Many of the buildings on Boston College’s campus are named after former presidents, including Bapst Library and Gasson, Fulton, Lyons, Devlin, and Walsh Halls. These former heads of the University served anywhere from six to 13 years. Following the death of University Chancellor Rev. J. Donald Monan, S.J., who served for 24 years as BC’s 24th president, no one is more deserving of a building taking on his name.
During his time at BC, Monan commissioned the construction, renovation, or acquisition of 13 dorms between the Main and Newton Campuses. Of these dorms, however, 10 have been named after donors, including Rubenstein, Gabelli, Vouté, and Ignacio halls. Meanwhile, several dorms remain notably unnamed, instead taking on their street addresses.
Monan purchased 66 Commonwealth Ave., but the building itself is older and lacks the grandeur to properly honor Monan. And as entertaining as they may be for seniors, it seems unnecessary to comment on the viability and appearance of the Mods to be rededicated for a man who did so much for the University.
Thus, only one dorm built under Monan is worthy of his namesake: 90 St. Thomas More Road.
While the building was constructed in 1993, there has not been a donor who has stepped forward to claim its naming rights. Unlikely to be torn down in the coming years, 90 is a comparatively new and well-kempt building.
90 is located directly across from Corcoran Commons, placing it along the path of many students and visitors alike. It maintains greater significance than some of its counterparts on Lower Campus, such as 66, which is hidden in 90’s shadow. The building is also one of the dorms that freshmen stay in during orientation. Housing incoming students in a dorm named after the man who made their new school what it is now would be fitting.
With its location at the center of Lower Campus, an area which he almost single-handedly created, renaming 90 “Monan Hall” would appropriately memorialize the president’s role in making the University the school that it is today.
Monan contributed more to the development of BC than any president in the school’s history. Commemorating his success by naming one of the buildings he brought to campus after him is a necessary action that the administration and Board of Trustees should take. Because of the established precedent of naming buildings on campus after former University presidents, it is only appropriate that BC dedicate a building to its most important leader.
While some may argue that no one would use the new name for 90 if it was changed, this has not been the case in the past. Stayer Hall, which students used to refer to as “The Gate” when it was still titled by its address of 110 Thomas More Road, has seen its new name become adopted in everyday speech at the University since it was renamed in 2012. Therefore, there is little reason to believe that naming the building Monan Hall would go unrecognized.
BC’s newest building, 2150 Commonwealth Ave., might seem like a prime candidate to be bestowed with Monan’s name, given its beauty and position at the corner of BC’s opening thoroughfare. But it seems unfitting to name a building after Monan that he did not build. There is no reason for BC to hesitate any longer: rename 90 after the University’s most impactful and formative figure.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor