Distinguished Alumni Award winner Chris Kreider and Woods College Dean James Burns, I.V.D.
Photos by Justin Knight
Two years ago, a New York Times headline characterized New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider as a player with “his nose to the scholarly grindstone.” The former Boston College hockey standout—a two-time national champion during his time with the Eagles and a first-round NHL draft pick in 2009—had signed with the Rangers in 2012, three days after his second NCAA title and six courses shy of attaining his BC degree. Undaunted, the Boxford, Mass. native—who also is an avid reader, plays guitar, and speaks several languages—continued his studies off-season and online, and graduated from the University in 2016.
This month, Kreider returned to Boston College to receive the Woods College of Advancing Studies Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes a noted graduate of the school who embodies the Jesuit ideal of “men and women for others.”
In addition to his athletics achievements, Kreider—whom BC hockey head coach Jerry York calls “the epitome of a BC student-athlete”--regularly participates in service and charitable activities, including those in support of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, which works with the Madison Square Garden Company and MSG Networks, Inc., as well as 30 partner organizations, to help children who are facing challenges such as homelessness, extreme poverty, illness, and foster care.
He also has inspired others to continue their education, including former BC forward Miles Wood, who was tapped by the New Jersey Devils following his freshman year and has since followed Kreider’s example and enrolled in the Woods College. “When I left, I knew that I wanted to be like Chris, living out my dream of playing hockey but at the same time pursuing my goal of getting my degree at BC,” said Wood.
Kreider received the award on April 17 at the Woods College’s annual celebratory dinner for members of the graduating class, their families, and friends. The event’s awards program recognizes both students and alumni of the school, which is dedicated to providing rigorous, flexible, ethics-focused academic programs for non-traditional students.
“This is always a proud, gratifying night,” said Woods College Dean James Burns, I.V.D. “Students come to the Woods College from a wide range of professional and personal circumstances. Some must balance their studies with multiple work or family commitments. Others have faced obstacles that prevented them from believing they could attend Boston College. Some are new to this country. But they all share the desire to advance their education and their lives.
“Tonight, we applaud the hard work, tenacity, and achievement of our graduating class, as well as recognize our student and alumni honorees, each of whom demonstrates Boston College’s Jesuit education ideal of men and women for others in service to the greater good,” Fr. Burns said.
This year’s Richard Lombard Award, the school’s highest undergraduate honor, went to Haeseong Shin, a native of South Korea who moved to the U.S. when he was twelve. He began his studies at the Woods College focused on economics, but soon found himself drawn to major in philosophy. Now a member of the Jesuit honor society Alpha Sigma Nu, he was accepted to several graduate schools and will join the Ph.D. program in philosophy at the University of Missouri in the fall.
Martin Peter Keogh, a student in the M.S. in Cybersecurity Policy & Governance program, received the Woods College’s highest graduate student honor.
Keogh, an alumnus of the U.S. Naval Academy, was commissioned in the Marine Corps and has served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He plans to pursue a career in the cybersecurity field, and is currently deciding among several opportunities.
Other alumni honored for service to their communities and to the Woods College include Richard M. Reilly M.S.’03, P’19, a former senior vice president of the American Arbitration Association and longtime member and past-president of the Woods College Alumni Council, and Lisa Hassan ’97, whose Compass Medical team provides compassionate care for radiology patients, and who is a former chair of the school’s alumni executive board.
This year’s guest speaker was Brian J. Kelly, co-founder of and principal at Eastern Real Estate LLC, a leading commercial real estate investment, development, and asset management firm, as well as a member of the Boston College Board of Regents and the Woods College Advisory Board.
Kelly, whose oldest child has autism, has a longstanding commitment to supporting autism-related causes and is chairman of the national advocacy nonprofit Autism Speaks.
— Patricia Delaney, University Communications, and BC Athletics | April 2018