In the last five years, Boston College has secured its spot as home of one of the most dominant Division I hockey programs. In the last five years, the Eagles have won the Division I hockey championship three times. Their most recent win came last weekend, when Boston College defeated Ferris State 4-1.
How has this surge in the hockey team’s prowess benefited fundraising for development? Steve Novak is Boston College’s Assistant Athletics Director for Athletic Development. When asked whether the recent Division I hockey championship would boost donations, Novak provided the following insight:
“Our hockey program has achieved such heights over the years that one year or one championship does not necessarily influence overall giving in a noticeable way. However, I can certainly attest to the fact that the consistent performance and leadership under Jerry York has influenced any number of donors and/or gifts to BC Athletics. We have seen several gifts directed to hockey over the years to support scholarships or other expenses. Often, these donors cite the great pride they have when they root for BC Hockey.”
In an age in which football and basketball dominate the college athletics headlines–two sports which are present on Boston College’s campus–it speaks loudly to the talent of Boston College’s hockey team that a number of donors specifically direct funds to the hockey team’s development.
Given the hockey team’s frequent presence in the Frozen Four and national championship game in recent years, the question arises as to whether Boston College capitalizes upon the appearances as opportunities to fundraise. Novak indicated that Boston College, “do[es] a lot of stewardship around special events like Frozen Fours or bowl games. We have not chosen to do specific fundraisers. It is more of an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to those who helped us get to this point through their ongoing and past support.”
Along with funding scholarships for student-athletes, Novak and members of his athletics development staff fundraise to build new facilities or improve existing facilities. In 2007, Boston College opened the doors to the $27 million Yawkey Athletics Center. According to Novak, “This was the first building on campus to be 100% privately funded.” Going forward, Boston College will break ground soon on a baseball and softball complex on its Brighton Campus. Additionally, according to Novak, the athletics department “. . . also make[s] several facility improvements each year throughout our athletics facilities. These otherwise ‘small’ items add up to be significant expenses. However, it is extremely important to put our best foot forward. The aesthetic improvement over the last several years is noticeable. Athletics is certainly not the most important aspect of the University, but it often is the most visible.”
The success of its hockey team and the work of its athletics department and development staff in recent years gives Boston College fans much to cheer about.