Boston College was founded in 1863 by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) to educate Boston’s predominantly Irish, Catholic immigrant community. It opened its doors on September 5, 1864, in a building on Harrison Avenue in Boston’s South End, a “small streetcar college” for commuting students. When it outgrew the limitations of the space, then-president Rev. Thomas I. Gasson, S.J., bought 31 acres of the former Lawrence Farm in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, and broke ground in 1909 on a new campus, today fondly known as “the Heights.” BC began as an undergraduate liberal arts college, but as its aspirations grew, it added graduate programs and professional schools fulfilling its charter as a university.
Boston College, the first institution of higher education to operate in the city of Boston, is today among the nation’s foremost universities, a leader in the liberal arts, scientific inquiry, and student formation.