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Faith in the Future

For 35 years, Chuck and Gloria Clough have helped Boston College wrestle with big questions around leadership, democracy, and faith. Now with a transformative $25 million gift, they are helping to shape the future for BC and the Catholic Church.

Charles “Chuck” Clough Jr. ’64 and Gloria Clough, MDiv’90, MS’96, P’87, ’93, ’98, have built a life guided by their unwavering faith, a commitment to service, and a deep-rooted belief in the transformative power of education.

These values fueled their careers—Chuck, as a global investment strategist, and Gloria, as a nurse and therapist—and now propel their philanthropy, most recently their gift to BC’s newly renamed Gloria L. and Charles I. Clough School of Theology and Ministry. 

For Gloria the gift is a homecoming, as she attended the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, which became BC’s School of Theology and Ministry in 2008. For Chuck it is the culmination of a lifetime of service to the Catholic Church and to BC. For both, it is an attempt to answer the question asked by Pope Francis: Where is the Holy Spirit leading the Church?

This question is top of mind for many at Boston College, including Clough School Dean Michael McCarthy, S.J. “We take very seriously the question Pope Francis is asking the whole Church,” says Fr. McCarthy. “I think the whole idea of moving the faith into the next generation is really the heart of it. And I look around, and this is where it happens.”

The Cloughs hope their gift helps the school cultivate the next generation of religious and lay leaders who can lead the Church into the future.

“The Clough School gives me such hope for the Church and its future because of the critical work that goes on here,” says Gloria. “We see this as a way to support the two institutions that have meant so much to us and to our families: Boston College and the Catholic Church.”

Clough School Dean Michael McCarthy, S.J., with Gloria and Chuck Clough at the unveiling of the school’s new name.


The School of Theology taught me how to listen and be a person to be leaned on. Now I am counting on the Clough School to do the same and continue to teach its students: lay, Jesuits, and religious, to listen, support, serve, and be there for the people of God.”

—GLORIA CLOUGH

Catching Aspiration

Gloria and Chuck spent their childhoods in neighboring parts of Boston filled with Irish Catholic families for whom the church was the community’s heart. When they met at a high school dance at Holy Name Church in West Roxbury, sparks flew immediately. Both were accepted at Boston College, but Gloria’s family was unable to pay the $900 tuition, so they moved to Rhode Island where she enrolled in nursing school. Despite the distance, the two continued to date until, a few months after Chuck’s BC graduation, they married in a large church ceremony. 

Chuck had come to BC in the footsteps of his father, Charles Clough ’31, MA’32, a bank teller who rose to be vice president of Somerville National Bank. His first year at BC was “mediocre,” Chuck admits, but by second year he found his footing and “caught the idea of aspiration, aspiration for something more.” 

“Those were very formational years; I really matured at Boston College,” says Chuck, who graduated magna cum laude with a major in history and minor in economics. “It wasn’t easy—I got up early, I studied hard, and I learned that when I applied myself, I could do well.” 

Armed with his newfound confidence, Chuck went on to the University of Chicago, where he was exposed to the ideas and teachings of  two of the most influential economists of that time, George Stigler and Milton Friedman. Gloria went to work as a pediatric nurse at a busy Chicago hospital and stayed there until the first of their four children was born. 

After earning an MBA, Chuck and family moved to New York City where he became a top-ranked stock market strategist. In 1968 they moved to Concord, Massachusetts, but in 1987 he was offered a high-profile role back in NYC as chief global investment strategist for Merrill Lynch. Rather than uproot his family, Chuck opted to fly to work on Wall Street each week for 13 years before eventually founding his own Boston-based investment firm, Clough Capital Partners, where he still works.

The Clough’s BC legacy began with Chuck’s father, Charles Clough ‘31, MA’32 (seen here in the 1931 Sub Turri yearbook), and includes three of Chuck and Gloria’s four children and a growing number of in-laws, nephews, and nieces. Second Row: Clough, Rattigan, Antos, Donahue. First Row: Gill, Kieran, O’Connell, Barry, Hern.
The Clough’s BC legacy began with Chuck’s father, Charles Clough ‘31, MA’32 (seen here in the 1931 Sub Turri yearbook), and includes three of Chuck and Gloria’s four children and a growing number of in-laws, nephews, and nieces.

Called to Service

Even amid bustling careers and family life, the Cloughs felt drawn to service in their local parish, beginning with their oldest daughter’s confirmation classes and growing to include weekly prayer groups, retreats, and other programs. 

“Gloria and I, we were the youth ministry,” Chuck says. “Every Sunday for about seven years, they would meet in our home. We probably put about 1,000 kids through one retreat experience or another.”

Priests he met through the youth ministry programs encouraged him to pursue a diaconate and, after taking classes in the same building that now houses the Clough School, he was ordained a permanent deacon in May of 1986.

Among Chuck’s prized possessions is this reproduction of a stained glass window in the chapel at Simboli Hall, now home to the Clough School of Theology and Ministry.

Among Chuck’s prized possessions is this reproduction of a stained glass window in the chapel at Simboli Hall, now home to the Clough School of Theology and Ministry.

Gloria joined Chuck for many of his diaconate classes and, fascinated by the study of exegesis and other theological principles, she enrolled in a master of divinity program at Weston Jesuit. She graduated in 1990 and, combining her background in nursing with her theological training, launched Emerson Hospital’s first-ever chaplaincy program. 

In 1996, Gloria achieved her own dream of being an Eagle when she earned a second master’s degree, this time from BC’s Connell School of Nursing. “It was a great experience, finally being a student at Boston College; it was aspirational for me too,” Gloria says. For the next 15 years she managed a thriving psychiatric practice while also volunteering in her parish, offering grief counseling, death and dying workshops, and related programs. Now retired, she still serves the community as chair of the board at Emerson Hospital in Concord and through other commitments.

Serving at the Heights

With three of their children at BC—along with Gloria—the Cloughs deepened their involvement with the University. Chuck joined the Board of Trustees in 1994, was board chair from 1999 to 2002, and has served as trustee or trustee associate ever since. He co-chaired the Light the World capital campaign (2008–2016) and has received multiple honors, including the James F. Cleary ’50, H’93, Masters Award for a lifetime of service to Boston College.


The Church has to be in dialogue with the modern world, and our Catholic universities are an important means to that end.”

—CHUCK CLOUGH

Longtime annual donors, the Cloughs made their first major gift to BC in 1989 when they established the first of several scholarships to support both undergraduate and graduate students. In 1998, they turned their attention to the University’s academic priorities, endowing the Clough Millennium History Chair in the Morrissey College of Arts and Science. 

In the early 2000s, they grew alarmed by a rising sense of public cynicism and deepening partisan divisions. Sensing an opportunity to make lasting change, they made a series of gifts to Boston College aimed at nurturing the next generation of civic leaders.

In 2005, they launched the annual Clough Colloquium, part of the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics, which brings world leaders and other luminaries to the Heights to share insights on ethical leadership. Past speakers include Mary Robinson and Felipe Calderon, presidents of Ireland and Mexico, respectively; Iranian activist Dr. Shirin Ebadi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David McCullough, H’08; and former U.S. National Security Advisor and Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice.
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (center) spoke at the Fall 2016 Clough Colloquium; here he poses with the Cloughs (left) and Winston Center benefactors Judy and Robert Winston '60 (right).
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (center) spoke at the Fall 2016 Clough Colloquium; here he poses with the Cloughs (left) and Winston Center benefactors Judy and Robert Winston ’60 (right).

Then, in 2007, the couple established the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy, which promotes student and faculty research into the underlying principles of—and threats to—democracy around the world. 

“The thought was that, at that point, it looked like democracy had won hands down,” Chuck recalls. “It was 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union. But if you’re a student of history, you know you’re never in the clear.”

The Clough Center unites students and faculty from across disciplines—including history, classics, economics, political science, education, social work, and law—and offers multiple fellowships to spark independent research. “We’ve had students go to the International Court in The Hague, NASA, the United Nations,” says Chuck, who attends most center events and enjoys getting to know each year’s student and faculty fellows. 

“The Clough Center is doing the work that needs to be done in our all-important political moment,” says Samuel Peterson ’25, an aspiring journalist who describes the center as “a hub for like-minded people” that has become his second home at BC. 

University Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley agrees, noting that given the recent uptick in political vitriol, the Clough Center was an idea ahead of its time: “I can’t think of a gift to this University, at least in my 26 years, where the benefactors were more prescient.” 

Seidner University Professor Paul Romer, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and founding director of BC’s new Center for the Economics of Ideas, was among the Clough Center’s speakers in Fall 2023.
Seidner University Professor Paul Romer, a Nobel Prize–winning economist and founding director of BC’s new Center for the Economics of Ideas, was among the Clough Center’s speakers in Fall 2023.

Envisioning the Church of Tomorrow

Now the Cloughs have set their sights on an equally complex challenge: the steady decline in congregants and clergy in the Catholic church, particularly in the U.S. They have seen how, even in their once-thriving home parish, fewer young people are being baptized, taking confirmation classes, or even planning church weddings. Their experience mirrors nationwide trends, as nearly a quarter of adults raised as Catholic report they have left the faith, and fewer join the priesthood each year. 

Alarmed by these demographic shifts, the Cloughs have been working with the Archdiocese of Boston and other Catholic organizations on revitalization initiatives and other projects. Still, the Cloughs saw more was needed to sustain the Church and help ensure its continued relevance—and so once again, they turned to Boston College. 

“The Church has to be in dialogue with the modern world, and our Catholic universities are an important means to that end,” says Chuck. “BC and the Clough School have the resources and the institutional faculties to take on the issues facing the global Church.” 

Ranked among the best theological schools in the world, the Clough School attracts some 400 students annually from throughout the United States and more than 30 countries. It is also one of the few programs that welcomes men and women, Catholic and non-Catholic, clergy and non-clergy to study side by side—a distinction Fr. McCarthy says “provides a different kind of imagination, a different kind of sensitivity” in the hearts of future ministers. 

By fortifying the school’s endowment, the Cloughs hope they can help “futureproof” the Church that shaped their lives. 

“The key question the Church must face, I believe, is ‘What will the experience of the person in the pew be 20 years from now?’” Chuck muses, to which Gloria interjects: “Will there even be people in the pew?”

As with the Clough Colloquium and the Clough Center, their latest gift is more than a charitable exercise—it is a strategic investment in what Chuck and Gloria see as one of society’s most urgent issues. 

“We all have the responsibility to revitalize the church,” says Chuck. “I can’t think of a more important thing to do than this.”

The Clough School

As a global center for Catholic thought and action, the Gloria L. and Charles I. Clough School of Theology and Ministry prepares ministers, scholars, and leaders to serve the needs of the Church and the world.

Led by Dean Michael McCarthy, S.J., the Clough School hosts a range of master’s and certificate programs in theology and ministry as well as ecclesiastical degrees and an interdisciplinary PhD in theology and education. Clough School faculty are known for their expertise in contemporary Church matters, doctrine, and liturgy, as well as social, racial, and environmental justice.

A few highlights:

  • Hosffman Ospino, professor of Hispanic ministry and religious education, is one of several Clough School experts on the increasing Hispanic presence within the U.S. Church and is the leader of multiple grant-funded projects to better understand and embrace this growing demographic.
  • Colleen Griffith, professor of the practice of theology and faculty director of spirituality studies, is the editor of Prophetic Witness: Catholic Women’s Strategies for Reform and serves as director of the Clough School’s Summer Post-Master’s Program in Spiritual Formation.
  • Associate Professor of the Practice Rafael Luciani has been appointed as expert to the Theological Commission of the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops. He has recently published a book entitled Synodality. A New Way of Proceeding in the Church.

At the center of everything the Clough School does is a community-wide commitment to cura personalis—care for the whole person—which is expressed through curricula, spiritual direction, daily liturgies, retreats, and everyday interactions. This integrated approach to formation includes robust career and graduate school preparation, including individual mentorship, career workshops, and alumni connections.

64%

of Clough School students are lay; 16% are Jesuits

32%

are international students

300K

volumes in the Clough School library, the largest collection of Catholic literature outside of the Vatican

#10

worldwide in theology, divinity, and religious studies, QS World Rankings 2023

The Clough School


The [Clough School] holds a spirit of creativity and pragmatism and sets high expectations of what the Church can be in a way I haven’t encountered anywhere else. Everyone at the school comes with unique experiences and goals, but the desire to do good in the world and continue to discover our vocations is there for everyone. The students, faculty, and staff share a common goal of discovering, recovering, and reimagining what the Church can be.”

—Sarah Morris, MDiv’25; completed undergraduate studies at University of Notre Dame


Diana Chaban Griffith

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