Remembering Frank Campanella

Published: February 2011

For 25 of the last 40 years, Frank Campanella (1936–2011) served as executive vice president of Boston College, responsible for operational, fiscal, and capital planning, and for information technology. He took the job during the hard financial times of the early 1970s, when observers thought the University might go under. He held it as Boston College gained sound fiscal footing and expanded with new academic offerings, a billion-dollar endowment, and new facilities, thanks in great part to strategies—financial, budgetary, even demographic—in which he was instrumental.

Construction of the Merkert Chemistry Center, O’Neill Library, Conte Forum, Robsham Theater, the law library, the residence halls along Commonwealth Avenue, all occurred on Campanella’s watch, as did an ambitious renovation of Higgins Hall for the biology and physics departments. In the intervals when Campanella was not the University’s EVP—three years at the beginning of the seventies, two years in the nineties, and from 2001 onward—he taught finance to students in the Carroll School of Management. After Boston College gave the name Campanella Way to the road that bisects Lower Campus, his students referred to him as the Campanella.

“Frank was a planner; he had that gene,” says University President William P. Leahy, SJ. “He brought fiscal discipline and long-range planning to this institution,” Leahy recalls, “in a very human way. He cared about people. . . . He was organized, but he always understood there were human beings involved.”

Francis B. Campanella was born in Boston. He graduated from Boston College High School, studied engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on an ROTC scholarship, and served three years as an officer in the Marine Corps. He held a doctorate in business from Harvard University, and spent time in the construction industry before entering academe.

He died on January 14, 2011, leaving three daughters and three grandchildren.

Heard in the audio slideshow are (in order): J. Donald Monan, SJ, president of Boston College, 1972–96, now chancellor • Patricia DeLeeuw, faculty member (theology) since 1979, now vice provost for faculties • Judy Kissane, who worked for 33 years in the office of the EVP • Jack Neuhauser, former dean of the Carroll School and former academic vice president, now president of St. Michael’s College (Vermont) • Joseph Comerford, a boyhood friend who joined Boston College in 1999 as assistant to the vice president for facilities management.

This feature was posted on Friday, February 18, 2011 and is filed under Audio Slideshows.
Producer: Miles Benson; Audio Production: Paul Dagnello.