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The Dean’s List 2.0

A storied tradition begins a new chapter.

The Dean’s List 2.0

A storied tradition begins a new chapter.

Once dubbed “the pastor of campus” by President Leahy, William B. Neenan, S.J., was a much-loved member of the BC community, and his presence lives on at Boston College in innumerable ways. A beloved Jesuit from Iowa, Fr. Neenan held key posts at BC—including academic vice president and dean of faculties—but was also known for his uniquely personal touch throughout the University community, exemplified by his trademark “hello, friend” greeting to acquaintances and strangers alike. Perhaps no aspect of his great impact at the Heights was as profound as his “Dean’s List,” the annual reading list of 27 books curated by Fr. Neenan’s committee of one. For the better part of his 35 years at BC, the Dean’s List was a hallmark of campus life, with the school receiving some 10,000 requests a year for the list. Comprising a healthy balance of fiction and nonfiction, well-known and obscure works—even some by BC faculty and alumni—the list became an annual touchstone, keeping students, faculty, staff, and alumni connected and on the same page (or at least the same book). In honor of Fr. Neenan’s immense and ongoing legacy at Boston College, the Dean’s List tradition will be carried on as part of a new feature called the Beacon Book Club. Each issue, a leading member of the BC community will add a pertinent or favorite book to the list. For David Quigley, provost and dean of faculties, it marks an occasion to remember Fr. Neenan by returning to an author he loved.

You can find Father Neenan’s full Dean’s List here.

Introducing the

beacon book club logo

David Quigley, Provost and Dean of Faculties

Book choice:
The Plague – Albert Camus
Find it at the BC Bookstore

“I had the great blessing, when I was six years dean in Gasson Hall, of hosting the Baccalaureate Mass in December. Fr. Neenan’s homily every year was about Camus’ The Fall, and he certainly made you want to read that book, as I did several times in those years. In the great spirit of Fr. Neenan, I’ve got my copy of a book I haven’t read since junior year English—Camus’ The Plague. [It] is as powerful as I remember it, even as it seemed such an alien work back in 1983. Now, living through it in this very different moment as a middle-aged academic administrator, it is giving me a little much-needed sustenance these days.”

Before becoming provost, Quigley served as dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Boston College from 2008 to 2014. As provost and dean of faculties, he has served as co-chair of the University Strategic Planning Initiative, overseeing the hiring of 250 new faculty and guiding the University’s academic programs and curricula—all while teaching history classes of his own. Quigley lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife, Megan DeMott-Quigley, and they are the proud parents of three sons.


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