Fr. J. Donald Monan, the 24th President of Boston College often credited with saving the university from financial wreck and leading it into prestige, passed away on Saturday at the Campion Health Center in Weston at the age of 92.
During his tenure as President, from 1972 to 1996, Monan brought the school from being a predominantly male commuter school to a coeducational, nationally ranked university with a $448 million endowment. At the time of his appointment, the endowment was $5.7 million, and BC was running an annual deficit of $4 million due to various expansions made by the previous administration.
Fr. Monan was praised by current BC President Rev. J. William Leahy in an article from BC News.
“Fr. Monan devoted more than four decades of his life to Boston College, playing a decisive role in its reorganization and increased recognition in American higher education,” said Fr. Leahy. “He has left a lasting legacy, and earned the gratitude and respect of the entire Boston College community for his leadership during his years as president and chancellor."
His tenure as president lasted longer than any other in the university’s history. During these years, new facilities such as the Thomas P. O’Neill Library were constructed, academic programs such as the still popular Perspectives on Western Culture program were developed, and various strategic planning initiatives and fundraising efforts took place.
Fr. Monan was the first ever chancellor of BC, as the position was created specifically for him to honor his years of service. He also served on the boards of various educational, philosophical, and religious organizations.
A funeral Mass will be announced for Fr. Monan, who is survived by his three nephews and niece.