David Shapiro, President and CEO, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
March 20th, 2017
Posted In: Uncategorized
Over the weekend, I was deeply saddened as I learned of Rev. J. Donald Monan, S.J.’s passing. As the longest serving president and first chancellor of Boston College, Fr. Monan was also a co-founder of Greater Boston One to One, which would later become Mass Mentoring Partnership – one of MENTOR’s longest-running affiliates.
As I spoke with several of MENTOR’s board members, who knew him well from both his work as a board member emeritus and in the community, they spoke powerfully and passionately about Father’s role as a mentor, inspiration, preeminent influence and consistent guide. There were no words to accurately convey his leadership in higher education the mentoring movement, the civic, political, and business life of Massachusetts, and in faith. He personified the Jesuit tradition of servant leadership.
At Mass Mentoring’s recent gala honoring Fr. Monan as one of their founding “Pillars of Mentoring,” all 3 CEO’s in the organization’s history reflected on his impact: his belief that none of the challenges facing America in fully educating our young people can be addressed without first approaching the needs of all young people for sufficient love and guidance from caring adults. It was here that I recounted the story of first meeting Father:
I travelled nervously to BC for a job interview as Mass Mentoring Partnership’s CEO. It was snowing and I wasn’t sure where I was going. I was also wondering whether a Jewish kid was supposed to address a priest as “Father.” I pulled over to ask a facilities staff member operating a snow plow where to park for Baptist Library. He stopped in his tracks and said, “Are you going to meet Father Monan?” To which I replied yes. He looked me in the eyes and said, “You are lucky to get time with him. He is a great man.” This only added to my nerves, but they melted away as I was greeted by the slight Father Monan with the same calm, determined, and thoughtful presence he greeted everyone. It was the beginning of a transformative 13-year relationship. I am better for having known Father Monan, as are so many from every station and generation. His legacy is immeasurable in making our world a better place but his approach was never about building a legacy, it was about serving all in the teachings of his faith with unparalleled leadership skills. He was a giant of a man.
Please join with us in mourning Fr. Monan’s passing, but also in celebrating the unparalleled legacy he leaves to his family and community, each organization he touched, and the lives of so many young people to whom he devoted his life. His legacy lives on in everyone working to close the mentoring gap in America.