Big man on campus

Published: June 2008


While he was a graduate of John Carroll University, a sister Jesuit institution in Cleveland and a short drive along Lake Erie from his beloved hometown of Buffalo, Tim Russert became part of what we call the Boston College community when his son, Luke, enrolled in September 2004. Parents who are public figures are not unheard of at Boston College, but they mostly move discreetly from airport to hired car to campus to hotel and then back to airport. Mr. Russert, however, like an eager freshman, took advantage of every opportunity to engage with the University, flying up for football games, sitting through a public interview with the editor of the student newspaper on a sweltering evening in the Shea Room, flipping a BC cap onto his head on Meet the Press, and lending his capacious drawing power and journalistic abilities to public forums sponsored by the Church in the 21st Century Center. Whether in the stadium or on the Dustbowl, he moved through Boston College with the confidence of an old boy, endlessly proud, cheerful, and at ease. “Today I’m here as a dad,” he begged off on May 19, 2008, when a reporter approached Russert at Luke’s graduation ceremony to ask for a comment on Senator Ted Kennedy’s illness. “BC lost a friend,” a senior administrator emailed me from his BlackBerry soon after the news of Russert’s death was announced on the Friday afternoon of June 13. The sentiment was widespread. On Monday morning, I arrived at the office to find that a young alumnus in Washington, D.C., had emailed me photographs of the floral tributes piled on the street in front of the NBC studios, as though thinking we, too, might want to bank them against our front gate.

Ben Birnbaum
Executive Producer, @BC
Editor, Boston College Magazine

The links below are to selected stories, photographs, and videos from Mr. Russert’s five years of association with Boston College.

This feature was posted on Friday, June 27, 2008 and is filed under Research.
Photograph: Rose Lincoln