Dear BC High Community,
I write you today to share the news that, after nearly two years of discernment and meaningful research on our founder, Fr. John McElroy, SJ, Boston College High School is rededicating our original building on Morrissey Boulevard – to be called St. Ignatius Hall.
For over 500 years, St. Ignatius’ teachings have guided our School, as well as thousands of others around the world. Since our founding in 1863, we have followed his charge to “live compassionately in the service of others” as we seek to do all things ad majorem Dei glorium – for the greater glory of God.
Consistent with that charge, BC High aims to inspire our students to be “contemplatives in action” and work with people from all walks of life to develop true understanding and cultivate change. But beyond cultivating change, we must also embrace change – as doing so helps us make sense of the increasingly complex world in which we live. As a Jesuit School, we are always learning, and what we learn often causes us to pause, take a step back, and examine our past to better inform our present and our future.
BC High’s founder, Fr. McElroy, was an extraordinary man who lived simply with an intense religious fervor and with a commitment to the well-being of his community. His positive impact on the lives of thousands of boys and young men, since the School’s inception in 1863, is without question. He was, however, also a man of his controversial times and it became critical to re-examine his life in light of recent findings related to his direct work involving enslaved people while he served in the Maryland Province during the early 1800s.
In March 2021, the Board of Trustees tasked its Mission & Identity Committee to engage in thoughtful research, reflection, and constructive dialogue with our community, including faculty, staff, students, and alumni on what we came to learn of Fr. McElroy’s time serving the Maryland Province. The Committee held many difficult, but productive, meetings, and consulted several sources, including the Georgetown University Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, and the Holy Cross Mulledy/Healy Legacy Committee.
After concluding its charter, the Mission & Identity Committee presented its recommendations to the full Board in April 2022, which then voted, unanimously, in favor of not only rededicating the building, but also continuing to teach the totality of Fr. McElroy’s story, where it will be embedded in the School’s curriculum, recognizing both his great works and his faults. Of important note, as part of our rededication, we will continue to acknowledge Fr. McElroy as the founder of BC High by placing a plaque, which will honor and contextualize his legacy, inside the main entrance of the School.
The name, St. Ignatius Hall, reaffirms our commitment as a Jesuit institution by continuing to form leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion, and underscoring our role in helping our students become young men of integrity, educated in faith, and for justice. BC High is a school that respects and upholds the dignity of all people, and it is our responsibility to demonstrate these values to the faculty, staff, students, and alumni who walk through our halls each day, both now and in the future.
We will celebrate the blessing of St. Ignatius Hall later this Fall. If you have any questions about Fr. McElroy or the reasons for the rededication, please let me know. My door is always open.
Grace Cotter Regan P’12