When Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond came to Boston College 18 months ago, his first move was to assess the macro needs of the institution’s sports programs. In order to solve the largest issues holding the institution back, which were laid out in the pillars making up the University’s new athletics capital campaign, Greater Heights, Jarmond realized he had been presented with a unique opportunity.
“When I arrived on the Heights, I knew coming in that we’re in a competitive landscape for facilities,” he said in an email. “I was aware of what was going but I was also was keenly aware that we couldn’t stop.”
BC had begun construction on the Harrington Athletics Village, the Fish Field House, and the Connell Recreation Center when Jarmond came to Chestnut Hill. Those three initiatives weren’t going to be enough to serve as the launching pad Jarmond needed to bring the Eagles to a new competitive level among its ACC competitors, Jarmond said. It was that mindset that served as the inciting action behind Greater Heights.
“The campaign was really my idea from just knowing that we have a moment in time,” he said. “Of course, I had to learn more about what we were doing and where we were going, but I quickly learned that this was an opportunity coming off of the University’s capital campaign and being in between the next University capital campaign.
“Our time is now, and this is the perfect time to really highlight and continue the momentum and build upon what we’ve done.”
The campaign by its very nature is revolutionary—BC has never done a capital campaign geared solely toward supporting athletics. The primary reason now is the best time for doing so is that the University is in between college-wide fundraising cycles—Light the World concluded just two years ago—but Jarmond’s reasoning goes deeper than that.
“I think it’s important to have a separate campaign to show the importance of athletics and how integral it is to the fabric of this institution,” he said. “Some would say that athletics programs are the front porch to a University. I would argue that athletics is a central core to any institution, especially at this level.”
Jarmond cited the widespread interest among alumni, parents, fans, and the student body that brings tens of thousands of fans together around the Eagles. A campaign such as this one sends the message to every BC fan that athletics is a priority—athletics has committed to trying to reach top-25 levels across every program, beginning with football and men’s basketball.
Fans may, justifiably, bristle at the idea that the Eagles could reach top-25 ability across every sport based on years of falling either just short or well short of that mark among some of its most-watched programs. But, a $150 million commitment to the entire department serves as a statement of intent to the entire ACC.
“We need to raise money, we need more resources to do the things that we want to do and accomplish for BC,” Jarmond said. “We have buckets of priorities that are facility enhancements, student-athlete formation, academic support … we have buckets but it’s going to be based on the individuals who want to direct their money towards a certain initiative.”
Donors can donate to any of the three pillars—competitive excellence, the capital campaign, and student formation—that define the entire campaign. Donors can give directly to specific funds within those areas in order to support certain aspects of the campaign that resonate most strongly with them, as well.
“We are committed to running a successful athletics program that is competitive at the highest level,” Jarmond said. “That’s the tone I want to set. Just like any facility on campus with research and professors doing serious work, we want to put our student athletes in the best kind of environments where they can do their best work and they can learn.
“Coaches, professors—they both teach and educate so that’s what we want to do.”
Ultimately, the department’s greatest concern is mobilizing the entire BC community. The fact that the capital campaign’s fundraising goal is lower than those of huge campaigns such as Light the World doesn’t mean the University’s fundraising apparatus is asking for lower participation.
“I want to look back and have it be successful and have raised more than $150 million,” Jarmond said. “I want to make sure we look back and see that we’ve exceeded our goal; I want to crush our goal. I want this to be something that we look back at and say, ‘This really helped us get on more solid footing to be more competitive in some of the sports we need to be more consistently competitive in.’
“This Greater Heights campaign is significant and it’s important to not just fans of BC athletics but the entire BC community at-large. … It’s going to take an effort from all of us to really help position our athletics program for the future.”
Featured Image by Bradley Smart / Heights Editor