As the University enters its 150th year of existence, numerous plans have been made to celebrate the history and success of Boston College. The University has recently released details of events that will occur throughout the next three semesters in celebration of BC’s sesquicentennial.
“The Sesquicentennial Celebration gives us an opportunity to celebrate Boston College’s history and also to emphasize our continued commitment to intellectual excellence and our Jesuit, Catholic heritage,” University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J. said in a statement. “Our 150th anniversary is a time when all members of the Boston College community can renew their sense of our progress as a University and our goals for the future.”
The celebrations of BC’s 150th year will kick off on Sept. 15, 2012, with a 4 p.m. mass at Fenway Park, similar to the annual Mass of the Holy Spirit. All members of the BC community, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and their families, will be invited to celebrate mass at the ballpark, followed by a reception and tours of the field and ball park. The mass will be celebrated by both Jesuits and alumni priests.
As part of the anniversary celebration, three notable speakers will also be invited to address the University throughout the year as part of a Sesquicentennial Speakers Series. The speakers will discuss the three themes of scholarship, service, and formation, and the intersection of faith and culture. The first speaker, Harvard University President Drew Faust, will be welcomed on Oct. 10 to discuss the theme of scholarship. The following two speakers have yet to be named.
In addition, six academic symposia, covering themes ranging from public education and the future of democracy to clean energy to the legacy of Vatican II, will “showcase the University’s distinctive academic strengths and commitment to addressing societal concerns,” according to a statement by the Office of News and Public Affairs.
In March of 2013, a concert of a variety of student musical groups will be held in Boston Symphony Hall, featuring performances by the University Chorale, the Symphony Orchestra, BC bOp!, and the University Wind Ensemble.
“This event will really showcase the incredible talent we have in our musical programs here at BC,” said University Spokesman Jack Dunn.
On April 9, 2013, an inaugural Founders Day celebration will be launched, including the second speaker from the sesquicentennial series and a public convocation. Based on the tradition of the Centennial Celebration of 1963, which featured an address by President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the Founders Day celebration will be held in Alumni Stadium and will be open to students and faculty alike.
Finally, in October 2013, Leahy will host a convocation, gathering educational leaders in Catholic higher education to discuss contemporary issues and potential solutions.
Many programs that are part of the sesquicentennial celebration will last the entire year. Throughout the 2012-2013 seasons, BC sports teams will wear sesquicentennial logos on their uniforms. In addition, historical markers will be installed throughout campus highlighting significant sites in the University’s issues and in daily student life. A mobile GPS guided tour including audio, video, and text will be available on a mobile app, and virtually online. In addition, two new books, An Illustrated History of Boston College and History of Boston College, will be published, and a documentary film on the University’s history will be made.
One of the most notable parts of the celebration is a call to service for all members of the BC community.
“All Boston College students will be asked to perform 150 minutes of community service in either Boston or Newton during the three semesters of the Sesquicentennial, joining thousands of BC students and graduates who currently volunteer in the cities’ schools, hospitals, food pantries, and social service agencies,” the Office of News and Public Affairs said. Alumni will also be asked to perform 150 minutes of service.
The Volunteer and Service Learning Center will be arranging for vans and transportation to local schools and soup kitchens to support this goal.
“The Sesquicentennial Steering Committee, which included representatives from all areas of the University, has arranged an array of programs and events that will make this anniversary meaningful and enjoyable for the entire Boston College family,” said Vice President and University Secretary Mary Lou DeLong, who chairs the steering committee. “With the exception of the Symphony Hall concert, all of our public events are free, and we extend a welcome invitation to our students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends to join us as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of Boston College.”