Boston College announced its plan to establish both Messina College and the Academy, a two-year residential college and a cost-free summer enrichment program for local middle and high school students, on Thursday.
“Together, these offerings aim to expand upon Boston College’s success in educating under-resourced, first-generation students, while continuing Pine Manor College’s legacy of outreach to underserved communities,” the University release reads.
Messina College and the Academy are both initiatives under the Pine Manor Institute (PMI) of Student Success, which was created when the University announced in May of 2020 it would absorb Pine Manor College after it faced financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The University established the PMI with a $50 million original endowment. This endowment has now increased to $100 million with investment returns and an anonymous $25 million donation, according to the Thursday release.
“Boston College was founded in 1863 to help educate Boston’s immigrant community,” said University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., in the release. “The Pine Manor Institute represents an extension of our mission in response to societal needs.”
The Academy will use buildings and residence halls on BC’s campus to host the program, and BC will cover expenses for all participants, according to the PMI’s Vice President and Executive Director Joy Moore. The University expects students to start the program in eighth grade and continue each summer until their senior year of high school.
“PMI will welcome its first cohort of rising eighth graders this coming July,” Moore wrote in a statement to The Heights. “Students are selected based on nominations from their school principal, teacher or counselor or religious leader or community organization leader as well as the student’s application and interview with a PMI staff member.”
BC juniors and seniors can apply to serve as “success coaches” for the Academy’s participants.
“During the school year, PMI students will be assigned a personal success coach who will meet with them once a week to assist with homework, help with time management, study skills and act as a mentor,” Moore wrote.
Moore said the PMI developed grade-specific themes—such as courage, tenacity, and confidence for eighth-graders and transition, responsibility, and self-discipline for seniors—that will shape the Academy’s programming. College readiness will also be an emphasis of the program.
“Formative education is weaved into the fabric of the overall programming,” she wrote. “In addition to summer academic classes in mathematics, science and English, we have developed themes for each grade level and activities will be focused around these themes.”
Messina College, which will be located on Pine Manor College’s former campus, will offer 100 students annually an associate’s degree program, starting during the 2024-2025 academic year.
According to the release, the two-year division aims to prepare students for continued education in a bachelor’s degree program or for a professional career. “Successful students” at Messina College will be eligible to apply to BC to earn their bachelor’s degree, the release states.
“The goal of Messina College is to provide access to a high-quality education to students who would benefit from a smaller academic environment, as well as first-generation students and students from underrepresented and underserved communities,” Moore wrote.
A unique facet of both Messina College and the Academy, according to Moore, is the support students will receive from coaches and mentors during their first two years in the workforce.
The release also states that the PMI will manage existing support programs for BC students, including Learning to Learn, the Montserrat Coalition, Options Through Education, and student volunteer efforts.
“By bringing the existing academic support programs together under PMI, we hope to better serve the students by collaborating and partnering more strategically,” Moore wrote.
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