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Give Something Back

They say blood is thicker than water. For Kate and Mike Ascione, maroon and gold fall somewhere in between.

Kate and Mike Ascione

Black Monday, October 29, 1929, is as good a place to start as any. A few months into his time at the Heights, William “Bill” Hogan Jr. Esq., ’33, P’63, ’68 saw the aftershocks of the Great Depression shutter the Boston College men’s ice hockey team, as well as just about every other program not named “football.”

It was hardly a phenomenon unique to BC; college attendance plummeted across the nation, and athletics departments cut their programs to stay afloat financially. It would be years until universities had ample funding to reinvest in their teams.

But by Hogan’s senior year, the effects of the Depression had eased up enough for him and a few friends to try and revive the hockey program. After weeks of negotiations with the College, they huddled in the tiny Athletics office with a slew of administrators to strike a deal.

Bill Hogan III, Kate Hogan Ascione, William Hogan Jr

Bill Hogan III, Kate Hogan Ascione, William Hogan Jr

Against the odds, it worked. The College agreed to furnish jerseys and allow “the informal organization” to use the name “Boston College.” Otherwise, BC wasn’t on the hook for any expenses or obligations. With the hard part over, Hogan donned the captain’s patch and helped convince former star player John “Snooks” Kelley ’29 to coach the ragtag collection of Eagles. 

What followed is well documented: a decade of success, another few years’ hiatus during WWII, and then, in 1949, the first of five NCAA Championships. Hockey had well and truly arrived at the Heights. 

A generation later, William “Billy” Hogan III ’63, P’93, followed his father’s footsteps to the Heights. Leading the first line of BC’s hockey team, he brought home a haul of personal accolades along with plenty of wins to the Heights. An All-American collegiate hockey career found him inducted into BC’s Hall of Fame, and not long after that it was time for his daughter to start her college search.

Bruins’ Tom Williams presents Bill Hogan III with the 1963 Bean Pot MVP award

Bruins’ Tom Williams presents Bill Hogan III with the 1963 Bean Pot MVP award

1963 BC ice hockey high scorers

1963 BC ice hockey high scorers

Her dad and grandfather stalwarts of BC’s historic hockey program and her mother a 1965 Newton College graduate, Kate Hogan Ascione ’93, P’25, ’26, had long dreamt of Chestnut Hill. Once the acceptance letter arrived, her decision was a foregone conclusion. 

Studying in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development, she was an active volunteer for the admission office alongside her friend, Mike Ascione ’93, P’25, ’26. By their senior year, Kate was in charge of interviewing prospective BC students between her practicum hours at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, while Mike, a student in the Carroll School of Management’s Honors Program, led the campus tours team.

Though fast friends in college, their relationship wouldn’t begin in earnest until they left the Heights: Mike, to Wall Street with Goldman Sachs, and Kate to a child abuse agency in South Central Los Angeles where the Jesuit Volunteer Corps had placed her.

Mike Ascione, 1993 yearbook

Mike Ascione, 1993 yearbook

Looking back, it had the makings of a Hallmark rom-com script, they joke. Kate would wait for Mike to call her at the office (he could make cross-country calls for free; Kate, not so much), and they’d talk about their (vastly different) work experiences, their friends from BC, their hopes for the future. 

“At one point,” Kate remembers, “Mike felt bad because me and the other volunteers were pretty broke, trying to scrape together some food. So he ordered us a Honey Baked Ham and sent it to our volunteer house. We had a massive ham party—it was like someone sent us a million dollars!”

The ham party might have been a one-off, but their relationship, punctuated by the occasional work trip out west or visit back east, kept developing from opposite coasts. Coming from similarly modest family backgrounds, Kate and Mike shared a shorthand of values and beliefs: a love for their Catholic faith, a sense of obligation to give back, and an understanding of the importance of family, friends, and community. They credit their relationship, along with the many tight-knit friendships formed during their time at the Heights, as the greatest gifts they received at BC. 

While Mike pursued an MBA at Harvard, Kate made her way east. Another couple years of dating found them married and living in Massachusetts—just down the road from their beloved alma mater. Kate continued working for nonprofits while Mike began his nearly 25-year tenure at the Boston-based investment firm Berkshire Partners. “We’ve been so blessed,” says Kate. “Mike’s been part of an amazing team at Berkshire Partners, and the firm’s culture and success have empowered us to support efforts we’re passionate about.”

Less than a year removed from their 30th BC Reunion, the Asciones are taken aback by just how deeply BC and the friendships formed there have impacted their lives. From the early days of their relationship, to raising children alongside their BC friends, to seeing their eldest kids, Maggie ’25 and Ellie ’26, become the fourth generation of Eagles in the family—it’s been a journey that they wouldn’t trade for the world. “So often I hear from people who say, ‘your college friendships are so different from what I experienced,’” Mike says. “Whether that was BC, or we were lucky, I don’t know. But [our friends] are an incredibly important part of our BC story.”

Regulars at football and hockey games, Kate and Mike have loved visiting their daughters on campus and introducing their two younger children to Chestnut Hill. “It’s been such a gift,” says Kate. “We’ve had so much joy getting to know their friends. Every semester before exams, we invite a whole bunch of them over—25 or 30 kids—for a big Italian dinner. Mike cooks sauce and fires up the grill. It’s been so fun.”


BC is blessed with an A+ location, outstanding faculty, and its underlying Jesuit values and mission. When we combine all of these elements, there’s no limit to the University’s horizon.”

—MIKE ASCIONE

And as much as their daughters’ attendance has redoubled their involvement with Boston College, the Asciones’ philanthropic leadership at the Heights began well beforehand. In fact, it started in the same place as their family’s BC story: honoring Kate’s grandfather and the team he helped bring back.

Founded shortly after his passing in 2012 by the Asciones and Kate’s parents, the William M. Hogan, Jr. ’33 Athletic Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance for BC student-athletes, with a preference for members of the men’s ice hockey team.

Over the next decade, the vision of the Asciones’ giving came further into focus, widening in scope and deepening in emphasis. Having achieved considerable success, thanks in part to their formation at BC, they felt a responsibility to roll up their sleeves and support the University with their time, talent, and resources. Already involved alumni, in 2017 they were invited to join the newly formed Board of Regents and, in 2023, succeeded Susan Martinelli Shea ’76, P’04, and Marc Seidner ’88, P’24, as the group’s co-chairs. They’ve appreciated the chance to get to know the University on a different level—its needs, the challenges it faces, and ways to support the students, faculty, and programs that most need it.

(L-R) Jane Hogan, Kate Ascione, Ellie Ascione, Maggie Ascione, Mike Ascione, and Bill Hogan III

“Since then,” says Kate, “we’ve become such better ambassadors for the school by listening to professors and administrators and meeting other regents. It’s definitely strengthened our understanding of what’s happening at the school.” 

“[Regents] has helped us advocate for an institution we love in a way we wouldn’t have been able to before,” Mike notes. “We’ve relished the opportunity to provide feedback and be a sounding board for the University. Plus, it’s just an awesome group of people.”

Along with the friends they’ve made as regents and in Mike’s role on the Board of Trustees, they’ve built relationships with University leaders like Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley, as well as Haub Vice President for Mission and Ministry Jack Butler, S.J., whom they now count as good friends and valued voices in their philanthropic corner.

“The world needs places like Boston College,” Mike insists, “that not only provide an amazing education, but produce people for others, with a balanced sense of who they are and their place in the world.”

Every day, Kate and Mike walk past a sign in the mudroom of their Belmont, Massachusetts, home that reads, “Give something back.” Like them, it’s uncomplicated, and presumes a measure of gratitude—for their time at BC, the role the University’s played in their family through the generations, the abundant gifts they’ve received. 

“It’s not lost on us how fortunate we are,” says Mike. “BC is a fundamental part of our family. As with anything that central to your family, you become really invested in helping it be the best it can be.”

“To this day, I walk down Linden Lane and feel a swell of gratitude for being able to attend,” adds Kate. “I feel like we keep getting way more than we’re giving to the University. It’s just a very special place, and I feel incredibly proud to be a part of it.”

Generational Impact

Beyond their commitments to formative education, the Asciones have directed most of their support toward financial aid at BC. “It’s critical,” says Mike, “that anybody who’s capable of going to Boston College be able to attend.” However, Kate and Mike remain dynamic supporters of everything from Mission and Ministry to Athletics and beyond at their alma mater:

The Ascione Family Fund for Mission and Ministry provides resources for the Division of Mission and Ministry’s day-to-day operations and critical initiatives and enriches the division’s vision and programs

The Ascione Family Scholarship provides financial aid for qualified undergraduates

The Ascione Family Athletic Scholarship supports student-athletes with high financial need

The Formative Education Fund supports formative education efforts managed by the provost’s office

The Ascione Faculty Formation Fellowship supports the recruitment and retention of distinguished BC faculty whose work will contribute to formation at the Heights
Supporting the Formators
The Ascione Faculty Formation Fellowship was born out of conversations with Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley and Haub Vice President for Mission and Ministry Jack Butler, S.J., with a couple things in mind.
Belle Liang
“First, as an academic institution, we need to hire and retain the best professors and researchers,” says Mike Ascione ’93, P’25, ’26. “Making sure the University has the resources to do that is nothing short of critical, and faculty fellowships are an important way of achieving that.”

Specifically, the fellowship aims to support faculty who “lean into this ideal of formative education,” Mike says, “connecting important research with being an awesome teacher who cares for the growth of the student as a well-rounded person.”

“[Faculty support] has been a big focus for us,” says Kate Ascione ’93, P’25, ’26, “because we’ve seen it in action in our daughters’ BC education. When professors send thoughtful emails or help guide and mentor students, offering time for intentional conversations and reflection, it can have a really profound impact on them. It can change the course of someone’s college journey—their career, even.”

Dr. Belle Liang, the inaugural Ascione Faculty Formation Fellow, demonstrates this dynamic in both her teaching and research as a professor of counseling, developmental, and educational psychology in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development. Founder of The Purpose Lab at BC, which explores topics such as mentorship, vocational design, and education of the whole person, Liang also authored a book titled How to Navigate Life: The New Science of Finding Your Way in School, Career, and Beyond and helped develop a program called “TrueNorth” that helps students grapple with the most significant questions in their lives.


I have such admiration for Kate and Mike Ascione. They’re such intelligent people, full of heart and generosity, and it’s been an honor to step into the role of the inaugural Ascione Faculty Formation Fellow.

IBesides the resources and time provided by the fellowship—which are important—the sense of being chosen to explore this work that’s deeply important to them and the University is something I take very seriously. This is for BC; there are people here who believe in me and are investing in me. It makes a world of difference.”

—BELLE LIANG, ASCIONE FACULTY FORMATION FELLOW


Kevin Coyne

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