News, On Campus

BC Professors Recognized at Inaugural Illumination Awards Ceremony

The Career Center honored Boston College professors who positively impact their students’ career journeys with the first annual Illumination Awards at the “Breakfast of Champions” ceremony on Monday. 

“When we began envisioning these awards and their celebration, we thought it would be lovely to celebrate a few members of our community who would be nominated by our students and recent alums for inspiring them,” said Rachel Greenberg, director of career education at the Career Center.

Greenberg said the Career Center received 109 nominations for the awards, which exceeded its expectations and showcased how impactful professors are toward their students.

Joe Du Pont, the associate vice president of career services, said the Illumination Award ceremony aims to show gratitude toward the nominated professors.

“It’s really about being positive and being grateful and honoring all the mentors that we have here,” Du Pont said. “And also recognizing the power many people have—you may be inadvertently impacting other people’s lives.” 

Glenn Gaudette, the chair of the BC’s engineering department, delivered the ceremony’s keynote speech, detailing how his college professors’ guidance shaped his life journey.

“When I was 17 years old and just entering college, I had no idea what I was going to do,” Gaudette said. “I’m a first generation college student, so my parents couldn’t share their experience in college with me. So I was very fortunate that I had people like those that are in this room to help guide me.” 

Gaudette said that his parents instilled two principles within him—the desire to receive an education along with the realization that happiness in life should take precedence over salary and job status. Gaudette said these principles are still relevant to students today.

“Why is it that young people today are resigning?” Gaudette said. “I believe one of the biggest reasons is because they’re not fulfilled in their careers. They want to be part of something more, and they want to make the world a better place.”

Gaudette said that when he found his first engineering job after college unfulfilling, he turned to his former professors for advice.

“I remember vividly sitting in professor John Rice’s office and telling him that it wasn’t happening in my work,” Gaudette said. “He asked me if I ever thought about going to graduate school, and my response was ‘What is graduate school?’ So he inspired me … to think about graduate school.”

The role of a professor is to also make students confident in themselves so they are inspired to achieve anything, Gaudette said. He then concluded his talk by encouraging students to connect and seek mentorship from their professors.

“If you’re a student, I want you to know you can always come back to the faculty, the staff,” Gaudette said. “The people in this room will always serve as mentors. … These relationships last forever.”

Rev. Tony Penna, another speaker at the event and the associate vice president and director of Campus Ministry, also emphasized the importance of mentorship and friendship.

“We are nourished by friendship and care, nourished by good mentoring and the love of others who have believed in us over the years,” Penna said. “Nourished by a Jesuit education, and by the prospects of a future where we can do for others what others have done for us.”

Featured Image Courtesy of Scott Caroll

April 14, 2022