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Boston College High School Celebrates 2024 Recipients of St. Ignatius Award and the Thomas and Mary Shields Medal

Boston, MA. (April 30, 2024) – On Thursday morning, nearly 2,000 members of the Boston College High School community including students, faculty, staff, and alumni gathered in McNeice Pavilion to honor Paul Dawley Esq ’81 and Matthew Russell M.D. ’90, the 2024 recipients of the St. Ignatius Award, and Nicholas Argento Ed.D., who was given the Thomas and Mary Shields Medal. The highest recognitions bestowed by the school, these honors recognize alumni and community members who demonstrate a lifelong commitment to BC High and its mission.

“Here at BC High, we talk about formation and our Ignatian pedagogy every day,” said President Grace Cotter Regan. “Today, we celebrate the stories of two of our alumni and one faculty member who are true men for others committed to a faith that does justice.”

St. Ignatius Awards
As the school’s most prestigious alumni honor, the St. Ignatius Award acknowledges individuals who have exemplified high moral character and selflessly served their community. Since the award’s inception, nearly 100 alumni have received the award.

Throughout his legal career, Chief Justice Paul Dawley has been guided by an unwavering moral compass. In 2013, he was selected to serve as Chief of the District Court – the largest trial department – where he oversaw 158 judges and 62 court houses. His substantial experience as a chief justice, judge, and administrator has shaped the direction of court procedures and processes to center equity, not only in the District Court but also for the Trial Court as a whole.

“What I learned at BC High is that respect for others is paramount, and that everybody has a viewpoint that should be listened to,” Chief Justice Dawley said. “I am honored and humbled to receive this award particularly because of what it represents and that it comes from an institution that I have immense respect for.”

Dr. Matthew Russell currently serves as Medical Director for the Geriatric Medicine Staff at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he is treasured by a grateful population of aging patients. Dr. Russell’s passion to improve the field of geriatrics stems from his community service at BC High. Outside of his professional work, Dr. Russell is an enthusiastic participant in and supporter of the arts, particularly the Kevin Kynock Foundation for the Arts, which brings communities without traditional access to the arts transformative cultural experiences that create a more compassionate and artistic future. The Foundation is named for former BC High English and theater teacher Kevin Kynock.

“I am very proud of being a BC High alum, and when I say I received a Jesuit education, people understand what that means,” said Dr. Russell. “The skillsets that I have because of my time at BC High allow me to have the perspective necessary to be compassionate towards others and continue to seek justice.”

The Thomas and Mary Shields Medal
The Thomas and Mary Shields Medal – which recognizes non-alumnus community members for service, dedication, and generosity of the school – was established in 2011 to honor the dedication and commitment of the couple to Catholic education and to BC High.

Dr. Nicholas Argento has been a beloved member of the BC High faculty for 40 years and he hasplayed an integral role in the formation of thousands of alumni. During his tenure at the school, Dr. Argento has coached freshman student-athletes on the soccer field and baseball diamond. He also served as moderator of the Model UN Club. In recent years, he has grown the club’s conference at BC High to welcome nearly 500 students from around the globe.

“While I am honored to be the recipient of this year’s award, it is not just me, but all of my colleagues that help form BC High students,” Dr Argento said. “I am grateful to the Shields Family, and to Tom and Mary, for creating this award to recognize the work done at our school.”


About Boston College High School: Boston College High School is a Jesuit, Catholic, college-preparatory school for young men in grades 7 to 12. Founded in 1863, the school enrolls more than 1,400 students from 81 zip codes in eastern Massachusetts. For more information, please visit bchigh.edu.