Donovan Dean welcomed

Stanton E. F. Wortham was formally introduced as the first Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean of the Lynch School of Education at a ceremony held October 24 in the Cadigan Alumni Center.

Stanton Wortham, the first Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean of the Lynch School of Education, with BC Trustee Susan Martinelli Shea ’76, whose gift established the deanship. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
Stanton Wortham, the first Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean of the Lynch School of Education, with BC Trustee Susan Martinelli Shea ’76, whose gift established the deanship. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

A noted scholar whose research interests include classroom discourse and the linguistic anthropology of education, Wortham became Lynch School dean in July of 2016 after 18 years as a faculty member and senior administrator at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Established in 2011 through a gift from Susan Martinelli Shea ’76, P’04, the Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Deanship is named in honor of the founding dean of the BC School of Education, a 1933 alumnus who served as the dean from 1952-65, and also held senior leadership positions including academic vice president, senior vice president, and University historian.

Shea, who spoke at Tuesday’s ceremony, is a Boston College trustee who serves as the board’s secretary and chairs its Mission and Character Committee. She is president and founder of Dancing with the Students, a non-profit organization which brings ballroom dancing to Philadelphia-area schools with a goal of fostering positive self-esteem, manners and respect for others, in an atmosphere of confidence and fun.

“I am thrilled to honor the legacy of Fr. Donovan by naming the deanship of the Lynch School of Education for him,” said Shea. “As founding dean, he established a platform for educational learning that would grow with each remarkable dean to the incredible institution it is today under Stanton Wortham’s leadership. The Lynch School gave me the tools to teach students with learning differences in five states, urban, suburban and rural settings. I will be forever grateful for the rest of my life for the gift of Boston College.”

Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley also offered remarks at the ceremony. “We are very grateful to Sue for her philanthropic leadership, and long-term commitment to Boston College. By endowing this position, Sue has provided transformative resources to the Lynch School of Education, and re-affirmed it as an essential element of Boston College.  She has helped the University flourish, and her impact will endure for generations to come.”

Charles Donovan, S.J.
The Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Deanship is named in honor of the founding dean of the BC School of Education, a 1933 alumnus who served as dean from 1952-65. Prior to his death in 1998 at age 86, Fr. Donovan (shown here with his golden retriever, Brandy) also held senior leadership positions including academic vice president, senior vice president, and University historian.

“The deanship has given me the opportunity to return to Boston, to tackle a new challenge, and to join a university on a strong upward trajectory,” said Wortham. “We’ve already made significant progress toward the articulation and practice of our distinctive vision of education, one that involves enhancing the human condition, expanding the imagination, and making the world more just.

“Furthermore, we have re-asserted our approach to education that reinforces formation – the guided development of the whole person toward a life of meaning and purpose.  When we focus on developing and understanding students as whole people, we help facilitate their success not only as intellectual and civic beings, but as emotional, social, ethical and spiritual beings. 

“We’re a place that thinks differently about education, in that we think about it as encompassing the many dimensions of people’s lives,” said Wortham.   

At Penn, Wortham was the Judy and Howard Berkowitz Professor of Education and held a number of leadership positions within Penn’s Graduate School of Education, most recently as associate dean for academic affairs.

A West Roxbury, Mass., native who studied at Roxbury Latin School, Wortham is the author or editor of nine books and more than 90 articles and chapters on a range of topics including linguistic anthropology, discourse analysis, “learning identity” – how social identification and academic learning interconnect – and education in the New Latino Diaspora. 

For the last 10 years, Wortham has studied the experiences of Mexican immigrant students both in and outside of school as they adjust to lives in communities with largely non-Latino populations. As part of that project, he was the executive producer of the award-winning 2014 documentary “Adelante,” which chronicles how a Mexican immigrant and Irish-American community are revitalizing a once-struggling parish. Wortham is currently writing a book based on his research in the town.

-Phil Gloudemans / University Communications