Stonehill Celebrates Largest Gift by Naming Science Center after Donors Tom and Mary Shields
September 24, 2009


Mary and Tom Shields

At the Science Center dedication on Thursday, September 24, President Mark Cregan, C.S.C. '78 surprised more than 225 guests when he announced that the new building would be named in honor of longtime friends and benefactors, Tom and Mary Shields. Tom and Mary's gift of $7 million is the largest gift in Stonehill's 61-year history and it moves the College closer to its $55 million Attaining the Summit campaign goal, having now secured more than $48 million of that total.

"Tom and Mary are true and loyal friends. We wanted to thank them in a special way for their generosity. By dedicating our signature building, the Thomas F. and Mary J. Shields Science Center, in their honor, we have ensured that the Shields legacy at Stonehill is recognized at a high-profile location on campus, one that is a hub of activity for students and faculty. Given their dynamic support and all that they do for us, this is only fitting," said President Cregan. (To view a photo gallery of the event, click here.)

Tom and Mary's relationship with Stonehill dates back to the 1980s. One of their first initiatives was the creation of a scholarship program for pre-medical students from the Brockton area. Subsequently, they expanded the Shields Scholars program and, today on average, ten Stonehill students benefit from a Shields Scholarship every year.

"We are so touched that the College has recognized us like this because we feel part of the Stonehill community. Our friendships here are long-standing and every time we come to the campus, we are invigorated by the people and by what's happening at Stonehill," said Tom.

First elected as a Stonehill trustee in 1987, Tom became vice chair of the Board in 1991 and chair in 1994. As chair of the Board, Tom played a critical role in the success of the College's first capital campaign (1992-1997) which raised over $23 million.

In 1994, Tom received an honorary doctor of humanities degree and in 1998, Tom along with his wife Mary, were honored with the Moreau Medallion for their outstanding dedication and service to the College as it marked its 50th anniversary.

After retiring as chair of the Board in 2002, Tom remained involved with the College and now serves as a trustee emeritus. Tom and Mary visit Stonehill frequently to meet with student-recipients of the Shields Scholarship.

A healthcare pioneer, Tom is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of the Shields Health Care Group, Inc., a leader in medical imaging. Since 1972, when Tom and Mary opened Madalawn Nursing Home in Brockton, the Shields Health Care Group, now headquartered in Quincy, has grown to more than 28 facilities throughout New England.

Active on behalf of many community causes, Tom and Mary were the recipients of the first annual Trustee Founders Award for their support of Trinity Catholic Academy in Brockton. The award is now named in their honor.

In addition to his service as a trustee at Stonehill, Tom, who is a native of Weymouth, is also a former trustee at Brockton Hospital, St. Michael's College, Boston University Medical School and Boston College High School. In 2003, he received the Rev. Raymond J. Callahan, S.J. Service Award sponsored by the Nativity Preparatory School of Jamaica Plain. In 2004, the Shields family was honored by the Boys and Girls Club of Brockton for their outstanding dedication to the community.

Now residing in Boston and Marco Island, Florida, Tom and Mary were longtime residents of Brockton where Mary grew up. They are the parents of seven children, including two Stonehill graduates, William '84 and Thomas '92. Their daughter Carmel, who is the executive vice president of the Shields Health Care Group, currently serves on the Stonehill Board of Trustees.

At 89,630 square feet, the Science Center is the largest building on Stonehill's campus and houses the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Psychology. It features innovative laboratory spaces that allow the integration of lab and lecture in chemistry and biology labs. The Center also houses new state-of-the-art psychology research and teaching labs.

Science is a central component of the curriculum of liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs that Stonehill offers its students. The College is committed to providing a first-rate science education and to fostering interdisciplinary collaboration between the sciences and other disciplines so that its students can become educated citizens for the 21st century.

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