May 27, 2016 — This week marks the end of an era for Fred Vautour, janitor at Boston College, who sent all five of his children to the university tuition-free as a benefit of his graveyard-shift work. His youngest daughter, Alicia, received her diploma on May 23, ending an 18-year period of Vautour children attending the school.
“To have all five come through is a dream come true,” said Vautour, who began working at Boston College in 1994. “I never would have believed it. It’s kind of sad because when I started I said I have 18 years of my kids going to college and hopefully they’ll all come here. And now it’s over.” Ever since his first daughter Amy enrolled at BC in 1998, there has always been a Vautour student in attendance.
Dean Susan Gennaro looks on as BC custodian Fred Vautour presents a diploma to his daughter Alicia, the fifth and final one of his children to graduate from the university. (Photo: Lee Pellegrini)
“I think Boston College was always something that we dreamed of but didn’t think we could actually go because we couldn’t afford it,” said Amy Vautour Carney, who graduated from the Lynch School of Education and now works as a fundraiser. “Being a first-generation college student, this whole experience was new for all of us, especially me. To be able to be the first one and have so many follow after is pretty amazing.”
Next was John, who graduated in 2004 from the Carroll School of Management. “We can’t even think of ways to begin to repay him for his service to us and his loyalty and love to us,” said John Vautour, now a software quality manager.
His brother Michael, a 2009 graduate, agreed. “It was great knowing my dad was here,” he said. “Every now and then, I would stop by on a Thursday night and hang out with him while he was working.”
Tom Vautour, a member of the class of 2011, now works as an IT consultant. “We’re so grateful for what our father has done and been through to support his children. He lives for us — that’s his motto.”
While Fred Vautour’s employment opened the door to opportunities for the family, his wife Debbie was always by his side and there for the children. "Fred and I never got to go to college so we’re living through them,” she said. “Their highs are our highs, and we’re with them every step of the way. I can’t tell you how big my heart is right now. To see the last one cross the stage is just amazing. I can’t tell you how happy I am.”
Members of the Vautour family at Alicia's commencement. L-R: Michael '09, John '04, their mother Debbie, Alicia '16, father Fred, Amy '02 and Tom '11. (Photo: Lee Pellegrini)
"I think my parents are the prime example of men and women for others, Jesuit idealism," said Alicia Vautour, who graduated with a degree from the Connell School of Nursing and will sit for her nursing boards this summer. “What he’s done for all of us is what BC is all about. … I fully appreciated it and from there just tried to push myself even harder to do well in school.” [Sources: Boston College, CBS News, Fox News]