Margaret J. “Peg” Kenny ’57, MA’59

Flexibility For the Future

When we think of the Boston College experience, certain images spring to mind: bright young students studying in Bapst Library; dynamic faculty shaping future leaders in class and out; Eagles competing in Alumni Stadium and Conte Forum; service volunteers making a difference in communities around the world.

But behind these iconic images are hundreds—thousands—of people, books, equipment, training programs, and other resources that support the University and fuel its continuing success. These are the areas—along with student scholarships, faculty support, and other philanthropic designations—that make the Boston College experience transformative, and they rely in large part on unrestricted gifts from the BC community.  

Unrestricted gifts allow the University to determine how to use the funds based on its most pressing needs—for example, providing critical flexibility during the sudden shift to online learning caused by COVID-19. BC parents, alumni, and friends can make unrestricted gifts in a number of ways, from annual gifts to the BC Fund to planned gifts such as a bequest.

“Our alumni and parents believe in the BC mission and in the University’s commitment to carefully stewarding our resources to ensure the University’s continued excellence,” says Amy Yancey, BC’s vice president for development. “By making unrestricted planned gifts, our donors help support every element of what makes Boston College so unique.”  

While only a small percentage of estate gifts to BC are currently unrestricted, Yancey says they are particularly valuable because they provide flexibility to meet the University’s future needs.

By the Numbers

Margaret J. Peg Kenney ’57, MA’59, understood the intrinsic value of making unrestricted gifts to the University. A leader in mathematics education whose career at BC spanned nearly six decades, she made the University a partial beneficiary of her will and her IRA, a testament to her belief in the BC mission and in its ability to steward its resources to achieve the greatest good.  

The daughter of an alumnus and a Double Eagle herself, Kenney was one of the first women to study mathematics at BC, and when she earned her doctorate, women made up only six percent of mathematics PhDs in the nation. She joined the faculty of the School of Education (now the Lynch School of Education and Human Development) in 1960 and was first assistant director, then director, of the Mathematics Institute, which worked to improve content and instructional practice in mathematics at the pre-college level.

Kenney was known for her unwavering dedication to students and to academic excellence, and through her unrestricted bequest, she has helped University leaders do the same. Gifts like hers helped BC weather the storm of COVID-19—including unexpected technology costs and a dramatic increase in financial need for incoming students—and will go on to provide flexibility and security for the University’s future.

Kenney passed in 2016, three years after retiring from Boston College. In a 2013 Boston College Chronicle article, she reflected on her relationship with BC and her desire to give back: “In effect, my world has been defined by BC—personally and professionally. Many of the friends I have had from my undergraduate days remain close friends now. Spiritually, Boston College has been a trusted source for deepening my faith. Professionally, the Mathematics Institute pursuits afforded me the opportunity to work with teachers and students of all levels in this country and abroad for many years. A large number of these pre-service and veteran teachers became cherished lifelong friends. I am forever grateful to BC for all this.”

To learn more about making an unrestricted bequest or other planned gift for BC, contact the Gift Planning team at

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