Boston College has announced that world-renowned singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen will be the next keynote speaker at the First Year Academic Convocation in a statement released by University Spokesman Jack Dunn on Thursday.
Scheduled to address the incoming Class of 2024 on September 10, Springsteen will join former President (at the time Senator) Barack Obama (2005), and the late Senator John McCain (2006) among the ranks of BC convocation speakers since the program began in 2004.
Praised by Dunn as, “the greatest songwriter of his generation,” Springsteen, affectionately known as “The Boss,” rose from humble roots in Freehold, New Jersey to international stardom in the 70s, gaining a reputation as the everyman’s bard, with his lyrics speaking to the promises and failures of the American Dream.
Over the course of his five-decade career, Springsteen has been awarded with 20 Grammys, as well as an Oscar and a Special Tony. Springsteen was also honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2016.
While having a guest of Springsteen’s renown may seem unexpected, his ties to BC run deeper than many realize. Springsteen’s son, Evan, graduated from BC back in 2012.
Since his son’s graduation, Springsteen has been an active alumni parent, hosting a surprise benefit concert this past fall at the historic Stone Pony concert venue in Asbury Park, New Jersey, with proceeds going to support BC’s financial aid program.
Owing to this connection, Springsteen's appearance at Boston College will be his, “first and only college visit,” according to BC’s statement.
In anticipation of Springsteen's address, a digital copy of his 2016 autobiography Born to Run will be distributed to the incoming freshmen.
Lauded by Dunn as, “an intimate portrait of the inner struggles and triumphs of one of America’s most beloved musical icons,” Springsteen’s memoir was published to critical acclaim, and formed the basis of his Tony-Award winning Broadway show, Springsteen on Broadway.
Mike Sacco, Executive Director of Student Formation, drawing parallels between Springsteen and the Jesuit values of BC, said that “We have long understood from the Jesuits about the importance of engaging students in a conversation that encourages their growth intellectually, socially, and spiritually... Through his songs, Bruce Springsteen has long been such a conversation partner to his audience, masterfully portraying the American experience through lyrics that inspire reflection about our world, our families, our jobs, our struggles, and our relationships.”
However, despite the excitement that this announcement will obviously generate, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic casts a shadow on the event. With colleges and universities across the country still waiting to determine whether they will be able to re-open in time for the fall semester, Springsteen’s September 10 appearance is subject to some uncertainty.
Nevertheless, regardless of how the situation plays out, the introspective stories and lessons that Springsteen writes in his book will surely impart some wisdom on the incoming class of students in these trying times.