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, Jr.; legal scholar and former US Congressman Robert F. Drinan, SJ; US Representative Edward P. Boland; and Margaret Heckler, Congresswoman, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, and US Ambassador to Ireland. The library is named after the Honorable John. J. Burns (1901-1957), Massachusetts Superior Court Justice and a member of the Boston College Class of 1921. The library's lofty Ford Memorial Tower is considerably more elaborate than Gasson Tower, though not as tall. Inside, the Thompson Room features a magnificent oriel window depicting epic poetry, while the Trustee Room includes stained glass depictions of 54 Jesuit armorial crests. Exhibits are held frequently on the library's main level and guided tours are available on request.

Law Library

Opened in 1996, the Law Library is located on the law school campus and contains approximately 500,000 volumes covering all major areas of American law and primary legal materials from the federal government, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the European Union. The library also features a substantial treatise and periodical collection and a growing collection of international and comparative law material. The library's Coquillette Rare Book Room houses works from the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries, including works by and about Saint Thomas More.

McMullen Museum of Art

Located in Devlin Hall, the McMullen Museum of Art houses a prominent permanent collection and organizes exhibits from all periods and cultures of art history. Recent exhibits and acquisitions, including works by Edvard Munch, Amedeo Modigliani, Frank Stella, Françoise Gilot, and John LaFarge, have widened both the scope of the collection and its audience. Saints and Sinners, a 1999 exhibition on the work of Caravaggio, attracted the largest audience of any university museum up to that time. Related museum activities include musical and theatrical performances, films, gallery talks, symposia, lectures, readings, and receptions that draw students, faculty, alumni and visitors from around the world. Admission to the Museum is free and open to the general public.

Other libraries & museums

Other BC libraries include dedicated facilities for the schools social work and education, an undergraduate library on the Newton Campus (nicknamed "the morgue" both because of its absolute silence and its location in the former crypt of Trinity Chapel), and a geophysics library at the Weston Observatory. Additional exhbition spaces include a student art gallery on the Bapst Library's mezzanine level as well as exhibition space in the Robsham Theater and Campanella Hall. Items related to BC history and athletics are on display at the Hall of Fame in Conte Forum and the BC Football Museum in the Yawkey Athletics Center.

Journals, publications & media

Campus publications & media

  • @BC (, an online multimedia magazine, published monthly
  • The BC Bulletin (, a monthly alumni newsletter
  • The Boston College Chronicle (, the official campus newspaper
  • Boston College Magazine (, a quarterly magazine
  • The Counselor (, the weekly newsletter of Boston College Law School
  • Front Row (, an online video database of lectures and performances at Boston College
  • The Little Red Book (, "What Are We? An Introduction to Boston College and Its Jesuit and Catholic Tradition"

Academic journals & scholarly publications

Student media

  • The Boston College Review (, an undergraduate journal for non-fiction essays
  • The Boston Collegian (, a humor and parody magazine
  • Elements (, the undergraduate research journal
  • The Heights (, the principal student newspaper, published twice-weekly; established in 1919
  • Naked Singularity (, a left-leaning art, literary, and editorial magazine
  • The Observer (, a right-leaning student newspaper
  • The Patriot (, a left-leaning student newspaper
  • The Stylus, the undergraduate art and literature quarterly, founded in 1883
  • Sub Turri, the Boston College yearbook, published since 1913
  • UGBC-TV (, the student run cable television station, featuring the sketch comedy show Basic Cable [1] (, the campus news desk Now You Know (, and a score of other student programming
  • WZBC, 90.3 FM (, a student-run radio station which provides independent and experimental music

Jesuit tradition

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Ignatius injured in battle

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Ignatius & his companions

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Ignatius writing the Constitutions

BC's Jesuit identity is rooted in the distinct Ignatian vision of its founder, Ignatius of Loyola, who believed in "finding God in all things." Jesuits are characterized by a dedication to both "the life of the mind and the encounter with the world," a mission distinguished by their intellectual and humanitarian activities--notably in the fields of higher education, human rights, and social justice. As explorers, scientists, artists, diplomats, and writers, Jesuits have historically been at the forefront of scientific discovery and cultural expression. As a result, they have had a sometimes tumultuous relationship with the Catholic Church--and were officially suppressed by the Vatican from 1773-1814--though their work has always been dedicated Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, or "to the greater glory of God." The 150 Jesuits living on the Boston College campus make up the largest Jesuit community in the world and include members of the faculty and administration, graduate students and visiting international scholars.

The balance between faith and reason, coupled with BC's inclusive founding mission, attracts students and faculty from diverse religious traditions and a broad range of convictions. Campus spiritual activities are open to all, though entirely optional and include Catholic liturgies as well as religious services in various Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and other traditions. The Jesuit call to justice is evident in work across religious boundaries in community service, reflection retreats, and immersion programs both on campus and abroad. Alumni/ae also reflect this commitment to humanitarian work: BC ranks 9th among Peace Corps volunteer-producing colleges and 1st among Jesuit Volunteers-producing colleges.

During the 2004-2005 academic year, the Boston College administration found itself in the midst of a controversy surrounding the exclusion of sexual orientation in the university's notice of non-discrimination. Students and faculty in support of its inclusion cited Jesuit principles of justice and noted that other Jesuit institutions in the state, including the Weston Jesuit School of Theology with which BC had proposed a merger, did include sexual orientation in their notices of non-discrimination. A student referendum showing 84% support, a list of nearly 200 supporting faculty and Jesuits published in the The Heights and a campus rally that drew over 1,000 culminated in an agreement for a revised notice of non-discrimination in April 2005.


Boston College teams are called The Eagles. The BC mascot is an eagle named Baldwin, derived from the bald head of the eagle and the word 'win'. The school colors are maroon and gold. The fight song, "For Boston!," was composed by T.J. Hurley, Class of 1885. Principal athletic facilities include Alumni Stadium (capacity: 44,500), Conte Forum (8,606), Kelley Rink (7,884), Shea Field, the Newton Soccer Complex and the Flynn Recreation Complex. The Yawkey Athletics Center is scheduled to open in the spring of 2005. BC students compete in 33 varsity sports, as well as a number of club and intramural teams. Boston College's Athletics program has been named to the College Sports Honor Roll as one of the nation's top 20 athletic programs by U.S. News and World Report (March 18, 2002).

A founding member of the Big East Conference, the Eagles will move to the Atlantic Coast Conference on July 1, 2005.


Though not a traditional basketball powerhouse, Boston College has seen increasing success on the court and garnered growing national media attention in recent years. The men's team holds a winning record of over 70% in the 21st Century, has gone on to post-season tournament play in 5 of the past 6 seasons, and won the 2001 Big East championship. The women's team won the 2004 Big East championship and has played in the NCAA tournament in 6 of the past 8 seasons. The 2004-2005 campaign was particularly notable for the men's team, with a school- and Big East-record breaking 20-0 start and a #3 national ranking, the highest in school history.


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Boston College's first football team in 1893

Football at Boston College can be traced to the 1884 founding of the "Boston College Athletic Club" and the first series of interclass games held on the James Street Fields in Boston's South End. In 1892, President Edward Devit, SJ, grudgingly agreed to the requests of two undergraduates Joseph F. O'Connell, of the class of 1893, and Joseph Drum, of the class of 1894?to start a varsity football team. Drum would become the first head coach, albeit an unpaid position. O'Connell was captain. On October 26, 1893, BC played its first official game against the St. John's Literary Institute of Cambridge followed by its first intercollegiate game against MIT. BC won the first game 4-0, but lost 6-0 to MIT. Two of the original team's alumni had particularly significant careers: Lineman John Douglass became the first BC graduate to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and running back James Carlin became president of Holy Cross, a nearby Jesuit college in Worcester, Massachusetts.

In 1896, Boston College and Holy Cross began what would become one of the most storied rivalries in college football. For much of the 20th century, BC-HC was simply known as "The Rivalry" and drew some of New England's largest sports crowds. In 1913, BC began playing home games at Alumni Field. To accommodate larger crowds, the Holy Cross game was routinely held at larger venues off campus, with the 1916 matchup taking place at the newly constructed Fenway Park. A record 54,000 attended the 1922 game at Braves Field, home of the Boston Braves baseball team. In 1942 the undefeated Eagles suffered a stunning 55-12 loss to Holy Cross, also losing a chance to play in the Sugar Bowl. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As a result of the loss, BC canceled a victory party at the Cocoanut Grove that surely would have resulted in the death of football players and fans. The series was terminated by Holy Cross in 1986, after BC had won 17 of the last 20 games.

In the last two decades, BC's most notable football rival has become Notre Dame. The nation's only two Catholic universities with Division 1-A football programs have met annually since 1992. The rivalry is known for intense, close games -- the last seven games in the series have been decided by an average of just 4.7 points, with BC winning five of those close finishes. Notre Dame holds a 9-7 lead in the series, but in recent years, BC has become ND's nemesis. The best known game in the series came in 1993, when the Fighting Irish returned to Notre Dame Stadium riding high after knocking off top-ranked Florida State 31-24 in what had been called "The Game of the Century." Notre Dame was one game away from an undefeated regular season and a chance at another national championship. BC Coach Tom Coughlin and his 17th-ranked Eagles stunned the Irish in front a capacity crowd. Notre Dame trailed for a good portion of that game, only to storm back in the second half. Then kicker David Gordon strode onto the field and made a last-second game-winning field goal. The next year BC won at home, 30-11. Then Notre Dame won four straight. The 1999 game brought a 31-29 victory to the Eagles, 2000 saw the Irish win 28-16, and the Eagles have not lost since. During the 2002 matchup in South Bend, Notre Dame emerged after halftime clad in their celebrated green jerseys, which since 1981 had only been worn against archrival USC or in bowl games -- BC won, 14-7.. With Boston College's move to the Atlantic Coast Conference this non-conference series takes a two-year break and is scheduled to resume in 2007.

BC football feats over the past century have included 16 bowl appearances, one National Championship and Doug Flutie's legendary "Hail Mary" Pass, which helped earn him the Heisman Trophy in 1984.

Today Boston College's football team is consistently ranked in the nation's top 25, finishing the 2004-2005 season at #21. BC holds the current national record for consecutive bowl appearances and has won a postseason bowl game in each of the past five years, including a win over North Carolina in the 2004 Continental Tire Bowl. BC footballers routinely rank #1 in the country for best graduation rate and were ranked 6th nationally in Student-Athlete GPA for 2004-05. The Eagles finished the 2004 season in a four-way tie atop the Big East in their last season in the conference.

Boston College postseason bowl history
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Doug Flutie, in the arms of his brother Darren

Note: The year indicates the season, as some bowl games are played in early January of the following calendar year.


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2004 Beanpot Champions

BC's men's ice hockey team has long been considered one of the best programs in the nation. Three BC head coaches rank among the winningest coaches in NCAA history, including Len Ceglarski and the legendary John "Snooks" Kelley, after whom BC's rink is named. With over 700 wins, Jerry York, BC'67, is the winningest active coach in the NCAA. Under his leadership, BC has maintained a #1 ranking for most of the 2004-2005 season. In 2004 BC won the coveted Beanpot, an annual tournament between Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University and Northeastern University, Boston. BC last won a national championship in hockey in 2001. Recent BC alumni who have gone on to play in the NHL include Brian Gionta and Brian Leetch.

Boston College has won national championships in hockey in 1949 and 2001.

BC won the regular season tournament in Hockey East in 2005, 2001, 1999, 1998, 1990, 1987, and the ECAC regular season tournament in 1978 and 1965.

The hockey team won the Hockey East regular season crown in 2005, 2003, 2001, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1987, 1986, 1985, and the ECAC title in 1980.

BC has won the Beanpot 13 times, second only to BU. They won in in 2004, 2001, 1983, 1976, 1965, 1964, 1963, 1961, 1959, 1957, 1956, and 1954.

Notable Heightsonians

External links


  1. Template:Note David Gibson. "Jesuits Show Strength, Even as Their Numbers Shrink". The New York Times. December 12, 2004.

Template:Atlantic Coast Conference


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