Early March seems like a lifetime ago, especially when we consider the magnitude and pace of change our society has faced over the past three months. It has been a time when we have all had to adapt to shifting circumstances while helping our families, our communities, and our institutions adapt as well. This moment is also a reminder that each of us, in our own way, is a beacon, doing our part to signal the presence of solid ground when waters are choppy and conditions are challenging.
As Boston College adjusted to the “new normal” of physical distancing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Beacon adapted as well. Most notably, we have moved beyond the confines of our traditional print format to bring to the Boston College community six Beacon Leadership Conversations, a new webinar series that covered topics ranging from supporting our students through this challenging time to hearing firsthand from nursing alumni on the frontlines of COVID-19 care. Our final conversation of the spring focused on the recently announced Boston College Forum on Racial Justice, which will provide a meeting place for listening, dialogue, and greater understanding about race and racism in our country, and serve as a catalyst for bridging differences, promoting reconciliation, and encouraging fresh perspectives. The Forum, which will be led by Vince Rougeau, dean of the Boston College Law School, is in part a response to the value the University and so many of our institutions have espoused: Black Lives Matter. But it is also more than that. In our Beacon Leadership Conversation, Dean Rougeau observed that Boston College is uniquely well positioned to undertake this forum because:
“We have a mission and a tradition, that is at the founding of this institution, that thinks in very interesting and complex ways about the nature of justice. It does not think of justice in purely individual terms, it thinks of it in collective terms as well. So we have a whole language around social justice that will be very, very useful right now in terms of thinking about these kinds of problems.”
If you missed any of our Beacon Leadership Conversations, you will find them all archived in video and audio-only formats at www.bc.edu/blc.
At Boston College, we are able to lead important change and work towards a better future because of our dedicated and generous community of alumni, parents, and friends. In addition to being extraordinary philanthropists, our leaders provide us their unique perspectives and expertise, playing a critical role in strengthening the University for future generations. As you will see in the stories throughout this issue of Beacon, their passions touch all corners of our campus, helping to transform lives through financial aid; support a competitive athletics program; and contribute to the academic, social, and spiritual formation of our Eagles.
To preserve access to a BC education, especially during these turbulent economic times, scholarship assistance will be a crucial priority in the coming year. Boston College remains one of only 20 private universities in the country that meet the full demonstrated need of accepted applicants, drawing in students from underserved and underrepresented communities. We are deeply grateful to our champions of financial aid and to all of our leaders for their thoughtful support and investment in these worthy causes. I hope that their stories are as inspiring to you as they have been to me—and that they may remind us of what can be achieved when we come together to better the lives of our students, our communities, and our world.
I recently found myself revisiting my March 12th letter to alumni and parents informing everyone that we were canceling our spring events, which closed with this sentiment:
There are times when circumstances that are beyond our control remind us just how much we rely on institutions like Boston College that are pillars of excellence in our society and that play an important role in improving the human condition.
Thank you for keeping Boston College strong so that it can continue to serve society as a pillar of excellence.
Thank you for being a Beacon.