Thomas “Beezo” Brennan Foundation
I think that there are many ways in which I (and everyone else) benefited from the TMBMF. For instance, I found our first conversation over the phone to be comforting simply because it reassured me that people were out there that truly and selflessly wanted to make a difference in the lives of others.
After hearing Tom’s story told by his loved ones and having the absolute pleasure to spend time with his family each year, I benefited by adding light, positivity, and humility into my life. By getting to tell people that I am a recipient of the TMBMF I will always benefit by being able to feel like I am a part of something greater, and to share the honor and pride of telling people of Tom’s caring spirit and empathetic heart, and how he embodied the true spirit of (and the reason I came to) Boston College.
In addition to all of this, of course, I benefited from the extreme generosity of each and every person involved in the TMBMF which made a very real and tangible change in my college career, having downstream effects for years to come.
TMBMF was where I felt home away from home, my family in Boston. And this was not merely a feeling.
Finances posed a continuous issue to me and my family, and while I loved BC so deeply, I felt unable to participate in all of its wonderfully diverse opportunities. At the first TMBMF annual brunch I attended my freshman year, that changed completely. Jen, Pete, Rob and Bernie genuinely wanted to get to know us student scholars, and I felt an immediate personal warmth, friendship, and support. At the end of the brunch, Rob stood up and made clear to us that our scholarship was not a one-day-a-year event–TMBMF would be there for us in anything we needed, we just had to reach out.
This proved true throughout my time at BC: TMBMF went above and beyond the annual scholarship they already contributed towards my tuition. Working with BC’s Financial Aid office, TMBMF made it possible for me to study art and literature in Paris the summer after my sophomore year, a life-changing opportunity I could not have dreamed of otherwise. The following summer, TMBMF found a way to fund my attendance of and supplies for a 5-week geology summer field camp in Wyoming–a critical component of every undergraduate geology degree that had felt completely financially out of reach. Now in a PhD program in Geophysics at Harvard, I use the skills gained at field camp regularly in my research, and I always remember how TMBMF made this learning possible.
TMBMF showed me what it means to foster a community of people that care for each other. Basically, it was a very tangible representation of BC’s motto of “Men and Women For Others.” That gave me a sense of purpose and legacy. Jen, Rob, and Pete welcomed me with open arms into BC before I had met a single other person on campus, and it was quickly clear just how much those three and Tom are bonded by BC and the relationships formed during these four years. That stuck with me as I joined and created my own communities and hoped to continue that communal legacy.
TMBMF was one of the first things at Boston College that truly made me feel “at home”. I immediately knew I had a genuine support system that was striving alongside me to make my dreams a reality. The TMBMF not only relieved a significant financial burden, but helped me to feel empowered and confident as a first generation college student.
Keeping Tom’s memory and spirit alive
Making a difference for students in need
Helping scholars with networking
More important over time, giving scholars a sense of context, meaning and reality to an event (9/11) that may otherwise seem distant, abstract and just words in a history textbook