The name of one of the most anticipated buildings at Boston College is being tweaked in honor of one of its most generous donors.
The University announced on Thursday that Margot Connell, BC trustee associate, honorary degree recipient, and mother or grandmother to 10 alumni, will be the namesake of the new recreation center—originally, the replacement of the Flynn Recreation Complex was to be named after the entire Connell family.
The change was made after Connell’s six children, all BC graduates, convinced Margot to allow her name to be used on the building.
“Mom attributes a lot of our family’s good fortune to our time at Boston College,” Bill Connell, Margot’s son, member of the BC Board of Trustees, and BC ’94 said in the University release. “Having witnessed firsthand the impact the BC experience has had on our entire family, she wanted to do something to further enhance the student experience, and felt that the recreation center was a great way to do so.
“As a parent, athlete, and sports fan, she was thrilled to help BC enhance its recreational offerings through this new facility. She deserves to have the building bear her name. [Our family] could not be more proud of her.”
Connell gave $50 million to help jumpstart construction while BC’s capital campaign Light the World was still ongoing. The Margot Connell Recreation Center is scheduled to open this fall.
“Margot has been a matriarch of the BC community who has witnessed first-hand the positive effects that a Jesuit education of the mind, body, and spirit can have on students,” said University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J. in a 2017 release. “We are grateful to her for her generosity in naming this facility.”
The building is built where Edmonds Hall once stood and will feature four wood-floor basketball courts, three indoor tennis courts, multipurpose rooms for various fitness classes, a jogging track, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a new pool—albeit one that has caused some controversy over the past few years.
Margot donated $10 million in memory of her husband, William, BC ’59, after he died in 2001, leading to the nursing school being named in the family’s honor. William served as chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1981-84 and was a veteran of the U.S. Army. Margot currently serves as the chairwoman of Connell Limited Partnerships and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
“The Margot Connell Recreation Center is a testament to a family’s fierce loyalty for all that is Boston College,” Margot’s daughter Monica Healey, BC ’88, said in the University release. “I love that my mother will share with my father the distinction of having her name grace something so important to BC.”
Each one of Margot’s six children are BC graduates. In addition to Bill and Healey, Lisa McNamara, BC ’88; Courtenay, BC ’91; Terrence, BC ’02; and Timothy, BC ’03 and BC Law ’12 are all alums.
“It is a perfect fit to have our mother’s name on something that epitomizes fitness, health, and wellness,” McNamara said in the release. “Our mother loves BC and everything about it. She tailgates with us, and sits in the stands at every football game. Her grandkids’ friends call her ‘Nana,’ because she takes such an interest in them and their experience as students.
“It is a wonderful tribute to have her name on a recreational facility that will serve the entire campus. I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more.”
Featured Image Courtesy of the Office of University Communications