You Had to Be There

 Bill McDonald ’68 has a lifetime of BC stories to tell; pull up a chair, you don’t want to miss one.

Bill McDonald '68
Bill McDonald ’68

Name a key Boston College moment of the past half-century and Bill McDonald ’68 likely has a yarn to spin about it. 

Working alongside Bob Ryan in the sports room of The Heights (“I taught him everything he knows,” Bill jokes). 

Being “invited” upon graduation from Boston College to join the armed forces (a.k.a. drafted to serve in Vietnam) and having to tell his graduate school he was “going to take a little break.” 

Holding his arms like goalposts above his head as he watched the Flutie pass on a corner TV during an alumni chapter meeting.

Attending the first joint BC and Notre Dame game watch in San Diego for the 1983 Liberty Bowl (it was also the last, rather predictably).

Over the course of his time as a BC student, two stints as a BC staff member (totaling 19 years), and his many years as a pillar of the San Diego Chapter of the BCAA, McDonald has been nothing if not an Eagle through and through. 

As a student, he experienced the Heights at an especially tumultuous time in American history—in the midst of the Civil Rights movement, with the war in Vietnam escalating and the MLK and RFK assassinations happening in his last semester—and he recalls a protest of one kind or another taking place on campus practically every day. McDonald remembers an alumnus and close colleague at BC always said, “the Class of ’63 was the last docile class.”

When offered the position of publications editor in BC’s Public Relations office, McDonald says the decision to join was “a no-brainer.” Helming Boston College Magazine as its founding editor, Bill had a clear vision for the publication from the start. “We wanted to stimulate thought, engage people with content that wasn’t pablum, and help readers celebrate their connection to BC.”

Since leaving BC and moving to San Diego, McDonald has been a mainstay of the Southern California BC alumni community, helping build bonds among West Coast Eagles. Having organized and attended countless events, from game watches and zoo trips to hikes and service projects, he relishes working alongside and spending time with younger alumni. “Having that connection with new generations is something really great that BCAA involvement gives me,” he notes.

Asked what’s kept him so close to the University over the years, his answer is simple: “the people. I just made so many friends there—as a student, as an employee, as an alum. You form personal relationships and those relationships have stood the test of time.
“Now, I meet new people, engage in fun and often important work, and stay connected to a place I love—all to the good.”

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