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Executive Committee



 Paul Spagnoli, President, Elected 2017

Paul was a member of the History Department from 1973 to 2013.  His teaching and research focused on modern Europe, emphasizing social and economic history and especially France since the Revolution of 1789.  He served two terms as department chair and was director of undergraduate studies for almost two decades.  At the university level he served several terms on the Athletics Advisory Board and spent six years as Faculty Athletics Representative and ex-officio chair of the Board.  He was a member of the Core Task Force of 1989-91 and served several terms on the University Core Development Committee that it produced.  He also served on the steering committees for BC’s last two self-study and reaccreditation efforts.   In 2015-16 He served on the grant review committee of the BCARF.  He and his wife Pam live in Chestnut Hill.  They have two grown children and one grandchild.


David Northrup, Treasurer,Elected 2018, Chair of the Research Seminar

Professor emeritus, Boston College Department of History. David earned a BS and MA at Fordham University and an MA and Ph.D. in African Studies from U.C.L.A. Between degrees there was teaching secondary school as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nigeria and as an instructor at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Fate brought him to BC in 1974, where he stayed for 38 years before retiring in 2012. His publications have concerned African, Atlantic, and world history. David is a past president of the World History Assn. Of late he has authored Africa’s Discovery of Europe, 1450-1850 (3rd ed., 2013) and How English Became the Global Language (2013); co-authored The Diary of Antera Duke: An Eighteenth-Century African Slave Trader (2010) and a college world history textbook, The Earth and its Peoples (5th ed., 2010); compiled and edited The Atlantic Slave Trade (3rd ed., 2011) and Crosscurrents in the Black Atlantic, 1770-1985 (2007); and contributed to the Oxford Handbook of the Atlantic World, c. 1450-1820 (2009) and the Oxford History of the British Empire (1988, 2004), the Cambridge World History (2015), the Cambridge World History of Slavery (2017), the Oxford Illustrated World History (forthcoming). A marriage now in its fifth decade has been rewarded with three grown children and growing numbers of grandchildren.


Alec Peck, Vice President, Elected 2018

Alec was a faculty member in LSOE for 40 years and also served in several administrative positions. He was Associate Dean for Graduate Studies for 6 years and later served for 3 years as Associate Dean for Faculty and Academics. He was also a Department Chair for 3 years and for 8 years served as university-wide Chair of the Academic Technology Advisory Board (ATAB). He co-edited a major journal in his field for 10 years and established and edited an on-line journal for 6 years. He was author or co-author of 2 books and 39 journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, or editorials, and co-editor of 4 additional books.  He now does pro-bono work assisting families of children with special needs in greater Boston and, after leading student groups to the Jamaica Mustard Seed orphanages for 15 years, he now does pro-bono consulting on behavior problems for that organization.  Alec enjoys living in Natick with his wife, Pat. They have 2 married sons and 5 grandchildren who live nearby.


Judith Wilt, Secretary, Re-elected 2017

Judith is originally from Pittsburgh, has her BA and PhD degrees in English from Duquesne University and Indiana University, and spent six years teaching at Princeton before coming to the BC English Department in 1979.  She worked her way through college on small newspapers, and served on one or another committee everywhere she worked: at BC she was founding Director of the Women’s Studies Program and Minor in the 1980’s, chair of her department for two terms in the 1990’s, and the president of the Interim Faculty Senate during the first years of the millennium in the unsuccessful effort to establish a permanent Faculty Senate.  Her teaching and research fields have been nineteenth century British fiction, women’s studies, religion and literature, and popular culture genres, and she has published six books of literary criticism in these fields, the latest of which is titled Women Writers and the Hero of Romance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).  Judith retired in 2011 and continues teaching one course a year, including a series of one-credit courses which she helped the English Department invent in 2013, with the aid of one of the first BCARF Faculty Enrichment Grants.


Loretta Higgins, Member-at-Large, Elected 2017

Loretta Higgins spent her entire academic life at Boston College beginning as an undergraduate in 1961 and retiring as associate dean for the undergraduate program in the School of Nursing and associate professor emerita. Her clinical and research areas were women's health and nursing history. She has co-authored a number of books and articles on women's health and nursing leaders. In addition, she was   a member of the research team of a federally-funded study on partner violence in pregnancy. She chaired the School of Nursing Committee that planned and implemented the successful Master's Entry into Nursing Program. She has traveled extensively for work and pleasure to Sri Lanka, Thailand, Botswana, Australia, Europe including the Baltic  countries and Cuba. The B.C. tradition continued with her two daughters graduating from B.C. and continues at present with her two grandsons who are B.C. students.


Dennis Sardella, Member at Large, Elected 2018

Dennis joined the faculty in September 1967 as Assistant Professor of Chemistry and remained a member of the faculty until 2012, rising to the rank of Professor.  His research involved the application of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and quantum mechanics to the study of molecular structure.  In 1990 he became the founding director of the Boston College Presidential Scholars Program, which he directed until 2010. For 17 years he and his wife led groups of Boston College Presidential Scholars on month-long study trips to France, and they have continued to travel extensively throughout Western Europe.  Since his retirement in 2012, he has been a docent at the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, where he leads gallery tours and introduces visitors to the world of Russian icons. He also writes and speaks regularly to area groups on the topics of religious icons and the role they play in eastern Christian spirituality.


Fr. Joe Duffy, S.J. Liaison to the Office of the Provost

University and Jesuit Community Liaison.

Entered the Jesuits in 1944 after graduating from Boston College High School. Holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in philosophy from Boston College; a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Weston College; and a Master’s and Doctor’s degree from Fordham University.  Before coming to Boston College , he served as Assistant Principal and Principal of Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine; as Guidance Counselor and Principal at Boston College High School; and as Superintendent of Schools in the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire.  Fr. Duffy came to Boston College in 1975 as a member of the School of Education’s Department of Educational Administration.  During his years in the School of Education he also served as Director of Secondary Education of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus; as Rector of the Jesuit Community and on the University’ Board of Trustees.  In 1988 he began a 20 year appointment as Secretary of the University before assuming his current position as Special Assistant to the President.  Over the years he has been a member of numerous boards, committees, and commissions in Jesuit, Catholic and public education.  Noteworthy among these were as a member of the Board of Education of the Archdiocese of Boston; as a member of the Commission on Independent Schools, New England Association of Schools and Colleges; and for twenty-five years as President of the Board of Directors, St. Thomas More School, Oakdale, Connecticut.


Dennis Taylor, Immediate Past President

Professor emeritus of English at Boston College, former chairman of the English department, and emeritus editor of the journal, Religion and the Arts. His books include Hardy's Poetry 1860-1928 (London, 1981, 1989), Hardy's Metres and Victorian Prosody (Oxford, 1988), Hardy’s Literary Language and Victorian Philology (Oxford, 1993). and Jude the Obscure (ed.) (Penguin 1998). He has also published articles on Wallace Stevens, the OED, Wordsworth, Thomas Gray, Joyce and the "confidence man".   He has lectured and published on spiritual autobiography. His current work on Shakespeare and the Reformation, and Wordsworth and Catholic Remnants, are parts of a larger study of Protestant/Catholic/Secular relations in English literature. He has edited a collection of essays, Shakespeare and the Culture of Christianity of Early Modern England (Fordham University Press, 2003). He lives with his wife, Mary, in Concord (since 1971); and his four children have all graduated from the Concord schools and from Boston College. Dennis served as BCARF President from 2015-2017.