Shields Innovation Center will develop a multi-dimensional curriculum,
strengthen student and alumni ties to Boston’s evolving business community
Boston, Mass. (October 23, 2020): More than 40 years after entrepreneur and philanthropist Jack Shields learned to be a “man for others” at Dorchester’s Boston College High School, President Grace Cotter Regan and Board Chair Rev. Michael McFarland, SJ are proud to announce that he has made the largest single innovation investment in school history. Shields, known as founder and chairman of Stoughton-based Shields Health Solutions, is investing $5M in his alma mater to establish the Shields Innovation Center – aimed at prioritizing entrepreneurial thinking while preparing for the rapidly evolving innovation economy.
With COVID-19 demonstrating the need for the business world to adapt quickly, knowing how – and when – to design creative solutions is a major focus of Shields’ innovation investment. The Center will enhance BC High’s ability to activate students’ potential while increasing the school’s influence and integration with Boston’s business leaders.
“I’ve spent my career working in organizations that sought to innovate on behalf of patients in Massachusetts and beyond,” said Shields. “The path to my accomplishments started in the hallways of BC High. It’s an honor to be able to help BC High enable other young men to go down a similar path. The curriculum, faculty and programming of this center will help drive the next generation of innovators for our community. I look forward to seeing a future that is brighter thanks to being lit by innovative graduates from BC High.”
“We are incredibly grateful for Jack’s outstanding vision and leadership – as a businessman and entrepreneur and as an alumnus and friend,” said BC High Vice President of Advancement Kelly DeGregorio. “Jack’s investment, along with his enduring confidence and commitment to the Jesuit ideal of living compassionately in service of others, will help generations of students make sense of an increasingly complex and interconnected world.”
The Shields Innovation Center will have three distinct components:
1) Innovation curriculum that encourages students to grow into agile thinkers and resilient contributors who are courageous, reflective, and committed to addressing society’s most pressing issues;
2) Student and alumni network programming, including influential guest speakers, hack-a-thons, pitch competitions and entrepreneurship tournaments with other schools, along with opportunities for students and alumni to develop and grow personal and professional connections; and
3) A Center that offers hands-on experience in computer science, robotics, and media, and is accessible to all students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
It will also help mobilize and engage BC High’s alumni base by connecting them with current students and Boston’s business leaders. Each phase of the Shields Innovation Center, which will launch in 2021, is designed to elevate learning opportunities and incubate innovative thinking and risk tolerance. In addition, the Center will create new connections to resources in Boston’s thriving economic ecosystem and around the world, the result of BC High’s urban and global reach.
Shields’ gift comes at a time when BC High is enjoying strong enrollment, new and innovative synchronous and connected learning programs and centers (including the Michael D. White Center for Emerging Leaders), and growing diversity; this year’s freshman class is 36% non-white and comes from every neighborhood in Boston and more than 140 communities in the Commonwealth.
“The BC High of today isn’t the BC High I attended in the 1970s,” said Shields. “It’s stronger, more flexible and more diverse. I’m looking forward to helping my alma mater carry on the Jesuit tradition of building community and educational foundation inside and outside the classroom. I’m reminded of what Jonas Salk, who brought us one of the first successful polio vaccines, once said: ‘Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.’ That’s what this Center is all about – getting our young men to be intuitive and to think of where to look next.”
“Like the many organizations surrounding us, we reacted quickly and embraced change when COVID-19 hit. That’s what future leaders need to do, and that’s exactly what Jack’s investment will continue to promote at BC High.” said Regan. “We’re embracing equity in education, we’re more diverse than ever before, and we’re not settling for yesterday’s best practices. The Shields Innovation Center will usher in a transformative new era at BC High, forming graduates who are widely recognized as embracing entrepreneurial thinking and societal need in a uniquely Jesuit context. ”