Tom McElroy Memorial Scholarship
Tom McElroy Memorial Scholarship Recipients
Tom McElroy's story is remarkable and inspirational. Tom came to Boston College from BC High, where he was an All-Conference midfielder. In the fall of his freshman year at BC, Tom elected not to try out for the soccer team, but joined the indoor soccer program that winter. The culmination of the season was the prestigious indoor soccer tournament at UConn. BC was invited to attend but had no goalkeepers because of injury or exams, so Tom volunteered. Although never having played the position, Tom led the Eagles to a surprising fourth place finish, earning all-tournament honors in the process. Tom's collegiate soccer career had begun. Tom was elected co-captain of the team in his senior year, and considered a definite professional prospect.
In January of his senior year, Tom was diagnosed with cancer. He continued his studies while receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatments, earning his degree in 1980. Since Tom had played only three years of varsity soccer, he entered graduate school to play a final varsity season. Although not as physically strong as before, and having to miss some games for treatments or recuperation, Tom played about half the games in a very successful 15-3-3 season. Tom's final appearance in goal was a 3-1 ECAC play-off victory over Bridgeport, the Eagles' first soccer championship. At the close of his career, Tom held Boston College goalkeeper records for most games played, most shutouts in a season and career, and lowest goals against average in a career. Tom died at age 22 on July 17, 1981, succumbing to cancer after a courageous 18 month battle. In 1987 Tom was inducted into the Boston College Varsity Club Hall of Fame, the first soccer player so honored. A plaque of Tom is mounted on the wall in Conte Forum.
The McElroy family established the Tom McElroy Memorial Scholarship on November 16, 1983, with an initial balance of $3,095, representing contributions to Boston College in Tom's memory. The original purpose of the Scholarship was to grant financial assistance to Boston College soccer student-athletes. The success of the Scholarship has allowed Boston College to distribute financial assistance to needy student-athletes in sports in addition to soccer. However, only one person is designated as the Tom McElroy Scholarship recipient, whose name is recorded on a plaque permanently displayed in the trophy case in Conte Forum.
Anyone contributing to Boston College can direct their contribution to the Tom McElroy Fund. Any gift to the Fund automatically enrolls the contributor in the appropriate giving level club (i.e., McElroy Associates, John Bapst Associates, Tower Builders, Fides, President's Circle). Contributions can be made throughout the year.
In 2005, the Tom McElroy Memorial Scholarship became the first athletic memorial scholarship at Boston College to exceed $1m, and continues to be the number one athletic memorial scholarship. From inception through the end of the 2013-2014 academic year, 99 student-athletes have received aid totaling $1,151,699.
Cole DeNormandie, from Lincoln, MA, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, with a Communications major, is the 2014 Tom McElroy Memorial Scholarship recipient. All recipients, including Cole, exhibit Tom's enthusiasm for soccer, dedication to excellence, and qualities of athleticism, moral courage, and fortitude which made Tom so special.