W. Seavey Joyce, SJ, President’s Office records
- 1944 - 1974
- Majority of material found within 1968 - 1972
Scope and Contents
The W. Seavey Joyce, SJ, President’s Office records document Joyce’s tenure as twenty-third president of Boston College, 1968-1972. This collection consists largely of administrative records and contains building plans, committee records, correspondence, departmental records, development records, and faculty and subject files. Subject files contain personal materials, inaugural materials, and materials focusing on student and faculty relations with the administration. The collection also contains materials from Joyce’s previous positions as Dean of the College of Business Administration (1958-1966), later the School of Management, and Vice-President of Community Affairs (1966-1968). Materials date from 1944-1974.
Building records consist mostly of proposals for renovations of the library and for the purchase of new properties. Correspondence files contain invitations, acceptances, and regrets for events during Joyce’s tenure as president, as well as letters sent to Boston College alumni, parents, and students. Boston College’s financial struggles and fundraising efforts are apparent in development files, which document the University’s efforts to pay off rising debts. In addition, the University administration’s relationship with the student body and the faculty are illustrated in faculty files, departmental records, and subject files. Subject files mostly focus on faculty and student conflicts with the administration, especially those concerning changes to tenure procedures, the United States Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corps, and the student strike in April 1970 over tuition increases. Subject files also contain a fair amount of personal and inaugural materials.
Departmental records and faculty files containing student records, faculty tenure and promotion files, and other records containing personally identifiable information are closed due to privacy restrictions.
- Boston College. Office of the President (Organization)
Language of Materials
Materials in this collection are primarily in English, with a small amount of material in French.
Restrictions on access
Collection is closed. Access with permission of office. Departmental records and faculty files containing student records, faculty tenure and promotion files, and other records containing personally identifiable information are closed due to privacy restrictions.
Restrictions on use
These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.
W. Seavey Joyce served as Boston College’s twenty-third president from 1968 to 1972, during a time of heightened social and political unrest, both within the college and throughout the United States.
Joyce was born in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston in 1913 and attended Boston College High School and Boston College, graduating in 1937. He was ordained at Weston College in 1943 and then attended Harvard University for a doctorate in economics, returning to Boston College as a professor of economics in 1949. Prior to his tenure as president, Joyce played a substantial role in the leadership of Boston College as Dean of the College of Business Administration from 1953 to 1966, Dean of the Graduate School of Management from 1963 to 1966, and Vice President of Community Relations from 1966 to 1968. During this period, he was also heavily involved in city-wide municipal and community groups. In 1954 he established the Boston College Citizens Seminars, which provided a forum to explore urban development issues; these seminars provided the initial impetus for the creation of both the Massachusetts Port Authority and Government Center. As head of the Boston Planning Council from 1963 to 1968, he was instrumental in pushing for the large-scale expansion of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
Joyce’s presidency coincided with an era of large-scale social change in the United States. As a result, his presidency saw a number of significant demographic changes take place at Boston College. These included the first year of campus-wide undergraduate co-education and the initiation of the Black Talent Program and the Black Studies Program. When Joyce took over as president in 1968, he inherited a budget deficit problem; prior to his tenure, the college’s operating deficit had been dealt with by the re-allocation of funds from a fund set aside for building expansion, but as Joyce began his presidency, this fund had run out. As a result of this deficit, tuition increases were inevitable. During Joyce’s first year as president he increased tuition by double the usual incremental step. Then, rather than wait the customary two years between tuition increases, he again increased tuition in the 1970-1971 year, and by an even larger amount. These increases (and those proposed for the following years) prompted the student government to call a strike, which began on April 13th, 1970. Negotiations between the faculty and the student government continued throughout April, as students occupied the president’s office in Botolph House. An agreement to end the strike was reached on May 5th, but at the same time another issue was sweeping the nation’s campuses: on May 4th students protesting the Vietnam War were killed at Kent State University and the National Association of Students called a nationwide strike. As the tuition strike ended at Boston College, an antiwar strike immediately began. Joyce himself supported the antiwar strike, and issued a public condemnation of the war that called on other universities to support the student strike.
While social unrest was a feature of Joyce’s presidency, so was the continued development of the University. As president, Joyce initiated the Social Action Committee, which became “Pulse,” a program that offered students academic accreditation for social action projects and involved them in issues such as public housing development, youth delinquency, and unemployment. Joyce also oversaw the expansion of graduate education at Boston College with the establishment of a number of doctoral programs, including the doctorate program in English.
In 1972, Joyce stepped down as president of Boston College and took a leave of absence to do work with the Chiswick Center, an educational organization, and to consult on community affairs with the Department of Commerce. He then returned to Boston College to teach economics in 1975, retiring in 1979. After his retirement from teaching, he served with two Michigan parishes. He died in 1988 at the Campion Center in Weston, Massachusetts.
Boston Globe, “W. Seavey Joyce, SJ,” May 22, 1988.
Driscoll, Edgar J, Jr. “Rev. W. Seavey Joyce, at 75; Former Boston College President,” Boston Globe, May 20, 1988.
Donovan, Charles F., S.J., Dunigan, David R., S.J., FitzGerald, Paul A., S.J., History of Boston College: From the Beginnings to 1990, (The University Press of Boston College: Chestnut Hill, MA, 1990).
10.5 Linear Feet (11 containers )
The W. Seavey Joyce, SJ, President’s Office records document Joyce’s tenure as twenty-third president of Boston College, 1968-1972. This collection consists largely of administrative records and contains building plans, committee records, correspondence, departmental records, development records, and faculty and subject files. Subject files contain personal materials, inaugural materials, and materials focusing on student and faculty relations with the administration. The collection also contains materials from Joyce’s previous positions as Dean of the College of Business Administration (1958-1966), later the School of Management, and Vice-President of Community Affairs (1966-1968).
Materials are arranged in seven series: I. Buildings; II. Committees; III. Correspondence; IV. Departmental records; V. Development; VI. Faculty; VII. Subject files. Series IV. Departmental records is furthered divided into nine subseries: A. College of Arts and Sciences; B. Evening School; C. School of Education; D. School of Management; E. School of Nursing; F. Summer Session. All series and subseries are in alphabetical order.
Because the current accessioning system was not used until January 1986, it is not possible to know exactly the dates of acquisition of materials received before that time.
Records belonging to the offices of other presidents were transferred to the appropriate collections unless they pertained to Joyce’s previous positions at Boston College. Subject files, development records, and departmental files compiled during Joyce’s presidency may contain documents dating earlier than his tenure.
- Duplicate invitations and programs, receipts and financial documents, newspaper clippings, resumes, insurance and investment papers, and duplicate reports.
- Boston College. Office of the President (Organization)
- W. Seavey Joyce, SJ, President's Office Records
- 1944-1974 (bulk 1968-1972)
- Xaviera Flores and Jessica Meyer
- September 2013
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository
John J. Burns Library
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States