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Beacon Book Club
To say William B. Neenan, S.J., left a lasting legacy at Boston College is a vast understatement. During his tenure at BC, he held several positions, including academic vice president and dean of faculties. Above all, he was a friend to the entire community. For nearly 35 years, his “Dean’s List” highlighted 27 books chosen by the man himself, and BC received thousands of requests for it. We continue this tradition here with the Beacon Book Club. In each issue of Beacon, a leading member of the BC community will add a pertinent or favorite book to the list.

View Fr. Neenan’s full Dean’s List.

Spring 2021

Boston College Law School Dean Vincent D. Rougeau
Vincent D. Rougeau, Boston College Law School Dean
The Underground Railroad
– Colson Whitehead
Find it at the BC Bookstore
Vincent D. Rougeau – The Underground Railroad

Boston College Law School Dean Vincent D. Rougeau’s selection—The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday, 2016)—is fitting for a time when the nation faces a reckoning of systemic racism and deep-rooted racial injustice.

Cora and Caesar are two slaves attempting to escape from a Georgia plantation in this fictional tale of the historical 19th-century path to freedom. Through secret trails, routes, and safe houses, the protagonists journey to avoid certain recapture and death at the hands of the slavecatcher, Ridgeway. Whitehead’s stirring novel won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, and the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction, among other accolades.

A vocal advocate for change in legal education, Rougeau has been dean of Boston College Law School since 2011. The author of his own book, Christians in the American Empire: Faith and Citizenship in the New World Order, he has done extensive research on religious identity, citizenship, and community organization in multicultural societies. He is the inaugural director of the Boston College Forum on Racial Justice in America and president of the Association of American Law Schools. In July 2021, he will be inaugurated as the 33rd president of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Summer 2020

David Quigley, Provost and Dean of Faculties

The Plague – Albert Camus
Find it at the BC Bookstore
David Quigley – The Plague

“I had the great blessing, when I was six years dean in Gasson Hall, of hosting the Baccalaureate Mass in December. Fr. Neenan’s homily every year was about Camus’ The Fall, and he certainly made you want to read that book, as I did several times in those years. In the great spirit of Fr. Neenan, I’ve got my copy of a book I haven’t read since junior year English—Camus’ The Plague. [It] is as powerful as I remember it, even as it seemed such an alien work back in 1983. Now, living through it in this very different moment as a middle-aged academic administrator, it is giving me a little much-needed sustenance these days.”

Before becoming provost, Quigley served as dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Boston College from 2008 to 2014. As provost and dean of faculties, he has served as co-chair of the University Strategic Planning Initiative, overseeing the hiring of 250 new faculty and guiding the University’s academic programs and curricula—all while teaching history classes of his own. Quigley lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife, Megan DeMott-Quigley, and they are the proud parents of three sons.


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