Banner year at the Heights
Boston College enjoys the most successful year of fundraising in its history.
Colleges and universities are often judged by the number of athletic championships they win. And while Boston College enjoyed many victories on the field, its success away from the field was historic.
At the close of fiscal year 2022, BC had raised more money than in any other year of its history, surpassing its ambitious goals by finishing north of $300 million in commitments and $200 million in cash. All told, gifts to cornerstone programs combined to make a significant impact, particularly to financial aid, which saw an infusion of $106 million in new commitments. Several major gifts contributed a large portion of the total intake, including BC’s first-ever nine-figure pledge.
While multimillion-dollar gifts are necessary and headline-grabbing, it is the collective support that made this a truly great year. To that end, BC saw a 17 percent increase in the number of individual donors—surging past the 50,000 mark for the first time—and the participation rate among undergraduate alumni exceeded 21 percent, the highest since 2019. Several signature events and programs added broad support for BC’s fundraising effort.
Pops on the Heights: the Barbara and Jim Cleary Scholarship Gala, returned to Conte Forum in September 2021 for the first time in two years. Pops patrons contributed a remarkable $14.5 million to student scholarships, driving the total number of awards past 3,500 in the event’s nearly three-decade history. These generous benefactors join the thousands of alumni, parents, and friends who carried BC’s two-year Be a Beacon campaign for financial aid past its goal of $250 million.
“These phenomenal results demonstrate the care and commitment from the BC community for our students, and will have a lasting impact at the Heights for generations to come,” said Susan Martinelli Shea ’76, P’04, co-chair of the Be a Beacon campaign. “I am so proud to be a part of this special group of individuals who came together for our Boston College students during a global pandemic.”
Support Your Sport sprinted to more than $1.1 million from more than 4,100 former student-athletes and friends to benefit BC’s 31 varsity programs. Soon after, BC celebrated Giving Day. Aimed at building the University’s future while honoring its humble beginnings, this stalwart initiative garnered an additional $1.6 million for various BC causes thanks to support from students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends.
That future is even more secure thanks to a 45 percent return on BC’s endowment, besting the industry average by 50 percent and resulting in a new high-water mark of $3.8 billion. In the past 10 years, the BC endowment has increased by nearly $2 billion, and endowment income supports approximately 11 percent of the University’s $1.2 billion annual operating budget.
“These extraordinary gains solidify Boston College’s future and demonstrate to our committed donors that the investments they make in this University will pay dividends for generations,” said Acting Senior Vice President for University Advancement Amy Yancey. “The directed impact of this support creates a stronger University for our students and amplifies our research and service impact on our communities in Boston and well beyond.”
Philanthropic support has already begun to shape BC’s future from physical, pedagogical, and programmatic perspectives. Among the highlights:
- Construction commenced on the Hoag Basketball Pavilion, a state-of-the-art training facility at Conte Forum that will help BC’s men’s and women’s programs better compete for recruits with their ACC peers. The facility is expected to open in August 2023.
- The Lynch School for Education and Human Development announced an eight-figure gift to rename the Center for Optimized Student Support after a pioneering faculty member. The gift to the Mary E. Walsh Center for Thriving Children will support City Connects, which serves 45,000 in 150-plus public, charter, and Catholic schools across five states and in Ireland each year.
- Last December, BC Trustee Associate Peter S. Lynch ’65, H’95, donated more than $20 million in seminal art to the McMullen Museum at Boston College from his and his late wife Carolyn’s private collection. Many pieces of the Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch Collection will be on public exhibit for the first time next year.
- The 2021–2022 academic year saw the opening of 245 Beacon Street, a 150,000-square-foot facility featuring laboratories, classrooms, maker spaces, commons, and offices for faculty across multiple disciplines. The building houses the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society, the Edmund H. Shea Jr. Center for Entrepreneurship, Computer Science Department, and BC’s new human-centered Engineering Department. Programming across disciplines is designed to facilitate solutions to complex, real-world problems.
- As a reflection of BC’s commitment to attracting world-class faculty and supporting their groundbreaking work, two faculty positions were awarded during the 2021–2022 year. Glenn Gaudette was named the inaugural John W. Kozarich ’71 Chair of the Department of Engineering, and the Felter Family Associate Professorship was awarded to Theodore Papageorgiou of the Economics Department, thanks to a commitment from John Kenneth Felter ’72, MA’72.
- Odette Lienau, professor of law and former associate dean for faculty research and intellectual life at Cornell University Law School, was named the inaugural Marianne D. Short, Esquire Dean at Boston College Law School.
- An anonymous $25 million pledge added to Boston College’s commitment to the Pine Manor Institute for Student Success, growing the total investment to $100M. The institute will increase access to high-quality education for underrepresented high school and college-aged students, keeping with BC’s founding mission of serving the traditionally excluded as an extension of our Jesuit, Catholic values.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the dedicated benefactors who place Boston College among their philanthropic priorities, as well as to our outstanding team who worked tirelessly during the past two years to help convey the urgency and impact of BC’s mission,” said outgoing Senior Vice President for University Advancement Jim Husson, who served the University for 20 years. “This banner year will continue to build a solid foundation for BC’s bright future.”