Paying It Forward

An unrestricted bequest provides Boston College with security for the future

Celia Canning’s relationship with Boston College began nearly 30 years ago with on-campus tailgates and football games at Alumni Stadium with her husband, Rich Canning ’81. For her, those early memories are some of the most precious.

“When we were first married, we went to football games all the time,” she reflects. “We sat in the top bleacher at the end zone. Campus was always so beautiful, and the students were friendly. I would envision how great it would be if we had kids and they went to BC.”

Today, they are the proud parents of three children—including two Eagles, Maddy ’23 and Michael ’24 (oldest daughter Olivia graduated from the University of Redlands in 2016).

In honor of their long relationship with BC, Rich and Celia recently made an unrestricted bequest to the University.

This commitment is a testament to their belief in the Jesuit, Catholic mission of Boston College.

“As a couple, we’ve had a longtime interest, passion, commitment, relationship with the University,” says Rich. “BC has been a constant in my life since I was an undergraduate in the Carroll School of Management. And, ever since we first met, Celia has poured herself into it as well,” he adds. “Now, with two of our children there, the school is an integral part of our family—which dictated that we do something on behalf of our family.”

During these uncertain times, making an unrestricted bequest allows the University to use the gift where it's needed most.

The Cannings’ unrestricted bequest will give Boston College the flexibility to apply the future resources as needed—to innovate, to remain stable in uncertain times, and to continue to fulfill its mission of helping students reach their full potential.

“Unrestricted makes sense to us because, when the time comes, we trust that BC will know best what to use the money for,” Rich says. “We don’t know what the priorities are going to be in 20, 30, or 40 years, so why put a restriction on its use today?” 

“We couldn’t put it toward something that was a question mark,” Celia adds. “That’s not how we roll.”

Together, the Cannings want to pay it forward and help future generations of Eagles experience the unique education that BC delivers.

“My time as a student in the Carroll School prepared me with the tools I needed to begin my career and still use today,” Rich says. “But it was the entire liberal arts curriculum that delivered the context, ethics, and ability to think critically, analyze, and communicate that have been foundational to my life.”

And it is that foundation that first motivated the couple to give back to Boston College and add to their support of scholarships, athletics, and the Carroll School. This remarkable bequest reflects what they want to remain in place at the University for years to come.

“At BC, I learned how to think about, feel for, and understand those around me,” Rich continues. “It’s where students go to learn how to appreciate the mind, body, and spirit, as well as the human condition. There’s no other institution like it.”

Establishing a bequest at Boston College is easy—just adding a few sentences to your will is sufficient. BC’s Gift Planning team can help guide you through the process. Including the University in your estate plan has no effect on your current financial position and can have the added benefit of reducing estate taxes.

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