Skip to main content

Francis W. Sweeney

virtual exhibit fall 2004 - burns library

Guests and Friends: Rev. Francis W. Sweeney, S.J. and His Contributions to Cultural Life at Boston College


April 25, 2002 was a somber day for Boston College as word spread across campus that Rev. Francis W. Sweeney, S.J. had passed away at the age of eighty-six after a half-century of service to the University. Francis Sweeney was a beloved member of the Jesuit Community, a popular faculty member in the English Department and a faculty advisor to the Stylus, a student literary magazine guided by Sweeney for forty-seven years. Sweeney's enduring legacy is twofold. He will be remembered both as an inspiring teacher mentoring many Boston College student-writers over the course of five decades and as the founder of the Humanities Series (now the Lowell Humanities Series), the well-respected lecture series that continues to this day. This exhibit considers both Sweeney's role as the founder of the Humanities Series and the importance of the lecture series to Boston College. Father Sweeney is pictured here on the telephone.

Photo credit: Humanities Series - Director's Files, Burns Library, Boston College.

In the years prior to Humanities Series, Boston College had invited many influential scholars, writers and artists to visit the university and give lectures in various topics. Sweeney, himself, had invited speakers to give talks under the auspices of the student literary magazine the Stylus . The Humanities Series provided an annual program to ensure that such events occurred on a regular basis. Besides the sheer enjoyment of listening to great creative and academic minds, the purpose of the Humanities Series was to enrich cultural life on campus, and to have the world's greatest creative minds interact with students and faculty members. Over the years, thanks to the efforts of Father Sweeney and the Humanities Series, Boston College has been exposed to an amazing range of talent, including twenty-two of the Library of Congress's Poet Laureate Consultants and four Nobel Prize winners in literature. The Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Katherine Anne Porter is pictured here in a conversation with Boston College students following her March 1, 1962 Humanities Series Lecture.

Photo credit: Humanities Series - Director's Files, Burns Library, Boston College.

Introduction | Background | Predecessor | Friends | Guests | Related | Conclusion

Next ยป