Wall Street Business Leadership Council inspires a sense of community away from the Heights

National rankings perennially show that BC is a powerhouse in business, and this stellar reputation launches our graduates into their career journeys. For those who find their way to the New York Metro area, the Wall Street Business Leadership Council is a welcoming network that exists to connect its members with one another and maintain their engagement with the Heights. Over nearly 40 years, this influential group of dedicated Eagles has built a community worthy of BC’s business accolades and has made incomparable contributions to scholarship support at the University through its signature event.

The Council

The Boston College Wall Street Business Leadership Council was formed in 1986 to create a formal network of BC alumni, parents, and friends in the business sector. The “Wall Street” part of the group’s name, however, is not indicative of its true reach, which extends far beyond financial services. 

Guided by BC ambassadors on the executive and young alumni committees, the council strives to be as inclusive as possible and to represent the BC of today, engaging in partnerships with New York area alumni chapters, as well as affinity groups such as the Council for Women of Boston College and the AHANA Alumni Advisory Council. An annual slate of forums and networking events center on leadership and formation, two pillars of BC’s mission, and the group’s signature event is the annual Tribute Dinner, a black-tie fundraiser that has raised more than $50 million for BC’s Gabelli Presidential Scholars Program (GPSP) in its 33-year history.

Class of 2023 Presidential Scholars: back row (left to right) Liam Dietrich, Benjamin Siegel, Gregori Estime, Aidan O’Neill, Kathleen Bailey (director), Jennie Thomas (associate director), Rishi Srinivasan, Connor Roukey, Charles Viehl; front row (left to right): Molly Binder, Lauren Gillet, Mercedes Hoyos, Julia Kim, Caroline Bald, Isabelle Jones, Neha Suneja, Hannah Yoon

The Gabelli Presidential Scholars Program

How does one become a Presidential Scholar? It starts with ranking among the top one percent of the national first-year applicant pool. To be considered BC worthy, these students must also demonstrate outstanding leadership ability and character. 

Originally established in 1991, the Presidential Scholars Program was renamed in 2014 in appreciation of Mario Gabelli, P’90, ’94, ’95, ’00, ’11, and his longstanding generosity to the program. Presidential Scholars are the only recipients of merit-based financial aid at BC. Their reward is a four-year, full-tuition scholarship, combined with the best possible BC experience that includes international travel, dedicated service opportunities, mentorship, and more.

Each April, senior Presidential Scholars also have the opportunity to dress to the nines and make the trip to New York City for the Wall Street Business Leadership Council Tribute Dinner. There, they meet face-to-face with some of the benefactors who have supported the program, a mutually thrilling get-together that serves as a capstone to four years of hard work at the Heights. 

“Every year, I find the Tribute Dinner to be so special, and the best part is meeting another cohort of the Presidential Scholars. These are truly amazing students and individuals, who I know will ‘go forth and set the world aflame’ in the spirit of St. Ignatius,” says Jon Rather ’82, P’10, ’12, ’14, ’17, chair of the Wall Street Business Leadership Council. “At the Council, we are so proud to assist in providing support for the Gabelli Presidential Scholars Program.”

These are truly amazing students and individuals, who I know will ‘go forth and set the world aflame’ in the spirit of St. Ignatius. At the Council, we are so proud to assist in providing support for the Gabelli Presidential Scholars Program.”

— Jon Rather ’82, P’10, ’12, ’14, ’17,
Chair of the Wall Street Business Leadership Council

To date, 411 Presidential Scholars have graduated from BC, fueled by their scholarships and armed with the tools, skills, and connections they need to follow their passions. Today, they exhibit their leadership skills as medical or law students, teachers, entrepreneurs, analysts, researchers, and in many other fields.


At BC: Trani Presidential Scholar
Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Majors: International Studies, Political Science

Minor: Ethics and Social Justice

Now: Student at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

GPSP introduced me to people and places that continue to inform my academic and professional endeavors. The opportunities made possible by this program—to engage with peers and mentors at BC, as well as to connect with local and international communities— were fundamental to the education I received and the perspective I developed.”


At BC: Real Estate Council Presidential Scholar
Lynch School of Education and Human Development

Majors: Secondary Education, Math

Minors: Educational Theatre,
Teaching English Language Learners

Now: Studio manager, resident stage manager, and theatre educator at Sunshine Dance & Bright Lights Theatre in Glendale, Illinois

Being a part of the GPSP was a defining part of my undergraduate experience, but I realize only now how important the program was for shaping my post-graduate life. The GPSP provided me with the tools and experiences to see the world from a holistic viewpoint. As a current theatre educator, I find myself drawing on these experiences daily to best support my students and provide them with the same kind of ‘education of the whole person’ provided to me by the GPSP.”


At BC: Powers Family Presidential Scholar
Carroll School of Management

Concentration: Economics

Minor: Theology

Now: Business analyst at McKinsey & Company in Boston, Massachusetts

Whether it was traveling to Venice and Costa Rica with our class or getting the opportunity to work in Switzerland for the summer, the experiences GPSP gave me were instrumental to my development and overall experience at Boston College. I met some of my best friends through the program, and the memories we have together are ones I will never forget. I cannot speak highly enough of GPSP, and I look forward to giving back to the program and helping other students just as several generous alumni did for me.”

Held on April 20, 2023, at Cipriani Wall Street. The occasion opened with a rousing rendition of the national anthem performed by Broadway actor and Presidential Scholar alumna Patricia Noonan ’07, and featured a moving speech by Rishi Srinivasan ’23.

The President’s Medal for Excellence was awarded to Tom Coughlin, P’04, the stalwart football coach who served at the helm of the BC Eagles from 1991 to 1993 and led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl titles as head coach. Inspired by the life and tragic loss of Eagle Jay McGillis, the coach also founded the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation, which seeks to provide resources and support—financial and otherwise—to children with cancer and their families.


In addition to feting Presidential Scholars, the Wall Street Business Leadership Council Tribute Dinner is also the venue for the annual awarding of the President’s Medal for Excellence—the highest honor bestowed by the University—presented by University President William P. Leahy, S.J. The selected award recipient is a shining example of those rare men and women who truly personify BC’s motto, “Ever to Excel.”
Past Recipients of the
President’s Medal

Guido M. Barilla, P’21, ’22, ’23
Geoffrey T. Boisi ’69, P’11
Lawrence A. Bossidy, P’83, ’92
Barbara Bush*
John S. Chalsty
Raymond G. Chambers
Tom Coughlin, P’04
Charles F. Dolan
George E. Doty*, P’84
Mario J. Gabelli, P’90, ’94, ’95, ’00, ’11
Richard A. Grasso
Jeffrey Immelt, H’10
Alfred F. Kelly Jr., P’09, ’11, ’13, ’16, ’26
Jack Kemp*
Carolyn A.* and Peter S. Lynch ’65, H’95, P’01
Wellington T. Mara*, P’76, ’79, ’86, ’95
Eugene M. McQuade, P’06, ’10
U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell
Denise M. Morrison ’75
Anne M. Mulcahy, P’05
Greg J. Norman, P’05
Robert L. Reynolds
Francis C. Rooney Jr.*, H’86, P’76, ’78, ’87
Philip Schiller ’82
John F. Smith Jr.
Daniel P. Tully*, P’79, ’86, ’88
William J. Vouté*, P’88, ’89, ’94
Sanford I. Weill
William C. Weldon, P’00
Michael D. White ’74, P’95
Suzanne* and Bob Wright, H’00
Frank G. Zarb

Allison Donlan

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