Boston College will begin its Sesquicentennial celebration this month with a mass at Fenway Park on Sept. 15 at 4 p.m. The event will be open to BC students, faculty, alumni, and other guests who have preregistered online. The mass is the first in a series of events that will highlight various aspects of BC’s history and dedication to education in the 150 years since its founding in 1863.
Attendance at the mass is expected to be in excess of 20,000, and over 200 Eucharistic ministers have been recruited to help celebrate. The mass will be concelebrated by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., and over 100 members of the BC Jesuit community and alumni priests.
After the mass, guests will be treated to a reception and a walking tour of the baseball park.
In addition, the three pillars of the Sesquicentennial celebration-scholarship, service, and arts- will be highlighted with academic symposia and speaker events throughout the coming year.
The first speaker, Harvard University president Drew Faust, will visit the Heights on Oct. 10 to discuss scholarship. During her visit, Faust will be awarded a Sesquicentennial Medal in recognition of her commitment to this pillar of the celebration.
Faust’s visit will be the first from a Harvard president since former Harvard president Nathan Pusey visited the University for BC’s Centennial Celebration in 1963.
Also in October will be the first of six academic symposia designed to highlight BC’s deep investment in service and societal outreach. On Oct. 5, BC Lynch School of Education (LSOE) professors Marilyn Cochran-Smith and Dennis Shirley will lead a symposium titled “Public Education and the Future of Democracy.”
The second of the six symposia, “Religion and the Liberal Aims of Higher Education,” will be held on Nov. 8 and 9, and will be led by professor Henry Braun of LSOE and theology professor Erik Owens. The symposia will focus on the unique aspects of religiously affiliated universities, an area in which BC has long been a national leader.
In addition to the planned events, the Office of News and Public Affairs has unveiled new historical plaques which will be mounted outside notable campus buildings.
“Seven of the historical markers, which will be placed in front of the University’s oldest buildings, will provide biographical information on the individuals after whom the buildings are named-from Jesuit Presidents Gasson and Bapst to Lyons and Fulton-as well as the building’s past and current uses,” according to a release by the Office of News and Public Affairs. In addition, plaques will be found at locations such as Conte Forum, the Flutie Statue, and Linden Lane.
The historical markers project was developed by the Office of News and Public Affairs in conjunction with the late University Historian Thomas H. O’Connor. Throughout his tenure, O’Connor had written narratives that described buildings and other prominent sites on campus.
“This project is a tribute to Tom O’Connor, whose poignant descriptions of the University’s historic buildings and prominent sites will provide a lasting resource that will benefit all who visit our campus,” said Jack Dunn, director of the Office of News and Public Affairs.
In addition, the Office of News and Public Affairs has created a virtual tour of the campus, accessible on the University’s website or by using the “Tour of the Heights” smartphone application. The virtual tour features text, video, and photos relevant to the University’s history, as well as the voice talents of various members of the BC community.
The tour is voiced by students and faculty alike, including Vice President Rev. William Neenan, S.J., English professor emeritus John Mahoney, men’s hockey coach Jerry York, and BC students who auditioned for the role last spring.
“[The tour] is a wonderful resource that will be a highlight of the Sesquicentennial Celebration,” said Joseph Quinn, economics professor and sesquicentennial steering committee member.
“It will benefit admissions, faculty recruiting, alumni relations and community relations, while providing a better understanding for all who visit of the rich history of the Boston College campus.”