The spirit of generosity that is a hallmark of BC Law School was celebrated April 5 at the 13th annual scholarship dinner for donors and recipients at Boston’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Dean Vincent Rougeau began his introductory welcome with Will Allen Dromgoole’s poem “The Bridge Builder” to illustrate a point about the Law School community. “Today, we celebrate both those who build the bridges and those who are beginning their journey across them,” Rougeau said. “The poet speaks of a ‘chasm vast and deep and wide.’ That chasm can mean different things to different people. For many it is the high cost of legal education. …Through your generosity you are giving these very students who sit with us tonight the opportunity to cross that chasm.”
Nearly 100 guests attended the event, which included remarks by donor John Montgomery ’75 and student Kristen Beale ’18.
Recognizing that those in the room “are privileged to be here and blessed by fortuities that brought us here,” Montgomery struck upon a theme well known to the BC Law community, that of giving back by ensuring that coming generations of students are imbued with the same values and have the same opportunities. “It’s important to our country,” said the namesake of the Montgomery Family Endowed Scholarship Fund. “The credibility of our institutions are being threatened. The rule of law is being tested and the search for truth discredited. The role of the lawyer is as important as it’s ever been.”
Beale, the Rita Q. Tobin and Robert T. Tobin Scholar, then stepped to the lectern, and in an instant became the personification of the values and promise of which Montgomery had spoken. “I’d like to share with you how scholarships have the ability to impact someone’s life in a way that enables them to achieve what they never thought possible,” she said. Raised by a single mother in low-income household, Beale took on many responsibilities for her younger siblings while her mother worked 15-hour night shifts six, often seven nights a week. She herself would often do homework into the night after putting the children to bed then rise at dawn to light the woodstove and ready the kids for school. Going to college never occurred to her until a favorite math teacher, her mother, and grandmother helped her put together a single application to a local college.
“I can tell you that the most cherished memory in life thus far is the moment I told my grandmother that the single application had worked and I was going to college,” Beale said. She recalled the hug that followed and her grandmother saying: “Krissy, you come from a long line of strong, independent, fierce women but let me tell you something. You can do anything, but don’t you ever be too proud to ask for help, to accept love and help from those around you, and to take every, single opportunity you can get which allows you to thrive.”
Beale looked around the ballroom full of people who had offered that very kind of help to her and others through scholarships. “So, here we are,” she said. “I’m standing here tonight with a double major BA in biology and chemistry, a PhD in molecular biology, and soon (hopefully) a JD with a focus on intellectual property and patent prosecution. But my grandmother was…right. I could never have done this alone.”