In Memory of a Genius

Archival photo of USD alumnus, top administrator of trustee John "Jack" Boyce '85 (JD)


John “Jack” Boyce ’85 (JD) served as the University of San Diego’s Vice President for Financial Affairs — overseeing the physical plant, human resources, the bookstore, the mail center, accounting, administrative data processing and public safety — from 1975 to 1992. Following his retirement, Jack then served on USD’s Board of Trustees from 1995 to 2006. 

He passed away peacefully on May 28, 2021, at his home in Carlsbad at the age of 94.

Born in Philadelphia, Jack’s youth was spent in Bayside, New York. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and subsequently attended Manhattan College, earning an electrical engineering degree ]. He
began his career as a project manager for Hazeltine Corp., in New York, and Kearfott System/Singer General Precision, in New Jersey, before moving his family to Solana Beach in 1968. 

Along with two partners, Jack developed the Lomas Santa Fe community in Solana Beach. He founded the Rancho Santa Fe Thrift Association and was a pioneer in developing cable television when he started North County Cable. He had just sold the cable company when he was approached by USD President Author E. Hughes in 1975. 

Hughes needed someone with construction experience and financial knowledge. Jack had both. 

Jack was credited with financing the design and construction of the Hahn University Center, Olin Hall, Manchester Executive Conference Center, the original Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science building, Copley Library, Loma Hall, the Mission Crossroads Housing Complex, the Alcalá Vista Housing Complex and the soccer field.

He also made possible countless improvements, including masterminding USD’s employee’s benefits program; establishing the Staff Employees Association; creating the campus tram system and purchasing trams; ; upgrading the campus computer system; automating Copley Library, the Legal Research Center and the media center; expanding the print shop, bookstore and mail center; building a cogeneration plant, which saved the university thousands of dollars each year in utility costs; and buying a bus for the baseball team, to name just a few. 

Jack and his wife of 71 years, Marguerite, endowed four four-year undergraduate scholarships and contributed to the Choral Scholars program. In 1989, he received USD’s Administrator of the Year award.

At the end of his 17-year tenure as USD’s vice president for financial affairs, Provost Sister Sally Furay called Jack a genius, saying that although she and then-President Author E. Hughes received much of the credit for the physical beauty, financial stability and growth of the campus it was only made possible because of Jack. 

Jack’s wife, his seven children, their spouses, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren were his greatest loves. He is survived by his wife, Marguerite; sister, Mary Boyce, a member of the Maryknoll Sisters; his seven children; eight grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.   

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