Boston College was founded in 1863 by the Society of Jesus to serve the sons of Boston's Irish immigrants. Today, with an enrollment of 14,500 undergraduate and graduate students, Boston College has grown to become one of the largest Catholic universities in the nation, serving the sons and daughters of 50 states and 85 countries.
The growth Boston College has experienced has not been just in size, but also in stature and diversity. Today, it is ranked among the top 40 national universities by US News & World Report. Its Law School, Lynch School of Education and Graduate School of Social Work are listed among the nation's top 25 graduate programs in their disciplines, also by US News, while the School of Nursing graduate program is among the top 35 and the Carroll School of Management's MBA program is among the top 40. Boston College also is among the nation's most selective universities, with more than 21,000 applications for approximately 2,100 seats in the freshman Class of 2004. Its endowment of $1 billion is among the nation's 40 largest.
After more than a century of growth and evolution, however, Boston College holds fast the ideals that inspired its Jesuit founders. The University today remains focused on its mission of helping students develop their minds and talents while providing them with the motivation and compassion to use those talents in the service of others.
"Deeply rooted in its Catholic and Jesuit origins, Boston College offers an education that is distinctive in spirit and content, that is doubly rich with the best of human thought and with profound insights of faith," writes Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., who assumed the presidency of Boston College in 1996. "We believe that Boston College provides a transforming experience for young men and women."
A continued expression of this philosophy, based on the Jesuit principle of cura personalis, or care for the individual, is the faculty's dedication to teaching. Several BC faculty members have been honored for their teaching by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Education. Overall, the University's teaching commitment has been ranked among the nation's top 20, also by US News.
A Boston College education focuses not just on intellectual development, but on personal, spiritual and physical development as well. As a result, students are asked to use their abilities, education and acquired skills to help others in need. Each year, 1,500 Boston College students provide more than 80,000 hours of volunteer service from Boston to Belize. In addition, nearly 2,000 students take part in retreats and spiritual formation activities annually.
Today, the Boston College motto "ever to excel" also extends beyond a broad array of extracurricular activities and opportunities ranging from sports to the arts. Athletics is also integral to the University's focus on the development of the whole person in body as well as in mind and spirit. BC offers 33 men's and women's varsity sports, all of which compete at the NCAA Division I level. Boston College annually has one of the highest graduation rates in Division I-A.
The University is also home to a number of research centers that enrich intellectual and cultural life beyond the campus gates. Among these are the Jesuit Institute; the Center for Ignatian Spirituality; the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life; the Social Welfare Research Institute; the Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation and Educational Policy; the Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections; the Robsham Theater Arts Center; the McMullen Museum of Art; the Center for International Higher Education; the Center for Child; Family and Community Partnerships; the Center for Corporate Community Relations; the Center for Work and Family; the Irish Institute; the Retirement Research Center; and Weston Observatory.