A Gonzaga Legacy: Dr. Regis L. Boyle
written by Danny Costello '72, V.P. for Advancement
Over the past half dozen years I became friends with Regis Boyle. I looked forward to visiting her in her cozy and immaculate Chevy Chase home, where, over cups of tea, I learned about her fascinating career as a teacher of journalism in local schools and colleges. I learned that the summer institute she established at Catholic University was so successful that she became a much sought nationwide consultant for journalism and was recognized in 1980 by the Wall Street Journal as the National Journalism Teacher of the Year. I learned, too, that Dr. Boyle had done much to serve the Catholic Church. She served as both the local and national chair of the Christ Child Society, a nonprofit volunteer organization serving the material, educational and emotional needs of at-risk children regardless of race or creed. Through her stewardship, she personally oversaw the sale of the property that would become White Flint Mall, the funds from which were used, in part, to establish the first counseling services in Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools, as well as a clothing fund for needy children. In 1990, she personally raised the funds necessary to establish a national headquarters in Washington, D.C. for the Christ Child Society, which now includes forty chapters nationwide. She also served to spearhead efforts for the beatification of the founder of the Christ Child Society, Mary Virginia Merrick, whom the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome has declared a Servant of God.
Regis Boyle was passionate about so many good causes — including Gonzaga.
She had invited me into her home on these occasions because she wanted to talk to me about preserving her brother’s memory at Gonzaga. Charles Boyle graduated from Gonzaga in 1935. (Regis graduated from Notre Dame Academy. She wouldn’t tell me in what year, but she did say that Charles was her younger brother.) He was, in Regis’ view, “everything that a Catholic man should be.” As is true with many families, a relationship between Gonzaga and the Boyles grew to include more than just the graduate himself. After Charles passed away, Regis continued to attend his class reunions in his place. She’d smile and the light would twinkle in her Irish eyes when recalling, “that nice Father Dooley always made me feel so welcome.” After all the stories and all the cups of tea, Regis finally decided what she was going to do. While planning her estate, she decided the time had come for her to establish the Charles W. and Florence N. Boyle Scholarship to provide the opportunity of a Gonzaga education for students who would otherwise be unable to attend the school. For her generosity to Gonzaga and her longstanding commitments to local education and the Catholic Church, Gonzaga awarded Dr. Boyle with the St. Aloysius Medal for service to school and community.
Dr. Regis Boyle passed away this past fall. I will miss our chats and the cups of strong Irish tea. I know she is proud of the legacy she has left here on Eye Street for her brother, Charles, his wife, Florence, and for herself. Gonzaga is forever grateful.
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