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Leahy Sends Letter To The Community

Reflects On Growth And Development

Assoc. News Editor

Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J. sent a letter to the Boston College community yesterday that provided updates on the current state of the University and highlighted recent achievements relating to academics, finances, and the improvement of campus facilities.

Leahy referred to BC as a “top-tier national institution of higher education” in his letter, and cited a number of the University’s academic achievements to support this statement, including a number of awards won by students and staff in the past year.

BC students received prestigious Goldwater and Truman scholarships last year, and the University was, as always, a national leader in producing Fulbright winners. “Boston College was named the eighth-leading producer of students awarded Fulbright grants among national research universities in 2011, with 21 students and recent graduates earning Fulbrights for research and foreign study,” Leahy said.

BC professors also won some of the most prestigious academic awards in the nation during the past year. “Assistant Professors Liane Young (psychology), Dunwei Wang (chemistry), Michelle Meyer (biology) and Ying Ran (physics) won prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowships, given to the nation’s best young scientists and scholars in recognition of their early career achievement,” Leahy said. “This is a remarkable accomplishment for an institution of our size.”

The University’s recent academic successes have attracted promising students and faculty to join to the BC community. “Searches have been underway in recent months to recruit new faculty, and departments have successfully attracted talented academics to join our ranks as teacher-scholars,” Leahy said.

The high quality of incoming BC students is shown by admissions statistics. “The undergraduate admission picture remains strong, with a record 34,050 individuals (3.3 percent more than last year) applying for the 2,270 seats in the freshman class,” Leahy said. “The average SAT scores of incoming students increase(ed) by 31 points, to 2014.”

As impressive as these statistics are, Leahy believes that BC succeeds in more than just attracting and continuing to develop stellar students. “Boston College remains committed to the goals stated in its mission statement of fostering ‘the religious, ethical, and personal formation of its students in order to prepare them for citizenship, service, and leadership in a global society,’” he said. “Students enrolling at Boston College are challenged in classes, extracurricular activities, and residence halls not only in regard to intellectual life, but also moral and ethical beliefs and the place of religious faith in their lives.”

 Leahy cited the PULSE and Pathway programs, as well as 48Hours as ways that BC develops its students beyond academics.

BC’s financial successes of the past year were also highlighted in the letter. “Boston College launched the public phase of its $1.5 billion Light the World campaign in 2008, and I am delighted to report that $870 million has been raised thus far, almost twice as much as in any previous campaign,” Leahy said. “Recently, an anonymous donor issued a $5 million challenge to encourage the endowment of assistant professorships, and commitments of $10 million and $15 million have been made to name two campus buildings.”

The “careful planning and sustained fundraising” that has led to BC’s financial successes has been crucial to the funding of current and future construction projects on campus.

“Gasson Hall, completed in 1913, was renovated this past year, and the divisions of Human Resources, Finance, and Advancement have been relocated to the Brighton Campus, a move that will allow their former site (More Hall) to be used for a future undergraduate residence hall,” Leahy said. “Planning has started for renovating St. Mary’s Hall, the main Jesuit residence, so that the Jesuit Community can consolidate its space and a portion of the building can be used by academic departments. Stokes Hall, a 183,000 square-foot humanities building that will provide 36 new classrooms and offices for the departments of English, History, Classics, Philosophy and Theology, will open in January 2013.”

Leahy also updated the BC community about the plans for BC’s upcoming Sesquicentennial celebration. “Among the events scheduled are academic symposia, a Sesquicentennial Speakers Series, an inaugural Founders Day celebration, a meeting of leading Catholic college presidents, and a student concert at Symphony Hall,” he said.

Though Leahy believes that the BC community must take pride in the University’s past progress and achievements, he also looks forward to its future. “With the help of its thousands of alumni and supporters, [BC] will meet the challenges of today and tomorrow with grace, determination, and abiding hope,” he said.

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