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Remembering Our Colleagues

This section of the website is dedicated to those of our colleagues who have paved the way for all that Boston College has become.  Consider it to be something of a Faculty Hall of Fame.

Occasionally, we will include members of the BC staff who have had a particularly strong impact on our faculty.

While sometimes the profiles here are in the form of an obituary, the intent is to celebrate and give recognition to those who made so many contributions to BC.

Of course, anyone should feel free to contribute testimonials about a colleague.

In some small way, perhaps this will expand and grow to become a "web immortal" archive of all that is great about Boston College.


Horace Seldon

Mr. Seldon died at his home in Wakefield, Mass., on Aug. 17. He was 93.

A native of Haverhill, Mr. Seldon was the founder and longtime executive director of Community Change Inc., a non-profit group that seeks to address racial issues through a variety of community activities, and which became one of the community service field placements for BC’s PULSE Program. 

In 1980, Mr. Seldon expanded his BC association when he began teaching History and Development of Racism in the USA through the Philosophy Department, through which he helped undergraduates explore the formation of American racial attitudes, as well as methods used to combat racism throughout U.S. history.

“As a society, we need to try and understand this complexity,” he said in a 2003 interview with Chronicle. “And that is even more important for young people who have never witnessed or experienced racism, or who doubt its very existence.” 

Carroll School of Management Associate Dean Richard Keeley – who as director of PULSE at the time invited Mr. Seldon to teach at BC – remarked to Chronicle on the course’s popularity: “Students constantly talk about how valuable the course has been as a forum for discussing race in America. Horace lays out the background and invites people into the discussion without making them feel as if they’ve been put on the spot.”

Mr. Seldon said the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. had spurred him to fight racism, and led him to form CCI. Under his direction, the organization provided civil rights leadership development and internship programs, sponsored forums, conferences and other events – including performances of “The Man Nobody Saw,” a play about institutionalized racism – and honored Greater Boston residents’ anti-racism efforts with a series of award ceremonies. In 1998, President Clinton recognized CCI as among 300 “promising practices” for improving race relations in the US. 

Speaking with Chronicle, Mr. Seldon said that despite the gains he’d witnessed, total victory against racism was unlikely – which for him made the struggle all the more important.

“The permanence of racism doesn’t mean you give up, any more than you give up if you’re an alcoholic trying to quit drinking. To simply despair is no longer possible, so even as you live with racism, you shake your fist at it and fight it.”

Mr. Seldon added that talking with his students was therapeutic. “The quality of students in my class has, over the years, gotten better and better. I find myself stimulated and energized by their questions and comments, their struggles with the issues and their willingness to be open.”

The University chose Mr. Seldon as the namesake for one of its Advanced Study Grants, which support research and other projects by undergraduates who display scholarly initiative and imagination. Among the projects funded by the Horace Seldon grant have been research on anti-Semitism on college campuses, a study on criminal defense investigation for indigent clients, and development of a self-sustaining educational program for at-risk young mothers.

Mr. Seldon, a graduate of Amherst College and the Andover Newton Theological School, was an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.

He is survived by his sons, David and Gary, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. 

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Richard Cobb-Stevens

Professor Emeritus Richard Cobb-Stevens, a widely praised phenomenology scholar who chaired the Philosophy Department for nine years and played a leadership role in the revision of Boston College’s core curriculum during the early 1990s, died on July 6. He was 83.

Dr. Cobb-Stevens spent nearly four decades on the faculty, but his ties to the University pre-dated his 1971 appointment as an assistant professor of philosophy: He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1958 and his master’s degree a year later from BC as part of his training for the Society of Jesus. Although he would later leave the order, Dr. Cobb-Stevens acquired a solid academic and formational background well-suited to teach philosophy at a university steeped in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition.

Also foundational were his studies at the College St. Albert du Louvain in Belgium, where he received his licentiate in theology in 1966, and as a doctoral student at the University of Paris, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1971. During his years in Paris, he was witness to the historic 1968 student unrest, met Jean-Paul Sartre, and spent summers as a relief chaplain at a parish drop-in center and a U.S. Air Force base in Germany.

His work in phenomenological philosophy, analytic philosophy, and the history of philosophy helped inspire generations of philosophers involved in those fields of research. Foremost among his writings were his books James and Husserl: The Foundations of Meaning—a study in contrasts of phenomenology founder Edmund Husserl and pragmatist/functionalist William James—and Husserl and Analytic Philosophy, which traced the break between phenomenology and analytic philosophy, two key philosophic movements of the 20th century.

In a 1990 interview with the Boston College Biweekly, Dr. Cobb-Stevens said that, while he believed Husserl’s phenomenology method was more successful than the analytic method of Gottlob Frege—who founded the analytic movement—he had published Husserl and Analytic Philosophy with the hope of contributing to “renewed dialogue” between the two schools of thought: “[Husserl and Frege] both shared the conviction that we can achieve some degree of objective truth, even though our access to truth is always perspectival and historically conditioned.”

In 2015, a volume of essays in honor of Dr. Cobb-Stevens, Phenomenology in a New Key, was published, featuring contributions from several leading experts in phenomenological philosophy from North America and Europe.  

“Dick will be most remembered for his essential humanness,” said Professor of Philosophy Patrick Byrne. “He was warm and welcoming to everyone he met, and let you know that he cared about you as an individual. He had a special gift for calming tensions in meetings, which is no small accomplishment in a university setting. Dick had a great sense of humor and was a storyteller of a special kind: He could let himself disappear as he drew people together by drawing them into the story.”

Dr. Cobb-Stevens’ colleague Professor Eileen Sweeney, speaking at his retirement lecture in 2009, praised Husserl and Analytic Philosophy as an example of his ability to engage with and transcend such divisions.  “It is on that cusp that Richard’s philosophical work has dwelt, eschewing both the reductionism and scientism, on the one hand, as well as any premature retreat into mysticism or poetry, on the other.  I wouldn’t say that Richard’s thought has come to rest in some easy synthesis or middle ground but is rather engaged in an ongoing dynamic dialectic.”

His achievements as a researcher and writer did not overshadow his abilities as a teacher and mentor, added Sweeney, noting that for more than 30 years Dr. Cobb-Stevens ran the Philosophy Department’s teaching seminar for doctoral students, and had directed 27 doctoral dissertations. Students, she said, valued his ability to allow them to develop their own thought but to subject it to rigorous testing and critique.

His lectures had “the same combination of style and clarity as does his writing,” said Sweeney at the 2009 event. “He can always be counted on for the anecdote students will remember for years to come that epitomizes a problem or issue in the material he is teaching.  He is always willing to share a story that shows his own difficulties and puzzlement in dealing with a problem or dilemma, one which exposes his own humanity with a humility which students find it possible to emulate.  He is willing to work through an issue with students in genuine collaboration, knowing and enacting the role of philosopher as lover rather than possessor of wisdom.”

Dr. Cobb-Stevens’ colleagues also recalled him as “a citizen of the University” who took on tasks and assignments that contributed to the greater good of his department—as chairman from 1993-2002, he helped bring international recognition to BC’s graduate programs in philosophy while increasing the number of philosophy undergraduate majors to among the largest in the U.S.—and Boston College as a whole: He was a member of the University Policy Committee and the University Academic Planning Council, among other bodies.

“Even though he was an internationally renowned scholar in philosophy,” said Byrne, “Dick devoted most of his time to making Boston College an ever-better place for undergraduate and graduate students to spend their formative years.”

In 1991, Dr. Cobb-Stevens was appointed as the inaugural director of the University Core Development Committee (UCDC), created to oversee and manage the undergraduate core curriculum, which had recently undergone its most extensive revision since its introduction in 1971. Among the changes were a requirement for students to take at least one course in fine arts, literature, mathematics, and cultural diversity, and that core courses share a set of common characteristics including discussion of perennial questions; history and methodology of the discipline; culturally diverse perspectives, and a concern for the moral significance and practical direction of students’ lives.

Dr. Cobb-Stevens went on to serve for 18 years as director of the UCDC as it performed the critical minutiae—assessment, evaluation, refinement, and advising—associated with administering the University’s signature undergraduate course sequences. Dr. Cobb-Stevens also was instrumental in helping the UCDC secure major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Science Foundation to develop new core courses designed to integrate themes from the humanities and sciences.

A milestone came in 1997, when the first Boston College class to study under the revised core graduated. Interviewed by the Boston College Chronicle, Dr. Cobb-Stevens reflected on the success of the initiative: “Students we’ve talked to say that without the core, they would have followed a narrow path of study without encountering new disciplines and outlooks. Their reaction to, and experience with, the core has been quite positive.” He added that faculty members across disciplines also had been inspired to work on core-related initiatives.  

“There is still much that can be done,” he said. “But looking at the particular structure we have here, and the degree of cooperation experienced between the UCDC and departments, I can’t think of anything quite like it at any comparable institution. We have made a very good beginning.”

“My memory of Richard Cobb-Stevens is that he was unfailingly kind and concerned for the welfare of everyone he met, and deeply committed to humanistic education in the Catholic and Jesuit traditions,” said Fitzgibbon Professor of Philosophy Arthur Madigan, S.J., who succeeded Dr. Cobb-Stevens as UCDC director in 2009. “Someone once told me that receiving the answer ‘No’ from Richard Cobb-Stevens was more satisfying than receiving the answer ‘Yes’ from any number of other people.”

Dr. Cobb-Stevens taught such courses as Machiavelli and Hobbes, Frege and Wittgenstein, American Pragmatism, and 19th- and 20th-Century Philosophy, as well as Modernism and the Arts and New Scientific Visions through the Perspectives Program.

He served on the editorial boards of Phenomenological Inquiry and the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology, among other publications, and was a member of such organizations as the American Philosophical Association, Metaphysical Society of America, Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, and American Catholic Philosophical Association.

Dr. Cobb-Stevens’ wife, Veda Cobb, whom he married in 1979 (both took Cobb-Stevens as their last names), died in 1989. He is survived by his sister Helen Ahearn and brothers Robert, Thomas, and John Stevens; he was predeceased by his sisters Mary A. Cullinane, Grace A. Vinciguerra, and Judith E. Erler and brother Francis Stevens.

—Sean Smith |University Communication

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Roberta T. Manning

Russian History Professor Roberta T. Manning, age 77, of Newton, MA, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday, January 3, 2018.

She was born in Austin, TX to Robert B. "Rab" Thompson and Lucille "Boogie" Luby Thompson. She is survived by her daughters, Innessa Anne Manning, of Lexington, MA and Rebecca Emily Manning (a.k.a Rebecca Emily Darling), of Los Angeles, CA; three grandsons, Maxwell, Henry, and Jack Ramanathan; and her brothers, Robert and Charles Thompson, of Texas, and their families.

Roberta was a noted academic who was a Professor of History at Boston College for over 30 years. She was awarded the American Historical Association's prestigious Herbert Baxter Adams Prize in 1983 and was granted a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1989 for her research into the former USSR during the Stalin era. She appeared on several T.V. news programs in the 1980's and 1990's where she provided a historical perspective on the ending of the cold war era and Boris Yeltsin's presidency. During the 1990's, Roberta led a staff of 40 scholars from six nations – Russia, the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and South Korea – in collecting, arranging, translating, and publishing a 5-volume set of books, The Tragedy of the Soviet Village: Documents and Materials Vol. 1-5, drawn from five major Moscow archives, including the KGB archives. Her efforts allowed these materials to be accessed and used by academics around the world.

Additionally, she wrote and published The Crisis of the Old Order in Russia: Gentry and Government, and, with J. Arch Getty, Stalinist Terror: New Perspectives. Roberta's work challenged the notion that the Stalinist Terror was solely the work of one man, but rather that the pattern of persecution was much more widespread.

Her research has been catalogued and archived at Boston College and is available as a base for further study; her family hopes that future historians will take advantage of her remaining scholarship and that through their work, hers will live on.

Roberta studied at Rice University in Texas and earned her PhD at Columbia University in 1975, during which time she worked closely with her esteemed advisor, Professor Leopold Haimson. Throughout her life she spent a significant amount of time in Russia as part of her studies, and was among the first outside historians to be granted access to previously sealed government archives.

Roberta grew up in Corpus Christi, TX as part of a large family with deep ties to south Texas. She eventually moved to Newton, MA where she raised her two daughters and several adventuresome cats. Once she moved to Massachusetts, Roberta built a large network of close friends and colleagues who she often entertained in her beautiful Victorian home and garden where she lived for close to 40 years.

She will be remembered for her keen intelligence and scholarship, her dedication to her students, her passionate spirit, and her boundless generosity to many. Roberta had an amazing mind and a huge heart; these things live on through her work, through the work of the many she mentored, and within the hearts of the many people all around the world who loved her.

Roberta suffered from Alzheimer's in her final years, but she remained gracious and smiling up until her final moments. Her daughters wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of those who cared for her during her last years at Sunrise Senior Living's memory care floor in Burlington, MA. Roberta will be honored in a memorial service to be scheduled in the Spring when the flowers she so loved are in full bloom. Additionally, her family is working on arranging a scholarship fund as a tribute to her academic accomplishments.

Anyone interested in receiving further information may contact her daughters at 

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Leonard Casper

Leonard Ralph Casper passed away in his sleep on his 95th birthday, July 6. He was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin to Louis Casper and Caroline Eder. He had three brothers and four sisters. Louis; Rose; Ruth; Leo; Larry; Rita; and Roma.

He married Linda Ty-Casper at San Juan Rizal, Philippines on July 14, 1956. They have two daughters, Gretchen G. Casper, professor of Political Science at Pennsylvania State University; and Kristina Elise Casper-Denman,  professor of Anthropology at American River College, Sacramento. 

Len was inducted into the US Military during World War II; and saw active service starting May 26, 1943; serving in foreign service 4 months, 6 days; in Continental Service, 2 years, 4 months, 11 days. His specialty was Cannoneer, # 864. He was qualified as a Marksman Carbine June 13, 1944; was Grade Pfc. Army serial # 36 821 365.Organization: Battery A 389 the FA Battalion; 99th Infantry Division, 38th Field Artillery Regiment as Marksman, Cannoneer 864.

His battle campaigns included the Rhineland, Central Europe; Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Ruhr Valley. His decorations and citations were the World War II Victory Ribbon, American Theater Ribbon, EAME Theater Ribbon, Good Conduct Ribbon, 2 Bronze Stars. He was received his Honorable Discharge, 2/12/46 at Camp Chafee, Arkansas. 

Leonard with three brothers—Louis, Leo and Larry—and a sister, Rita, served in the US Army during World War II. Larry received the Purple Heart.

Len attended grade school at the St, Joseph Church, Fond du Lac High School; and received his BA, MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin where he was a graduate assistant.

He taught at Cornell University, University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippine Normal College, was lecturer at several colleges in the Philippines, in Taiwan and in Thailand on grants from the American Philosophical Society, the Ford Foundation, ACLS-SSRC, Asia Society. 

He was a Creative writing Fellow at Stanford, 1951; directed the Creative Writing Program at the University of Rhode Island, summer of 1958; Writing Fellow at Bread Loaf, 1961; a Fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation at Bellagio, 1994. He served on the editorial board of several literary magazines such as Literature East and West.

In 1956 he began teaching Contemporary American Literature and Creative Writing at Boston College; and in 1962 received the “Heights” Man of the Year Award in “recognition of his loyalty and service to the University and to its Young men.” After retirement in 1999, Len continued teaching at Boston College as Emeritus Professor; later teaching at the SOAR Federal Program—Seniors teaching Seniors—in Wellesley, MA.

Several of Lens creative writing students became published writers, poets, and editors, including George Higgins, whose first novel was The Friends of Eddie Coyle; Gemino Abad who dedicated his latest anthology, Philippine short Fiction in English from 1990-2008, to Leonard and three other of his professors; Michael J. Brien, editor, Amoskeag.

He wrote critical essays in his field which included American and Philippine literature. In 1966, his book on Robert Penn Warren, The Dark and Bloody Ground, the first on the author, was published by the University of Washington Press; his last book on Robert Penn Warren, The Blood Marriage of Earth and Sky, was published in 1997 by Louisiana State University Press.

Among his books are: Six Filipino Poets (1955), Wayward Horizon (1961) The Wounded Diamond (1964), New Writing from the Philippines (1966)Firewalker (1987), In Burning Bush (1991), The Opposing Thumb (1995) Sunsurfers Seen from Afar(1996) The Circular Firing Squad (1999) Green Circuits of the Sun (2002). With Thomas A. Gullason, he co-authored a textbook The World of Short Fiction: International Collection, Harper and Row, (1952).

While training for service and during active service in the US Army, his short stories were published in SouthWest Review of the Southern Methodist University, Texas; whose editors encouraged him to continue submitting his stories. In 1971 the Southern Methodist University Press published these short stories in a book, A Lion Unannounced, a National Council of the Arts Selection.

Len was a daily communicant at St. Jeremiah, Framingham until the church closed after 48 years. He was a communicant at St. George in Saxonville; and at the Sons of Mary Health of the Sick Missionaries, Framingham.

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Demetrius Iatridis

Retired Boston College School of Social Work faculty member Demetrius Iatridis, who survived a war-scarred youth and became an advocate for cooperation and compassion to aid those in need, died on June 25. He was 93.

Dr. Iatridis was widely acknowledged as an esteemed researcher and teacher in social policy and social welfare, and hailed as a pioneer in bringing an international context to social work—particularly for his study of former communist nations’ efforts to build social services systems in a market economy.

As chair of the Community Organization, Planning and Policy Administration concentration, he founded BC School of Social Work’s “Boston Day” event at the Boston Redevelopment Authority, which gave students the opportunity to form ties with city authorities and neighborhood leaders—an important resource for prospective social workers, he believed.

“He’s always been concerned with those people who are disadvantaged, who have fallen behind,” said Barry Bluestone, a former BC faculty member, when Dr. Iatridis retired in the fall of 2012.  “In the best Jesuit tradition, Demetrius has kept his focus on helping those whom society tends to neglect, and he’s always reminded his students of the importance of doing that. That’s why so many of us respect him so much.”

Dr. Iatridis’ life path, and his personal and professional ideals, were formed in the crucible of World War II. He was only 16 when the Nazis invaded and occupied his native Greece. On his own, he escaped to the island of Crete, but found it no safer there, and was forced to hide in the mountains until he was able to flee by boat to Egypt. Lying about his age, he joined the Greek air force and served as a tail-gunner. During the war, he lost his mother and grandmother.

For Dr. Iatridis, the war changed everything. Where once he had aspired to go into aeronautical engineering—he had earned a scholarship to Stanford University—now he sought something else.

“I decided that the world would not be built by aircraft engineers but by mutual aid, collaborative programs to prevent other wars,” he explained in an interview with the Boston College Chronicle upon his retirement. “Instead of seeing the powerful always defeating and dominating the powerless, I wanted to help the powerless become powerful. This became my goal.”

After the war, Dr. Iatridis aided United Nations’ efforts to help children in his country affected by the conflict, and the U.N. sent him to the U.S. to observe its social welfare system. He went on to earn degrees from Washington and Jefferson College, the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work and the Bryn Mawr School of Social Work, then returned to Greece for a while to help assist in establishing a graduate school of planning.

He arrived at BC in 1966 as director of its new Institute of Human Sciences, founded by then-University President Michael Walsh, S.J., who envisioned a hub of teaching and research dedicated to social sciences as a potential strength for BC, much like engineering or architectural studies was for MIT. Dr. Iatridis was given a joint appointment in the School of Social Work. After six years, the institute was viewed as having achieved its goals and was disbanded, said Dr. Iatridis, and he became a full-time faculty member in the school.

While he acknowledged being “skeptical” about BC at first, and uncertain whether his beliefs aligned with those of Jesuits, Dr. Iatridis told the Chronicle he had found BC a “very good fit. I was able do things I might not have had an opportunity to do otherwise.”

He taught classes comparing social policy in capitalist and communist societies, led students on visits to Cuba so they could draw their own conclusions, and invited Cuban social services experts to speak at BC. Some critics thought these practices amounted to an endorsement of communism, but Dr. Iatridis insisted otherwise.

“My point was, ‘What can we learn from the way these countries practice social policy? Nobody, as far as we knew, was looking into this. The students would decide for themselves what was effective and what wasn’t, and they would have to account for and justify their positions. There was nothing ideological about it.”

During one visit to Cuba, Dr. Iatridis met with Fidel Castro, who asked if social work was an appropriate profession for the country.  “I said, ‘It depends. If you want to increase participation of people in decision-making, it’s your best model. It does not work well in dictatorships,’” recounted Dr. Iatridis. “A few years later, he established social work as a profession in Cuba.”

The dramatic end of communist rule in Europe and Russia at the end of the 20th century created a new area of exploration for Dr. Iatridis. He organized several major conferences to examine the challenges faced by former Soviet Bloc nations in building social service systems in a market economy, and co-published an accompanying series of books.

“This was a tremendous opportunity to put social work in the forefront of a major world development,” he said. “The conferences and the books were very well-received. It was very good exposure for the School of Social Work and BC.”

Dr. Iatridis served on several University committees, and chaired the Faculty Compensation Committee for 15 of the 27 years he was a member. In 2000, he was presented with a Distinguished Service Award from the University.

Fittingly, Dr. Iatridis’ career was celebrated in November of 2012 with a panel discussion—in which he was a participant—on the issues of policy, planning, and poverty that had informed his teaching and research. Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis presented a keynote address at the event.

As he contemplated retirement, Dr. Iatridis vowed to remain active by volunteering for programs and projects combatting poverty—a subject virtually absent from the 2012 election campaign, he said.

“The poverty and inequality I saw after World War II was the reason I went into social work,” he said, “and I am going to continue to help the powerless.”

 Dr. Iatridis and his wife Mary, who died in 2015, are survived by their children Anna, Tanya, Stavros, and Maki, and 13 grandchildren.

—University Communications

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Jim Gips

James Gips, an award-winning Boston College computer scientist whose work in assistive technology has helped people with disabilities live fuller lives, died on June 10. He was 72.

Dr. Gips, the John R. and Pamela Egan Professor of Computer Science in the Carroll School of Management, was the co-inventor and co-developer of two groundbreaking assistive technologies, EagleEyes and Camera Mouse, which enable users to operate computers through eye or head movements. The systems have been used by people with cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, traumatic brain injury and other disorders.

“Before EagleEyes, these children were totally trapped inside their bodies,” Dr. Gips told the Boston College Chronicle in 1996, two years after formally unveiling EagleEyes. “While they may be bright and eager to communicate, they had no way to express themselves. Once EagleEyes is in their homes, there’s no telling where it will lead them.”

In creating EagleEyes and Camera Mouse, Dr. Gips – along with his collaborators, Peter Olivieri and Joseph Tecce – set the stage for a multitude of inspiring stories of families with children suffering from severe disabilities whose lives were changed by the technology. Testimonials were often delivered through print, broadcast and other media, but many came directly to Dr. Gips and his colleagues.

One correspondent wrote about EagleEyes’ impact on his five-year-old grandson Adam: “Yesterday I watched him play a computer game that made the monkeys jump on the bed while whimsical music played. Adam giggled then, miracle of miracles, Adam made it play again and then again! What kind of miracle is that you might ask. It’s the most remarkable kind if your grandson has quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Adam cannot speak, sit up, crawl, walk or roll over and is fed with a tube in his tummy.

“But when Adam started using EagleEyes the world changed for him and those who love him. When Adam’s eyes dwell on a graphic icon it ‘clicks’ like a mouse. I call it the click heard around the world.”

Olivieri, a Carroll School associate professor for information systems who retired in 2011, mourned the passing of his longtime friend and colleague. “Jim was a wonderful person, kind and compassionate, bright and articulate, who loved his family, his students and his friends.  He always asked his students to think about how they could make a difference, and how their knowledge could make the world a better place.

“He himself practiced what he asked his students to do as evidenced by his development of award-winning technology to help people with profound disabilities show their humanity and become fully recognized as fellow human beings.  His research changed the lives of hundreds and hundreds of boys and girls, men and women, and his teaching impacted thousands of Boston College students. I will miss him more than words can say.”

Added Tecce, an associate professor of psychology, “Jim was a friend and special colleague. He did an outstanding job of putting into the public domain our discovery of a method to help special needs individuals. It was a privilege and an honor to have him as a co-author on my professional presentations. I will always be grateful for his professionalism.”

Dr. Gips had already made an impact in the computer science field before joining the BC faculty in 1976, through his foundational work with George Stiny on shape grammars, a specific class of production systems that generate geometric shapes as a means to study two and three-dimensional languages. In 1980, Dr. Gips – who in addition to the Carroll School  Information Systems Department held a joint appointment with the Computer Science Department in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences – was one of two BC faculty members (along with historian Samuel Miller) to win the inaugural Alpha Sigma Nu National Book Awards for Algorithmic Aesthetics, which he authored with Stiny.

The inspiration for EagleEyes came from a casual discussion in 1992 between Dr. Gips and Olivieri, in which they talked about the possibility of controlling computers through the mind. Exploring the idea further, the two reached out to Tecce, who suggested EOG, or electrooculography, which can track eye movements by detecting electrical signals in the eye; electrodes placed around the eyes detect those signals. The three figured out a way of amplifying the signals and converting them to corresponding movements of a cursor.

Working on that basis, the trio created a prototype that enabled the user to play video games on the computer through eye movement. After Dr. Gips presented their device at a scientific conference, he was asked about its potential uses. He mused that it might help children with disabilities, although he and his collaborators hadn’t yet investigated such a possibility.

Dr. Gips, Olivieri and Tecce tested the device, dubbed “EagleEyes,” by using it with students at the BC Campus School, which serves children with multiple disabilities. Over time, they added refinements that enabled users to spell out words, create music and “eye-paint” – make colors appear on the computer screen – among other functions.

In 1994, EagleEyes was chosen as one of five finalists for a prestigious Discover Award for Technological Innovation, sponsored by Discover magazine.

The trio sought to duplicate the EagleEyes system to make it available outside of BC, such as for collaborative schools and families. It was increasingly difficult to keep up with the demand, but Dr. Gips couldn’t find investors willing to back the project until the nonprofit Opportunity Foundation of America (OFOA) expressed interest.

In 2004, OFOA signed a licensing agreement with BC to provide manufacturing, distribution and training for EagleEyes. During the first decade of the license, OFOA placed more than 280 EagleEyes systems in the US, Canada and Ireland.

Three years later, Dr. Gips won a da Vinci Award "honoring exceptional design and engineering achievements in accessibility and universal design, that empowers people of all abilities."

By then, Dr. Gips and his team had begun producing Camera Mouse, which they made available for download in June of 2007. Some 3.3 million downloads were recorded in its first decade.

“Bless you all for this precious gift to so many who lost their voice,” wrote the father of an ALS patient who used Camera Mouse. “I love you all!!!!"

On his personal website, Dr. Gips noted that BC undergraduates were involved in all phases of the work on EagleEyes and Camera Mouse, and had co-authored and presented papers. Many students “begin not by developing technologies but rather by working directly with the children who will use the technologies.”

Dr. Gips’ more recent research activity was to examine aspects of the effects of technology and new media on consumer behavior and psychology, in collaboration with Carroll School Associate Professor of Marketing S. Adam Brasel. The two formed the Marketing Interfaces Lab at BC.  

In 2015, Dr. Gips received teaching honors from both the Carroll School Honors Program and the BC chapter of Alpha Sigma Nu, the national Jesuit honor society.

Prior to joining Boston College, Dr. Gips worked at the Department of Biomathematics at the University of California-Los Angeles and at the Psychophysiology Laboratory at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.

Dr. Gips earned a bachelor’s degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Stanford University.

He is survived by his wife Barbara; children Amy and Jonathan; his sister Kathy; and a grandson.

Sean Smith | University Communications | June 2018

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Andrew Von Hendy

Boston College English Professor Andrew J. Von Hendy died peacefully on June 6 after suffering from Parkinson's disease for several years. He was 86. From 1963 until his retirement in 2005, Andy was a much-beloved teacher of undergraduate and graduate students in the English Department at Boston College. His wide range of reading and erudition astonished everyone who knew him. But those who admired his intellectual gifts and passions were quick to recall his quiet kindness, his singular ability to listen, and his whimsical humor.

As one colleague put it, Andy's presence made people feel safer in the world. While most professors settle in to become expert in a particular area, Andy never stopped learning new fields and inventing ambitious new courses. When asked, he would say that his primary field was English and Continental fiction of the 19th and 20th centuries. He also taught courses in long poetic narratives, literary theory, autobiography, poetry writing, myth in modern literature, and the conquest of the Americas. He initiated or participated in a number of experimental and team-taught courses, directed countless theses and dissertations, and read his colleagues' manuscripts with a shrewd and generous eye. His scrupulous attention to each of these commitments was legendary.

In 2002, Andy published his major work, The Modern Construction of Myth, a sweeping and readable history of theories of myth from the 18th to the 20th centuries. His intellectual curiosity, his love of beauty in the arts and the natural world, and his verbal wit were dear to his family. . Andrew John Von Hendy was born to Andrew and Helen (Kinsley) Von Hendy on April 13, 1932, in Elmira, New York. He attended Catholic schools and received his B.A. from Niagara University in 1954. After serving in the army, he went to Cornell University on the G.I. Bill, where he earned his doctorate in English. He taught as an instructor at Bowdoin College before coming to Boston College as an assistant professor in 1963. He served as department chair, as director of the Ph.D. program, and on several major university committees.

In 1956 he married Janet Goodrich, with whom he had three sons; the marriage later ended in divorce. In 1986 he married his colleague Rosemarie (Ti) Bodenheimer, with whom he shared a life of teaching and writing. He leaves his wife Rosemarie, his sons James and wife Kelly Tyler (Ben Lomond, CA), Andrew (Brighton, MA), Matthew and wife Ann Ferrero (Rockville, MD), his brother Frank (Blossburg, PA), his sister Sally Douglas (Elmira, NY), and several nieces and nephews. His family loves him, admires him, and misses him. Memorial gatherings will be private. Donations in his memory may be made to Amnesty International or Doctors Without Borders

Published in The Boston Globe on June 12, 2018

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Nancy Veeder

Retired Boston College School of Social Work faculty member Nancy W. Veeder, whose research included marketing human services in the managed care market and an in-depth study of women’s decision-making processes, died on June 1. She was 81.

Dr. Veeder, an associate professor who taught at BCSSW for 40 years, cited the pioneering Chicago social worker Jane Addams as an inspiration for her teaching. Friends and colleagues described Dr. Veeder as deeply committed to social justice, but with a strong belief that social work should be guided by a rational approach to implementation and review of results.

This clear-eyed outlook was evident in her 1999 book, Marketing Human Services: Selling Your Services Under Managed Care, which she called a “desktop reference” for applying marketing practices like fundraising, target-segmenting and focus groups to the social work profession.

In an interview with the Boston College Chronicle, Dr. Veeder explained that social workers and other human services professionals tended to be reluctant in adopting for-profit management practices or even to consider their vocation in such a context – attitudes she said were counter-productive in the managed care environment.

“For better or worse, human services has become a business,” said Dr. Veeder, who held an MBA from the Carroll School of Management. “What I’m saying is, let’s beat the suits at their own game and do good for our clients.”

One of her major accomplishments was an extensive intergenerational study of 100 Northern Irish women to analyze how women make decisions in society and their personal lives. Supported by a BC faculty research grant, Dr. Veeder undertook the project through the University of Ulster School of Social Work.

Dr. Veeder published her findings in a 1992 book, Women’s Decision-Making: Common Themes, Irish Voices, which stated that women take more factors into consideration, plan ahead and are more likely to consider the consequences of a decision; women also place a greater emphasis on relationships, are more flexible and are willing to admit their mistakes, she said.

“Women’s decision-making has not really been studied – or when it has, it’s usually in relation to men,” said Dr. Veeder in an interview with BC student newspaper The Heights. “In such cases, women appear wishy-washy, ambivalent and vacillating, not because they actually are but because they are not in society positions like men.”

This difference in societal roles defines the way men think and make decisions, she explained – society is more accepting of “on-the-spot decision-making because that is how men approach decisions.”

Dr. Veeder told The Heights that men and women should recognize such sex-based differences and talk about them: “We have to begin seeing things in less polar terms – to talk across genders and to listen to each other.”

During her career at BC, Dr. Veeder was active in helping establish the Lesbian and Gay Faculty, Staff and Administrators Association of Boston College, serving on its steering committee. The association is among the Boston College Affinity Groups organized through the University’s Office for Institutional Diversity.

She retired in 2008.

Dr. Veeder graduated from Smith College and went on to earn her MSW from Simmons College and doctorate from the Brandeis University Heller School.

The daughter of the late Harold and Alice Veeder, she is survived by her partner of 20 years, Mary Costanza, and her adoptive family, Susan English and Francis Martinez and their daughter Katherine.

Sean Smith | University Communications | June 4, 2018

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Sarah Cimino

Age 84, of Carnegie, passed away Sunday, December 24, 2017, after a brief battle with cancer.

Daughter of the late Enrico "Henry" and Leona (Cardamone) Cimino. She was always generous and kind, always willing to help anyone. She was always recognized for her caring and her leadership qualities.

Sarah was a Registered Nurse, dedicated to her profession 100 percent and always looking to improve the system to achieve better patient care. It was natural for her that after graduating Schenley High School she continued her education in the caring services, graduating from Saint Francis Hospital School of Nursing, then UCLA for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, then on to Boston College School of Nursing for 30 years where she also chaired Committees that contributed to nursing progress.

She will also be remembered as a Peace Corps participant in Malaysia where she taught and implemented new, safer procedures in patient care in a different culture. Sarah considered that experience personally and professionally enriching.

After 30 years, she retired from Boston College and spent three years taking care of retired priests of the Boston Diocese in a local nursing home. After that time, Sarah returned home to Pittsburgh, residing close to her family and looked after her mother who lived for 103 years. She was preceded in death by her parents, Leona Cardamone Cimino and Henry Cimino, and her brother, Thomas Cimino. She will be missed by her sister Mary Theresa (Whitey) Burkart, and many nieces, nephews, friends and colleagues. 

Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Dec. 27 to Dec. 28, 2017

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David Manwaring

David R., 84, of Brookline on Monday, July 24, 2017. Beloved husband of Jane (Makler) Manwaring. Devoted father of Roger Manwaring and his wife, Catherine, and Jeffrey Manwaring and his wife, Sarah. Adored grandfather of Steven, Laura, Colin and Zoe. For 39 years, a professor of Political Science at Boston College, specializing in American Government and Constitutional Law

A committed Democrat, avid chess player, talented cook, and above all, lover of all things family. 

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J. Donald Monan. S.J.

Reverend J. Donald Monan, S.J., the 24th president of Boston College, who was credited with saving the University from fiscal crisis and guiding it into a period of then unparalleled financial and academic success, died on March 18 at Campion Center in Weston, Mass. He was 92.

Fr. Monan served longer than any Boston College president, but his tenure will be remembered for far more than its longevity. Under his 24 years of leadership, Boston College successfully completed the transition from a financially strapped, predominantly male commuter college to a prosperous, coeducational and nationally renowned university. In July 1996, upon stepping down from the presidency, Fr. Monan became Boston College's first chancellor.

Fr. Monan's effectiveness as president touched numerous facets of Boston College – finances, academics, enrollment, student life, the campus physical plant and community involvement. He presided over two successful capital campaigns, including The Campaign for Boston College from 1987-91, which raised $136 million and helped to boost the University's endowment to among the 40 largest in the nation. In addition, applications for admission rose dramatically during Fr. Monan's years as president – from 7,000 in 1972 to more than 16,500 in 1996.

When Fr. Monan was presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at Boston College's 1996 Commencement Exercises, the University announced the establishment of three professorships in his name.

At the time of his retirement as president in 1996, U.S. News & World Report ranked Boston College 40th among national universities in the U.S. and 16th in commitment to teaching; BC also was included in Barron's Top 50: An Inside Look at America's Best Colleges.

Born in Blasdell, NY in 1924 to a family with roots in Northern Ireland—birthplace of Boston College founder John McElroy, S.J.— Fr. Monan attended Canisius High School in Buffalo before entering the New York Province of the Society of Jesus at St. Andrew-on-Hudson. After concluding his philosophical studies, he taught at St. Peter's College in Jersey City, NJ, studied theology at Woodstock College and was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1955.

He earned his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Louvain, Belgium, and continued his postdoctoral research at the universities of Oxford, Paris and Munich.

In 1961, a year after joining the Le Moyne philosophy department, he became its chairman. Seven years later, he was appointed academic dean and vice president, serving as director of long-range academic and fiscal planning.

Fr. Monan's publications include Moral Knowledge and its Methodology in Aristotle and, as co-author, A Prelude to Metaphysics. He received more than a dozen honorary doctoral degrees from institutions ranging from Harvard and Boston College to the National University of Ireland. He was the former chairman of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, served as a director of Bank of Boston (1976-96), as interim president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (1996-97), board member of the Naval Academy Endowment Trust and the Yawkey Foundation.

He served on the board of directors of The National Mentoring Partnership, of the Massachusetts Mentoring Partnership, of which he served as co-chair from 1992-2001, and of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management. Fr. Monan was also a member of the Jesuit Philosophical Association, the Society of Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, the Society of Ancient Greek Philosophy, and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In February 2006, he was among recipients of the 2006 New England Higher Education Excellence Awards.

In May 2007, he was honored by Catholic Charities for his multiple contributions to civic life in the Boston community, and in November of that year, he was honored by The American Irish Historical Society for his contributions to American higher education as well as his ongoing support of Ireland and his leadership in the American Irish community.

In the spring of 2011, the New England Province of the Society of Jesus honored Fr. Monan with its Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam Award in recognition of his long and selfless service for the greater glory of God.

Fr. Monan, who had served on the committee convened by the National Endowment for the Humanities that led to the establishment of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy—known today as Mass Humanities—was among recipients of the inaugural Governor Awards for the Humanities at the organization’s 40th anniversary gala in 2014.

Most recently, he was honored by the Boston College community at a celebration of his 90th birthday at Cadigan Alumni Center on the BC campus in January of 2015, and was recognized as one of the "Four Pillars of Mass Mentoring Partnership's First 25 Years" at the organization's anniversary celebration in February 2017.

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John Heineman

Dr. Heineman, who taught at Boston College for 40 years, chaired the History Department from 1970-76 and pursued research in modern Germany (1803-present) and the Third Reich, as well as the history of warfare, the intellectual history of western Europe and religious and Church history. 

But he was particularly interested in the Nazi era: He taught a course, Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, using a large collection of mostly unpublished primary source documents he had translated. These documents, which he later put online, included material on the Nazi seizure of power and the treatment of Jews during the Third Reich.

Interviewed by The Heights shortly before he retired in 2003, Dr. Heineman said he became fascinated with German history somewhat unexpectedly while an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame when he took a trip to Europe – a journey made possible by a $500 bequest from his great aunt, who stipulated he use it for travel.

Signing up for a Catholic student tour, Dr. Heineman visited Ireland and England with great anticipation, but came away “faintly disappointed.” Arriving in Germany, however, was “an almost mystical experience” that deepened in the days he spent there. 

“I came back absolutely convinced I wanted to be a German historian,” he recalled.

After earning his degree from Notre Dame, Dr. Heineman went to Germany on a Fulbright grant and later received a full scholarship to study German history at Cornell University. Searching for a dissertation topic, Dr. Heineman was drawn to the story of Constantin Von Neurath, who had served as foreign secretary during the last years of the Weimar Republic and stayed on after Adolf Hitler came to power. He did extensive research on Neurath and later published a comprehensive biography, Hitler's First Foreign Minister: Constantin Freiherr von Neurath.

To Dr. Heineman, Neurath was an all-too-common example of “decent and honorable men” who served “the evil that was National Socialism.” The fact that Germany’s pre-World War II foreign policy did not change following the ascension of the Nazis was because Neurath and other professional diplomats who, although not party members, continued to run the Foreign Office, he said. 

“Born for another century, relying with too much trust upon an outmoded code of doing one’s duty,” wrote Dr. Heineman, “Neurath never successfully defined the nature of the challenge that faced him.”

Dr. Heineman was wary of drawing historical comparisons with current events. Asked by The Heights in 2003 about the parallels between Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler, he replied that using “historical analogies and similes for similar situations while you are teaching history is to create a distortion of the past.”

“The circumstances that brought Hitler to power in the 1920s and ’30s are not the same ones that brought to power Saddam Hussein,” he added. “The chief function of a historian is to recreate history the way it actually was, and that is without the hindsight of the future.”

In 1997, Dr. Heineman was selected for a teaching award from the Boston College Phi Beta Kappa chapter. In an interview with Boston College Chronicle, he said he relished the honor because it had been given by students in recognition of his teaching – his “greatest love,” he called it.

"I'm very much aware that my function up there is to inform, partially to entertain, partially to inspire," he said, "but also to give them a model of analysis of how a reasonably intelligent person can look at data and make sense of it." 

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Mary Dineen

Mary A. Dineen, who served as dean of the Boston College School of Nursing from 1972 until her retirement in 1986, died March 4, 2017 at age 94.

"I remember Dean Dineen as someone who loved Boston College and who was a formidable leader," said Connell School of Nursing Associate Professor Jane Ashley, who was hired by Dr. Dineen. "I'll always remember that she said to me, "At BC, we only hire the best and the brightest"...her comment always stayed with me and in many ways it set the bar for what was expected of nursing faculty."

During her tenure, the Boston College School of Nursing became recognized nationally for its excellence in preparing students for the nursing profession. Then-University President J. Donald Monan, S.J., praised Dr. Dineen for her "valuable and necessary leadership" during this period of time.

She had the vision to see that nurses were taking on more responsibility in the areas of health promotion and illness prevention, and that the advent of nurse practitioners would forever change the practice and education of nurses.

"Dean Dineen was one of the early leaders in nursing," said Ashley. "She got her Ph.D. at at time when very few nurses had advanced degrees and she set the stage for the development of the Ph.D. program in nursing at Boston College.  Under her guidance, CSON strengthened the master's programs and began work on the PhD program. This happened at a time when very few universities offered a PhD in nursing. In many ways, Dean Dineen was ahead of her time."

On the cusp of her retirement, Dr. Dineen told the Boston College Biweekly (precursor to the Boston College Chronicle): "I see nursing as a wonderful field for those who want to be in a helping field. I can't imagine anyone not liking it."

She added: "It has been a satisfying career, and I think I made the right choices. It has been a continual challenge. And I like challenges."

Dr. Dineen was born in Niagara Falls, NY. She completed her basic nursing education at Mt. St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing. Following receipt of her RN License, she worked as a staff nurse at St. Mary's Hospital and in St. Louis, Missouri.

She graduated from St. Louis University with a bachelor's degree in nursing and later earned a master's degree from Niagara University and a doctoral degree from Columbia University.

She was one of the first faculty members appointed to Niagara University when the College of Nursing was founded in 1946. In 1963, Dr. Dineen joined the staff of the National League for Nursing in New York City, working as a consultant and department director with university-based nursing education programs throughout the country.

Dr. Dineen was active in many professional organizations, including the American Nurses Association, the National League for Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau and Alpha Sigma Nu. She was honored with the Nursing Education Alumni Award from Teachers College, Columbia and the Mary Adelaide Nutting Award from the National League for Nursing.

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Peter Donovan

rofessor Emeritus Peter Donovan ’60, a brilliant, tough-minded teddy bear of a guy whom students affectionately called “The Big Man,” passed away February 25. A Double Eagle, he taught at BC Law for thirty-six years until his retirement in 2002, winning the hearts and shaping the minds of hundreds of still-devoted students.

“Peter was an authentic. Not a phony facet to him,” said one of those students, Peter del Vecchio ’81, who helped organize a tribute to Donovan at the 2016 Reunion. “He presented a gruff exterior, but had nothing but pure love and respect for his students. He was also a lot of fun.”

Indeed, Donovan got a huge kick out of the roasting he received at the event from members of the Class of 1981. After the singing and storytelling, his admirers presented to him and his wife Eleanor a glass portrait of Donovan and a pair of signed bowling pins. “I want to thank his lovely wife Eleanor for sharing Peter with us,” del Vecchio said upon learning of his passing.

A specialist in products liability and antitrust law, Donovan was also a central figure in building BC Law’s oral advocacy programs, serving as faculty advisor for the two-time national champion moot court team and mentoring generations of students in competitions. He was coauthor of Massachusetts Corporation Law.

BC Law Professor Robert Bloom ’71, who was both a student and colleague of Donovan, remembered him as not only a great teacher but also as a lawyer’s lawyer. “His lawyering was absolutely the best; attorneys from all over would come to him for his lawyering,” Bloom said.

In 1989, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court took up the case of Harlow v. Massachusetts General Hospital, an appeal from what at the time was the largest medical malpractice verdict in the Commonwealth. Trial lawyer Fred Halstrom ’70, one of BC Law’s most distinguished graduates, reached out to his former professor Peter Donovan to handle the very challenging appeal brought by the hospital, focusing in large part on plaintiff’s closing argument, which invoked analogies to professional athlete salaries as a guide to the jury’s assessment of damages. Donovan asked faculty colleague Mark Brodin to assist him, who was flattered and honored by the request. Throughout the long strategy sessions on the appellate brief and argument, Brodin became more and more aware that he was in the presence of one of the great legal minds he had ever encountered.

The proof of this came when the SJC ruled that, while the argument by plaintiff’s counsel was “egregious and improper under long established, and well understood, principles,” reversal was not called for. Donovan had pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat, yet again. Brodin has remained in awe of Donovan’s legal process ever since.

Donovan’s classrooms could be scary places. In his early years on the faculty, he was the only one teaching corporations. The class was so big that students had to sit on the windowsills because there weren’t enough seats.

Bloom remembers his corporations class, which he took in the second semester of his third year. “Professor Donovan would call on me every day (you’re not supposed to do that to a third year student,” Bloom said bemusedly). He called me ‘Radical.’ ‘Radical,’ he’d bellow, ‘what does your sense of justice and fair play dictate on this issue?’ and I’d have to answer and have to be prepared. I hated him. And then at my graduation, he told my mom what a wonderful guy I was, and she loved him and if my mom loved him, then, naturally, I had to too.”

Donovan, of course, knew exactly what he was doing. He had this to say about his torts class during an interview with BC Law Magazine in 2001: “I consider myself a teddy bear that people like to hug. I’d obviously hide that part of my personality because in their first year, I want students to work harder than they’ve ever worked before, and if they’re afraid of you, they tend to work harder. So, maybe I do intimidate them, but we also have a lot of humor in class.”

He cared greatly for his students and was fond of saying that there were only three reasons to teach: “students, students, students.”

Ann Palmieri ’81 said Donovan had a remarkable way of connecting with everyone. “He really did all he could for those that he knew needed his guidance and love and faith,” she noted. “I think of him as a giant Irishman with a giant brain and heart to match.”

Donovan’s contribution to BC Law that was closest to his heart was coaching moot court teams. “Working in the advocacy programs has been my most satisfying work at the Law School,” he said in 2001. “You work with the students one on one, you get to know them as individuals. It’s just a big, huge ego trip to see how hard they work and how well they perform from it.” His teams twice won national championships, were finalists twice, and chalked up an impressive list of regional championships and citations.

His love of oral advocacy was also personal. It was one of the things that turned around the young Donovan’s otherwise lackluster academic performance. A “C” student throughout high school and half of college, he got an inkling of his verbal powers of persuasion during his comprehensive oral exam in philosophy in which he turned the tables on his inquisitors by questioning the ambiguity of their questions, which earned him their respect.

In law school he sparred vigorously with Professor Richard S. Sullivan, which provided Donovan with another important insight. “I love to argue,” he realized. Thus challenged, he rose to third in his class his first year. The next two, he was first.

After graduating from BC Law, Donovan worked in the antitrust division of the US Department of Justice, and earned an LLM from Georgetown Law Center and another from Harvard Law School, where he’d been a Ford Foundation Fellow in Law Teaching. He began teaching at the Law School in 1966.

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Betty Rahv

Betty Thomas Rahv, (March 30, 1931-April 15, 2017) a native of Charleston, WV and eldest child of the late Marian Pope Thomas and Andrew Stephen Thomas, Jr. passed away in LaGrange, GA of natural causes. She is survived by her son, William L. McIlvain of Charleston and siblings, Emma Lewis Thomas of Livingston, MT, Marian Thomas Wood of Riverdale, NY, and Andrew Stephen Thomas III of Charleston, WV as well as 4 nieces, 3 nephews, 7 grand nieces and 5 grand nephews. Cared for by her niece’s family, Erica Nashan and James K. Arnold of LaGrange, GA, and their children, Roselyn, Eolyne and Andrew Arnold. Devoted caretakers Wanda Feltman, Toni Anne Ball, and Roselyn Arnold were at her side. Accolades include a Bachelor of Arts from Sweet Briar College, a Master of Arts from Middlebury College, and PhD in French Literature from Indiana University. She also attended Ohio Wesleyan University, Yale University, and the University Paris-Sorbonne as a Fulbright Scholar. She served twice as

Chairman of the Romance Languages Department at Boston College and authored many articles on French Philosophy and Literature, as well as a book, “From Sartre to the New Novel”. Her passions led her to travel the world to research history, culture and art. A devoted teacher, she nurtured the talents of her students and was revered by her colleagues. As a native West Virginian she was crowned Mountain State Forest Festival Queen Silvia XV in 1951. She loved the outdoors, summer visits with family, and took comfort in her many pets at home. She remained loyal to her family, sharing her love of the world as well as her deep ties to the place of her childhood in the Appalachian Mountains.

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Eugene Bronstein

Eugene Bronstein, who followed an accomplished career in retail with a successful 22-year tenure at the Carroll School of Management, died earlier in the spring semester at the age of 92. Prof. Bronstein had spent 20 years at Filene’s department store in Boston – starting as a research assistant and finishing as a merchandising vice president – when he joined the Carroll School faculty in 1975 as a lecturer. He taught retailing, marketing, merchandising and management courses to undergraduate and MBA students.

In 1983, he became director of the school’s honors program, where he taught and mentored leading Carroll School students. During his 10 years at the helm, the program introduced a senior thesis, strengthened relationships with the College of Arts and Sciences, created a mentoring program with honors alumni and encouraged greater student management of the program.

Interviewed by the Heights near the end of his term as director, Prof. Bronstein said running the honors program had been a chance for him to “shape a small business,” and had enjoyed the increased contact with students. 

Prof. Bronstein said the advent of the senior thesis had reflected a desire to give Carroll School students a chance to “spread out” – to broaden their interests and use their creativity. Where in the past CSOM theses had been largely confined to business and management topics, he said that 75 percent now delved into other areas; one student, he noted, had put together an instructional video on golf.

“You have influenced my life and career more than you will ever know,” one student wrote to Prof. Bronstein.

While pleased with the program’s growth, Prof. Bronstein told the Heights that he had didn’t expect status quo under new leadership. “I would throw it on the wall and start brainstorming. that is the advantage of a new set of eyes. Take a fresh look.”

After retiring in 1997, Prof. Bronstein was a member of the Boston College Association of Retired Faculty. A native of Cambridge, Prof. Bronstein enlisted in the Navy in World War II and served in the South Paci!c, taking part in crucial battles such as Okinawa and Iwo Jima.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

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George Madaus

Boisi Professor of Education and Public Policy Emeritus George F. Madaus, an internationally renowned expert on – and frequent critic of – educational testing and measurement, who died on Dec. 18. He was 82.

“Professor Madaus created a legacy in quantitative research that lives on through various projects at BC, such as the Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation, and Educational Policy and the groundbreaking analytics of City Connects,” said Stanton Wortham, the Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean of the Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education. “George was a respected member of the Lynch School community who will be missed by his many former students and colleagues[IS1] .”

Dr. Madaus joined the School of Education faculty in 1966, after finishing postdoctoral work at the University of Chicago. In 1980, he co-founded Boston College’s Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation, and Educational Policy (CSTEEP), a hub of scholarly activity for Dr. Madaus – who for a time served as the center’s director – and colleagues to study, write about and speak on high-stakes testing and its impact on children, schools and society.

“There is more oversight for pet food than there is for tests," said Dr. Madaus, interviewed by the Boston College Chronicle in 1998. While he and his colleagues believed that testing served “a very useful function,” Dr. Madaus said, they felt the American public and its leaders should know not only the strengths of testing, but the limitations as well.

In a 2001 interview for the PBS program “Frontline,” he said: “I always looked on testing as a technology. It fits any definition you want of a technology. It has underlying algorithms; it has paper and pencil answer sheets in scoring things. But it's a fallible technology, and like all technologies, there are places where it can break down.”

Dr. Madaus and co-author Kathleen Rhoades pointed out numerous such breakdowns in a 2003 study that counted 103 publicized errors on state and national standardized tests between 1976 and early 2003. Because of testing errors – ranging from inconsistent scoring to questions appearing more than once – the study found, thousands of New York City students were required to attend summer school unnecessarily; 50 high school seniors in Minnesota were denied diplomas; public schools in Florida had their funding cut; and teaching candidates were denied licenses.

CSTEEP became one of BC’s leading recipients of external funding, and launched such successful initiatives as the National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy, and the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), which eventually spun off to form the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center and 20 years on remains the world’s longest running, large-scale assessment of mathematics and science education.

Among other publications, Dr. Madaus wrote or co-authored The Fractured Marketplace for Standardized Testing, From Gate Keeper to Gateway: Transforming Testing in the United States, and Teach Them Well: An Introduction to Education. He also co-authored the Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education, which is widely used by educational practitioners and policymakers.

The center, and Dr. Madaus’ work, drew its share of criticism. A conservative foundation once published a paper that accused CSTEEP of harboring anti-testing bias and politicizing the issue of high-stakes testing. In fact, Dr. Madaus served on the technical advisory committee for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), which he called “state of the art.”

Yet at times, even the respected MCAS drew Dr. Madaus’s reproach.

“He was a critic of most standardized testing because he felt that the compromises made to conform to constraints of time and cost resulted in tests that did not deliver what was promised – to the detriment of children, especially those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds,” said Boisi Professor of Education and Public Policy Henry Braun, who also directs CSTEEP.

All too often, according to Dr. Madaus, high-stakes testing follows the “Tradition of the Past Exam,” whereby teachers use old tests to prepare students for the next one.  Dr. Madaus refuted the idea that teaching to the test didn’t matter, as long as the test reflected high standards: “No test is good enough to be a curriculum,” he told Boston College Magazine in 2001.

Kearns Professor of Urban Education Mary Walsh said Dr. Madaus established himself as an international authority on educational testing just as the US and other nations began to closely examine student achievement at state, national and global levels.

“He absolutely advanced the whole field of testing in education,” said Walsh. “He broke new ground on a regular basis on the impact of testing and how it should be done. His reasoning was always based on science and data. He always knew that the world was in the grain of sand – for all the thousands and thousands of kids who were tested, he always knew that it came down to the individual child.”

When Walsh launched the City Connects initiative to help struggling students, Dr. Madaus took on the data analysis component that has allowed City Connects to document how its programs raise student achievement and combat the effects of poverty for low-income students.

“He designed the entire evaluation component for City Connects and then identified a lot of people to help us and he would convince them to come and work with us,” said Walsh. “He was just terrific.”

Professor of Education Law and Public Policy Diana Pullin, who from 1987 until 1994 served as dean of the School of Education (the school was named for Peter and Carolyn Lynch in 2000), recalled meeting Dr. Madaus when she was a young lawyer working on civil rights litigation in the early 1980s, related to testing and the use of test scores as a graduation requirement.

“George reached out to colleagues all over the world to help find expert witnesses in the court case,” said Pullin, who argued the Florida case on behalf of the Center for Law and Education. “People still talk about it, decades later.”

As dean, Pullin found Dr. Madaus’ reputation as one of the world’s foremost experts on educational testing was also recognized by organizations that funded his research.

“George was the first member of the Lynch School faculty to earn an endowed chair [the Geoffrey T. Boisi Professorship in Education and Public Policy, established in 1990] and he played an essential role in moving our School of Education into the top tier in the US,” said Pullin. “He was one of our early very active researchers and successful grant seekers.”

A native of Worcester, Mass., Dr. Madaus held an enduring appreciation for the work of classroom teachers, according to Walsh.

“He had enormous respect for teachers,” said Walsh. “He always said it was the hardest job, the most important job.”

Dr. Madaus earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross, a master’s degree from Worcester State College, and his doctorate in education from Boston College. His six children all went on to graduate from BC.

“[He] had a deep and undying love for Boston College,” said Pullin.

Speaking with Chronicle upon his retirement as a full-time faculty member in 2004, Dr. Madaus described his decision to teach at BC as “a no-brainer.” But he acknowledged that at one time he’d had misgivings about coming to BC: Working in Ireland on a project in 1971, he was alarmed by reports of the University’s mounting financial difficulties.

”I didn't know if I was going to have a place to come back to,” he recalled. “I was thinking maybe I should have taken that job in Chicago [at University of Chicago, where he’d also been offered a position]."

He marveled at the extensive period of growth that took place at BC during the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, an era of excellence that seemed to extend to all aspects of BC, from the quality of its students to the maintenance of the campus said Dr. Madaus.

“We have truly become a national university,” he said. “There's no question about that.”

Among his professional activities and honors, Dr. Madaus was vice president of the Measurement and Research Methodology Division of the American Educational Research Association; president of the National Council on Measurement in Education; a visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and St. Patrick’s College in Dublin; a member of the National Academy of Education; and recipient of the E.F. Lindquist Award, in recognition of his body of research in the field of educational measurement.

Dr. Madaus is survived by his wife, Anne; sons George and Joseph and daughters Mary C. Corcoran, Sarah A. Tierney, Martha M. Gowetski and Eileen P. Keane; his brothers William and Edward; and 15 grandchildren.

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Marie McHugh

Dr. McHugh was a professor in, and chair of, the History Department at Newton College of the Sacred Heart in 1975 when the college was acquired by Boston College – an event that Dr. McHugh, in a 1984 interview, called “a shock.” But after moving to BC as A&S assistant dean, she played a key leadership role in integrating Newton College’s Catholic legacy into BC’s Jesuit educational and formational mission, and during her tenure became a mentor to administrators, faculty and students alike.

Speaking at Dr. McHugh’s funeral, former Vice Provost for Faculties Patricia DeLeeuw recalled her longtime colleague and friend as “a calm, reasonable presence, always the problem-solver, always optimistic, and always kind and generous with colleagues and with the thousands of students whose lives she touched.”

 “Marie taught me to be, at once, academic and professional,” said former A&S Honors Program director Mark O’Connor, who was on the program faculty at the time of Dr. McHugh’s appointment. “She could immerse herself in departmental strategic planning but also give equal thought to concerns about students’ needs and interests. This was a person who got things done, no muss, no fuss, but she wasn’t egotistical in any way and was always willing to give others credit.”

Clare Dunsford, who joined A&S as an associate dean in 1997, said, “Marie had everyday common sense, but also a deeper wisdom about life. She was somebody who handled all the responsibilities as dean in such a way that seemed effortless – and in a patient, gracious manner.”

In 1980, Dr. McHugh was appointed as associate dean, and when A&S Dean William B. Neenan, S.J. – who had originally appointed her as assistant dean and would become one of her closest friends at BC, colleagues said – left the school in 1987 to become BC’s academic vice president and dean of faculties, she served as interim dean for the academic year. She resumed her position as senior associate dean when J. Robert Barth, S.J., became A&S dean in 1989.

 Dr. McHugh took on an increasingly higher profile at the University, from working with the A&S Board of Chairs to taking part in the Administrative Officers Council, a forum created in 1997 to discuss institution-wide issues and improve communication regarding major initiatives. Outside of BC, she chaired the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Yet even as she cultivated a reputation as an experienced, valued administrator, Dr. McHugh continued to teach as an adjunct professor of history and in the A&S Honors Program: “I knew when I was in school that all I wanted to do was teach history,” she told The Heights in 1987 when she was appointed A&S interim dean. “I loved it, and I wanted to teach it.”

O’Connor noted that Dr. McHugh’s involvement in Newton College’s Studies in Western Culture program prepared her well for teaching at BC.

“SIWC was one of Newton College’s crown jewels, an integrated program that combined history and literature in ways similar to what we were doing in the Honors Program, so she moved into the classroom here seamlessly. Marie was an historian at heart, and the History Department had a lot of respect for her.”

A native of Waltham and a graduate of Manhattanville College with a bachelor's degree in history and French literature, Dr. McHugh received her master's and doctoral degrees in European history from Harvard University. She was in the vanguard generation of women who sought to fashion careers in higher education while also cultivating lives as spouses and mothers, colleagues said. DeLeeuw related Dr. McHugh’s reminiscence of working on her dissertation while her daughter Cathy was a toddler: “Marie described to me an afternoon at the Widener Library holding Cathy on top of the card catalog with one hand while flipping through cards looking for a reference with the other.”

Although she retired at the end of the 1998-99 academic year, Dr. McHugh regularly visited old friends and colleagues on campus. “Marie would hold a salon, asking about each of us, enjoying our stories of professional victories and challenges, and when prodded, describing for us her golf game, the courses she was teaching in a life-long-learning program at Duke – and with clearly the most pleasure, telling us about the achievements of her grandchildren,” DeLeeuw recalled. 

“Marie was the most mentally healthy person we knew: genuinely happy to hear all the news about BC, but with no regret that she had left it behind.”

Boston College also had a family dimension for Dr. McHugh, whose father, son and granddaughter all graduated from the University.

Dr. McHugh was the widow of Edward J. McHugh and is survived by her husband, Richard Kenney; her children, Cathy Engstrom, Janet Kelly, Edward McHugh and Ellen McHugh; step-children Catherine Kenney Morrison, Richard Kenney, Mary Beth Kenney Sweet, Terence Kenneth and Anne Kenney Utley; her sister Eileen Mullin, and her grandchildren and step-grandchildren.

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Fr. Bill Richardson, S.J.

Professor of Philosophy Emeritus William Richardson, S.J., author of a groundbreaking study on renowned philosopher Martin Heidegger and a faculty member at Boston College for more than a quarter-century, died on Dec. 10 at the age of 96.

Fr. Richardson joined BC in 1981 as arguably the foremost American expert on Heidegger, a seminal thinker in the Continental tradition and philosophical hermeneutics whose Being and Time was regarded as a central philosophical work of the 20th century. In 1963, Fr. Richardson had published his nearly 800-page opus Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought, which contradicted prevailing attitudes about Heidegger.

“Let it suffice to say that in disengaging the sense of foundational thought, we delineate Heidegger’s conception of philosophy as well,” wrote Fr. Richardson in the book’s introduction. “For there is only one philosophical question that interests him, the question about Being and its truth. This is the ‘one star’ – the only – that remains constant along the way. It is, one might think, the evening star that must have caught his eye when, in the gathering darkness of Reichenau, he watched the light go out of the west.”

In a 2010 Boston College Magazine profile on Fr. Richardson, writer William Bole explained that prior to Through Phenomenology to Thought, Heidegger was “treated as an existentialist, someone concerned exclusively with matters of human existence such as anxiety and authenticity.” But Fr. Richardson, he wrote, “revealed Heidegger as a philosopher of being as a whole, someone who probed the very ground or metaphysics of human existence and understanding.”

Fr. Richardson had not come to his assessment of Heidegger simply by reading the philosopher’s works or analyses by other scholars: He had once spoken with Heidegger for four hours at Heidegger’s home in Freiburg, Germany.

During a 2005 interview, Fr. Richardson recalled when he first approached Heidegger about his project. “I figured: ‘Well, what can I lose? He can’t resent my naiveté’...So I screwed up my courage to go speak to him and decided to go in and see him with my broken German. And he was very gracious to me. He could have just dismissed me but didn’t. He really treated me like a mensch, so to speak.”

In fact, Heidegger was quite impressed by his visitor, according to an intermediary, who told Fr. Richardson that after the interview Heidegger had remarked: “Who is this guy? He’s an American, and a Jesuit, and he got me right. Most Europeans get me wrong. How is this possible?” Heidegger wound up contributing the preface to Phenomenology to Thought.

An urban legend later surfaced that the philosopher had actually attended Fr. Richardson’s defense of his doctoral dissertation on Heidegger – and at one point stood up at the back of the lecture room and declared “I think he’s right.”

When asked about this during an interview for the Boston College Magazine story, Bole wrote that Fr. Richardson “chuckled and gave a knowing look. ‘You hold on to that,’ he suggested.”

 After joining the BC faculty in 1981 – he had taught at Fordham University since 1964 – Fr. Richardson continued to teach, write and speak about Heidegger, as well as pioneering psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Jacques Lacan, whom he met on a couple of occasions. In 1982, Fr. Richardson – who in the 1970s had become a certified psychoanalyst and served as director of research at the Austin Riggs Institute for Psychotherapy – co-authored Lacan and Language: A Reader's Guide to the Ecrits.

Colleagues and friends remembered Fr. Richardson as a deeply thoughtful scholar who, while ever engaged in intellectual pursuits, never neglected his role as teacher and mentor.

Professor of Philosophy Arthur Madigan, S.J., spoke of Fr. Richardson’s “intellectual courage” in studying Heidegger and Lacan, as well as his “devotion to students – he would do anything in his power to help them, and they knew it.” Fr. Richardson, he added, also had a strong capacity “for deep and lasting friendship.”

Associate Professor of Philosophy Jeffrey Bloechl said Fr. Richardson’s scholarly work exemplified “what is best and most forceful in the Jesuit tradition, opening itself to even the most challenging intellectual and cultural developments, on the premise that there might well be something true and good in them, and if so, then they cannot be alien from the grace that defines Christian faith.  So likewise his teaching, which has touched generations of students with a vivid commitment to what the cura personalis truly means.”

Kraft Family Professor of Philosophy James Bernauer, S.J., said that Fr. Richardson was “very highly regarded by his graduate students, and many of them became his close friends.”  The two had met in Paris in 1980 when Fr. Bernauer was a graduate student and began spending time together, which afforded Fr. Bernauer an opportunity to see the informal, personal side of Fr. Richardson.

“We were walking around one evening,” said Fr. Bernauer, “and he said something to me at the time that shocked me: ‘Brains, brains, they are a dime a dozen.  But getting people to work together – that is a rare talent.’"

Given his brilliance, Fr. Richardson sometimes had a challenging time establishing a rapport with undergraduates, Fr. Bernauer said, “but he did try to reach them” by staying connected to popular culture: For example, he gave a lecture, "Towards an Ontology of Bob Dylan," later published in the BC journal Philosophy & Social Criticism.

Fr. Richardson retired in 2007 but continued to work as an emeritus faculty member. He moved to the Campion Center in 2012.

A native of Brooklyn, Fr. Richardson was a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1941 at St. Andrew on Hudson in Poughkeepsie, NY, and went on to study at Woodstock College (Md.) and the University of Louvain in Louvain, Belgium. He was ordained in 1953 in Louvain. 

Fr. Richardson also taught at St. Peter’s College in New Jersey and LeMoyne College.

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Fr. Paul A. Messer, S.J

Fr. Paul Messer, SJ, was born in Boston, on Jan. 16, 1936, and grew up in St. Mark’s parish in the Dorchester section of the city. He was one of six sons and one daughter of his father, Edward, a family doctor, and his mother, Anne Murray Messer. He attended parish schools and, in 1949, entered Boston College High School, then in the South End of the inner city. The family spent summers in Scituate, on Boston’s South Shore, an area that acquired the nickname of “the Irish Riviera.” An aunt took him to performances of plays and musicals in Boston’s rich theater scene of those years, which stimulated his life-long interest in music and drama.

When he graduated from BC High, he enrolled at Boston College but, after his first year there, entered the novitiate of the New England Province at Shadowbrook, in West Stockbridge, Mass., on July 30, 1954. His novitiate was unexpectedly interrupted when the building burned to the ground on March 10, 1956, and Paul was one of the group of novices and juniors sent to Wernersville, Pa., the novitiate-juniorate of the Maryland Province. He took first vows and spent two years in juniorate studies there.

In 1958, he began philosophy studies at Weston College and then spent regency teaching at B. C. High (1961-1964). He returned to Weston for theological studies (1964-1968), during the course of which he also pursued graduate studies in English at Boston College, receiving a master’s degree in 1966. He was ordained a priest in 1967. The following year he was assigned to Fairfield Prep to teach English but after a year was moved to the newly founded Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River, Mass. A year later, in 1970, he began doctoral studies in English at the University of Utah but interrupted his program there after only one year. He spent a year (1971-1972) as a campus minister at the University of California Berkeley, and then returned to Bishop Connolly High School for another year of teaching English.

In 1973, Paul went to St. Beuno’s in Wales for tertianship, a year he regarded as a decisive one in his Jesuit life. His instructor was the charismatic Fr. Paul Kennedy, SJ. The house and the Welsh countryside deepened Paul’s love of the poetry of Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ. His prayer confirmed his desire to teach both theology and English literature. When he returned to the U.S., he responded to the need for a campus minister and a theology teacher at St. Francis College, in Biddeford, Maine. After a year there he was assigned to Boston College, where he was to spend most of the rest of his active life as a Jesuit. From 1975 to 1981, he taught theology and English, served for a time as assistant chair of the theology department, and then pursued graduate studies in English full-time for a year.

With the strong encouragement of colleagues in the B.C. English Department, he resumed doctoral studies at the University of Utah in 1981, receiving the doctorate in 1984 with a dissertation on the American novelist and playwright Thornton Wilder. In a tight job market, with no open slots at B.C., Paul was hired by Salve Regina College, in Newport, R.I., where he spent two happy years. But he didn’t like living outside a Jesuit community and moved to B.C. in 1985. Over the next four years he taught in the theology and English departments and was twice drafted to fill vacant slots as associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. From 1989 on, he taught full-time in the English Department and in the Evening College. He was a much appreciated, witty, and thoughtful member of the B.C. Jesuit community, going out of his way, for example, to welcome Jesuit graduate students from abroad. In 2009 a worsening neuro-muscular condition, eventually diagnosed as Parkinson’s, required that he move to Campion Center.

Paul loved poetry, Boston Symphony concerts, Renée Fleming’s voice, and—whenever he could manage it—excursions with a Jesuit friend to New York City for opera and ballet. He had always received rave reviews for both his high-school and college teaching and one of the delights of his final years was keeping in touch with former students and having them visit. His medical condition gradually limited his mobility, weakened his voice, and dimmed his bright smile. He died peacefully during the morning of Oct. 18, 2016. He is survived by his brothers Edward, Richard, Robert, John, and Charles and his sister Barbara Hugo.

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Ritchie Lowry

Ritchie Lowry, a retired professor of sociology who taught at Boston College for 45 years, has died after a long illness. He was 90.

Dr. Lowry was a pioneering expert in the area of corporate social responsibility and socially and environmentally responsible investment, and was founder and president of Good Money Publications, which issued newsletters and handbooks for socially concerned investors.

His other research areas included the sociology of war and the military, social problems and public policy, and community power structures. One of his earlier published works was Who’s Running This Town?, which examined myths and theories of grassroots politics through the lens of small-town society. He also authored or co-published such books as A Citizen’s Guide to Military Force; ​Social Problems: A Critical Analysis of Theory and Public Policy; ​Sociology: Social Science and Social Concern,​ and The Science Society.

Dr. Lowry came to BC in 1966 after having served as a senior research scientist at the U.​S.​Army Special Operations Research Office and lecturer at American University. A year later, he became chairman of the Sociology Department, and along with other faculty members refocused its program on social and economic justice. He also established the department’s doctoral program.

Dr. Lowry’s concern about social issues extended to sometimes unlikely topics. In a 1971 interview with Heights columnist (and future sports journalist) Mike Lupica, Dr. Lowry – who had played football in college – decried what he saw as the professionalization of the college game, as well as a continual tendency by the media, and politicians, to conflate war with football.

“Football is lousy preparation for life,” said Dr. Lowry, repudiating a saying by legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, “In life, you are going to lose a lot more games than you are going to win. Sociologically, Cal Tech, which loses almost all the time, prepares you better for life. They learn to lose and lose gracefully."

Retiring in 2011, Dr. Lowry told the Chronicle that, while he would remain active in his research, he would miss “the opportunity to experience the views and perspectives of different generations of young people. Teaching is also a matter of learning from your students.” BC students, he said, “are generally among the most committed to social and economic justice issues, and they have responded very well to the ideas I have shared with them.”

A World War II veteran who enlisted in the Navy at age 17, Dr. Lowry went on to earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California at Berkeley.

He is survived by his wife, Betty; their children, Peter and Robin; three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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Albert F. Hanwell

Albert F. Hanwell, an alumnus and retired longtime faculty member and associate dean at the Boston College School of Social Work, died on Oct. 3.

Dean Hanwell’s association with the Graduate School of Social Work – as it was then known – went back to its pre-Chestnut Hill days, when the school was housed at 126 Newbury Street in Boston. A 1949 BC graduate, he earned his master’s degree in social work at GSSW in 1952, then returned as a faculty member 10 years later, six years before the school moved to its present campus location.

After the appointment of June Gary Hopps as GSSW dean in 1976, Dean Hanwell took on more administrative responsibilities until he was appointed assistant dean in 1985, then associate dean in 1992. He, along with Hopps, retired in 2000.

Dean Hanwell was credited for working with Hopps to help GSSW become a modern, nationally recognized presence in the social work field. During the Hopps era, the school established a doctoral program – still a rarity at the time among social work schools – and innovative joint degree programs with the Carroll School of Management, Law School and Institute for Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry that promoted the interdisciplinary character of social work. GSSW joined U.S. News & World Report’s top 20 rankings of graduate social work programs, and its faculty ranked 10th in a national study on publication productivity.

In the spring of 2000, then-Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties John J. Neuhauser praised the leadership of Hopps and Dean Hanwell: “What they have achieved is remarkable."

A World War II veteran who served in the Navy, Dean Hanwell was pre-deceased by his wife Ann. He is survived by his sons Neil – an accounting assistant for the University’s Auxiliary Services division – Kevin and John J. Hanwell, S.J., and his daughter Theresa.

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Margaret "Peg" Kenney

Dr. Kenney’s arrival at BC in the 1950s came during a watershed period for the University – she was among the first wave of female undergraduates to study at the Heights – and for the profession that she would enter. Concerns about the quality of American schoolchildren’s mathematics and science education, prompted in part by the Soviet Union’s launch of its Sputnik satellite in 1957, spurred national initiatives to strengthen math and science teaching.

Boston College would figure prominently in the efforts to reshape mathematics education, and Dr. Kenney – starting out at a time when women constituted only six percent of math Ph.D.s – would play an important role in preparing generations of future teachers at BC and elsewhere.

A Boston native and daughter of a 1930 BC alumnus, Dr. Kenney entered BC in 1953 as a member of the School of Education’s second class, but – heeding her teacher’s words of caution – initially decided on French as her major before “coming to my senses” and switching to mathematics, she recalled years later. Needing to catch up on math requirements, she took a summer course taught by Stanley Bezuszka, S.J., a mathematics education pioneer and director of BC’s Mathematics Institute – established to help improve content and instructional practice in mathematics at the pre-college level – who became Dr. Kenney’s mentor.  

After earning a master’s degree in 1959 to go along with her undergraduate degree, Dr. Kenney (who later earned a doctorate from Boston University) joined the School of Education faculty and the Mathematics Institute, as Fr. Bezuszka’s assistant director. In addition to teaching undergraduates, Dr. Kenney was heavily involved in the institute’s projects, providing assistance, instruction or coordination in 49 National Science Foundation-funded programs.

Dr. Kenney – who would later succeed Fr. Bezuszka as Mathematics Institute director – also became a major contributor to her field through her involvement in the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Massachusetts – for which she served as president – and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, where she was on its board of directors. Dr. Kenney directed an NSF-funded NCTM project to train teachers in the instruction of discrete mathematics, which emphasizes data-gathering and problem-solving skills; the project reached thousands of grade 7-12 teachers and students.

Reflecting on her career in a 2013 Chronicle interview shortly before she retired, Dr. Kenney said, “In effect, my world has been defined by BC – personally and professionally. Many of the friends I have had from my undergraduate days remain close friends now. Spiritually, Boston College has been a trusted source for deepening my faith. Professionally, the Mathematics Institute pursuits afforded me the opportunity to work with teachers and students of all levels in this country and abroad for many years. A large number of these pre-service and veteran teachers became cherished lifelong friends.  I am forever grateful to BC for all this.”

In retirement, Dr. Kenney remained active professionally, working on a history of the Mathematics Institute for the University Archives and a new edition of a resource book for mathematics educators she had co-authored with Fr. Bezuszka.

Among many other honors Dr. Kenney received during her career, one was especially fitting: the inaugural Rev. Stanley J. Bezuszka, S.J., Achievement Award for Excellence in the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics from the ATMM.

“For decades, Peg mentored, monitored and directed mathematics education locally, regionally and nationally,” said Joseph Caruso, an ATMM board member, on the news of Dr. Kenney’s death. “Countless educators were nourished by her wisdom, understanding, expertise and leadership. How lucky we have been for well over five decades to have had Peg’s inspirational leadership, dedication and devotion to mathematics education.”

Even as Dr. Kenney tackled mathematics education issues on a national scale, her BC colleagues said, she showed equal care and concern for the BC community and her department in particular.

“I can remember Peg arguing, with quiet force, that we always needed to remember the students,” said Professor of Mathematics William Keane. “She pushed for smaller class sizes, for more options in our electives, and for innovation in teaching methods. Even as the department grew from a small group with primarily a service mission to an internationally recognized research center, we have maintained our dedication to the undergraduate program, due in no small part to Peg’s efforts.

“She was always willing to listen, and to offer concrete and unerringly helpful suggestions. There remains a tradition among math faculty of taking teaching seriously, of discussing ideas and techniques; it’s a spirit Peg helped instill.”

“She touched me personally as she touched everyone concerned with the math education of young people,” said McIntyre Professor of Mathematics Solomon Friedberg, the department chair. “Peg had great wisdom, a tremendous appetite for working to improve math education, and a big heart.”

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Gerard C. O'Brien, S.J.

Gerard C. O’Brien, S.J.  Gerry was born in Stoneham, Massachusetts, on October 29 th , 1928, but his  family lived on the west side of Malden and he was brought up there, in the  Immaculate Conception Parish, with a younger sister and brother, Virginia and Tom.  His father was descended from 19 th -century Irish immigrants, his mother from a  French-Canadian/Irish family on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Like many local  families, his parents had a difficult time economically during the Depression and  prosperity only came with World War II, when his father worked in the Boston Navy  Yard.  Gerry attended local parish grammar and high schools. Graduating in 1945,  he just missed military service and entered the College of the Holy Cross in  September of that year. Studying the classics course and already thinking about the  priesthood, he talked regularly with a Jesuit, Fr. Larry Foran, who encouraged him  to try the novitiate. In 1946, the summer after his first year of college, he entered  Shadowbrook.  He did not find the novitiate easy. “I kept wondering when the magical day  was going to come when I would start liking it,” he later said, with the honesty that  was a lifelong characteristic. But he worked at it with determination and after a  while became quite happy. “I developed a real enthusiasm for following Christ in my  life in whatever he wanted me to do.” Juniorate studies were a delight and had a  permanent influence, he said, on his later homilies and retreats.  He had the good fortune to arrive at Weston for philosophy studies in 1950,  when younger faculty members like Reggie O’Neill were just beginning efforts to  break away from the manual approach of the veteran faculty, and he developed a  love for the subject. He spent three years of regency (1953-1956)) teaching Greek,  Latin, and English at the old B.C. High in Boston, then was sent to Woodstock for  theology studies and was ordained a priest there, in 1959. Tertianship followed, a  year later, at Pomfret, in Connecticut.  He was thirty years old, he said, and didn’t really know what he wanted to do.  His love for philosophy had been rekindled while reviewing for his ad grad exam at  the end of theology studies. Superiors, though, were reluctant to send him directly  to doctoral studies—perhaps, he thought, because of some signs of psychological  troubles that had emerged during his theology studies—and assigned him instead to  Boston College, to teach philosophy. He loved the challenge of making abstruse  concepts intelligible to undergraduates and found himself rethinking many of the  things he had learned. After two years at B.C. he asked again to go to doctoral  studies, was approved, and began work at Fordham in 1963. He settled in and found  his studies agreeable but ran into trouble focusing on a thesis topic, eventually  settling, with the help of Fr. Robert O’Connell, on the early works of Augustine and  producing a disorganized first draft.  The real problem, he was reluctant to admit, was his own heavy drinking. He  returned to B.C., thesis unfinished, and resumed teaching and prefecting in the  residence halls, until Jesuit friends challenged him about his drinking. In the  summer of 1969, he entered the treatment program at the newly opened second  Guest House, in Rochester, Minnesota.  And so began the ministry that most of Gerry’s contemporaries think of when  they remember him. His time at Guest House was a turning point in his life. He  eventually finished his Fordham dissertation, continued to teach philosophy at B. C.,  and very successfully, until he retired from the classroom in 2012, but devoted a  major part of his time to alcoholism counseling, twelve-step programs, retreats, and  being a resource for innumerable Jesuits and lay colleagues who sought help in  dealing with their own problems and those of family and friends. He became a  trustee of Guest House, took on leadership roles in groups within the Society and the  Church that advocated for effective and compassionate treatment of those  struggling with alcoholism, helping to implement the New England Province’s 1970  policy on alcoholism and educate superiors and communities about its value.  In the oral history he dictated a few years before his death, he reflected on  some of the things he had learned from the struggles of his life. “When I was  growing up, everybody thought you had to be Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy  of the radio program. I knew that wasn’t me—that wasn’t anybody, of course. If you  help people develop a belief in the grace of God operating in all the circumstances of  their lives, even though the circumstances are both good and bad, that helps people  to accept God’s love in their lives. I think I am more open to understanding other  people’s difficulties and negativities, since I have seen my own up close.”  In 2012, Gerry moved to Campion Center. He continued his counseling work  and even shortly before his death traveled to give retreats. In the early morning of  August 24 th , 2015, he died peacefully in his sleep. 

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John Jensen

A memorial service was held August 6 at Christ Episcopal Church in Needham, Mass. for John Jensen, a retired Lynch School of Education professor whose research and expertise in metrics extended beyond Boston College. Dr. Jensen died on July 7 at age 78.  John Jensen Dr. John Jensen. Dr. Jensen joined the Lynch School faculty in 1965, and taught a variety of courses in research design, statistics, data analysis, computer programming, psychometrics and test construction. He also served as director of the University Computing Center, and on the Faculty Grievance Committee. He retired in 2002.  In 1978, Dr. Jensen became president of Metrics Associates Inc., which provides data analysis, program evaluation, measuring instrument development and other related services to public and private education institutions and programs in greater Boston. That year, he began a long and rewarding collaboration with the Inter-Hospital Study Group for Anesthesia Education to produce, distribute, score and generate reports for Anesthesia Knowledge Test series. The AKT series is currently administered annually to more than 1,500 residents in anesthesia in 140 medical schools internationally.  Lynch School Professor Larry Ludlow, chair of the Educational Research, Measurement and Evaluation Department in which Dr. Jensen worked, praised his colleague in an online tribute.  “He was one of the first faculty to warmly welcome and guide me when I started at BC fresh out of grad school and totally unprepared for academic life.  [John] was a great mentor in teaching (don't teach the book – anyone can do that – teach what you know); service (this is a great life we have, give back to the University and students); and research (be humble – how important is that paper to anyone other than yourself?).”  A native of Rochester, NY, Dr. Jensen graduated from Cornell University and earned his doctorate in education from the University of Rochester. 

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Edward B. Smith

SMITH, Edward B., PhD. Of Lexington, formerly of Needham, April 10, 2016, age 87, popular Teacher and Dean of Undergraduate Students at Boston College for many years. Known also for his complete devotion to his wife, Ursula. They met on her birthday in 1988 at a support group for men and women who had lost a spouse. Two years later, they were married at St. Catherine's Church in Westford. It was a fairy tale marriage: happy, funny, and a life-time of joyous memories. Prof. Smith earned PhD. from the University of Chicago in 1962, then taught in Jesuit high schools and colleges for many years. Prof. Smith's first wife, Sharon Clare, died in 1987, after six months of sickness. 

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Raymond G. Helmick, S.J.

Raymond G. Helmick, S.J.  Raymond Helmick was born on September 7 th , 1931, in Arlington,  Massachusetts, a western suburb of Boston, and grew up there. His  father had come from Midwestern German Lutheran stock; his mother  had been born in Boston, the daughter of Irish immigrants. Ray was the  second of three children. His sister Marie was the oldest; his brother  Bill, six years younger, became a diocesan priest. Ray attended St. Agnes  Parish schools through the ninth grade and then transferred to Boston  College High School. He graduated in 1949 and entered the  Shadowbrook novitiate on his 18 th birthday.  It turned out he would enter the Society twice. The first time he  developed a stomach ulcer during his primi year and, because there had  been a spate of ulcer diagnoses in the novitiate, superiors decided that  first-year novices so afflicted would be sent home. Ray was determined  to re-apply, however, and he entered Shadowbrook again in February,  1951. This time proved more auspicious and his novitiate and juniorate  years passed uneventfully. After philosophy studies at Weston (1954-  1957), he spent regency teaching history and religion at St. George’s  College in Kingston, Jamaica (1957-1960).  He did theology studies at Sankt Georgen, in Frankfurt, Germany,  and was ordained a priest in the Frankfurt cathedral in August 1963. He  returned to the U.S. the following year for tertianship at Pomfret,  Connecticut. As was the custom with men assigned to the missions, he  returned to Jamaica and St. George’s.  Here, Ray’s future work with social and political structures and  conflict-resolution initiatives began to take shape. In walks through  Kingston this blond, precisely spoken, reserved, very white man got to  know a number of Rastafarians, a bible-oriented group of urban and  rural poor often demonized in Jamaican society. He became something  of a sympathetic friend, representing them to government agencies and  writing in positive terms about them in the Jamaican press.  Expecting to teach at the Kingston seminary, Ray left Jamaica in  1967 to pursue graduate studies in ecumenical theology at Union  Theological Seminary and Columbia University. In the summer of 1972  he led a group of theology students to Belfast, a city notable then for its  sectarian conflicts. The visit proved life-changing, he said. Driving a  rental car around the group’s work sites and talking to everybody as he  went, he established friendships with people on all sides of the religious  and political troubles. Perceiving that the problems were less religious  than economic, Ray set about bringing groups together to address one  key issue, job development. He agreed to lead an effort to persuade  American and British companies to establish manufacturing facilities in  neighborhoods accessible to both Protestant and Catholic populations,  whose safety would be guaranteed by both government and IRA  factions. This occupied much of his time during his last year at Union.  When he left Union in 1973 he moved to London, where he set up  an ecumenical center focused on conflict resolution (he preferred the  Mennonite term “conflict transformation”), a joint ministry of the Irish  and British Jesuit provinces. Dialogue and correspondence with key  political and religious leaders in the patient search for solutions to  apparently intractable problems became the center of his work over the  next four decades—in Ireland, Lebanon, Kurdish Iraq, Israel, Palestine,  and the Balkans. It was necessarily a hidden apostolate, as it often  involved figures whose names would otherwise grab headlines, in many  of the world’s hot spots—simply applying the principles of Ignatian  discernment, he described it.  From 1982 to 1985 he was based at NGOs in Washington. Then  he moved to Boston College, where for the next seventeen years he  continued his conflict-resolution work while teaching related courses in  the theology department and at St. John’s Seminary. He made firm  friendships in ecumenical circles in Boston’s theological schools. In  2002-2004 he served as senior associate at the Center for Strategic & amp;  International Studies, in Washington.  Ray had a lifelong interest in music, architecture, and other art  forms. When he graduated from B.C. High he had been offered a piano  scholarship at the New England Conservatory but chose the Jesuit  novitiate instead. In his years of graduate study at Union he relaxed by  building a harpsichord. When he returned to Boston, his artistic  interests blossomed again. Some time before, his brother Bill had  become pastor of St. Theresa’s, a large parish in the heavily Catholic  West Roxbury section of Boston, and was now renovating the church.  Ray built a magnificent free-standing tabernacle of gilded and  polychromed wood, modeled on 15 th -century examples at Louvain.  Then he began work on a mosaic of Christ healing, for a wall next to a  handicapped ramp at the church. A large mosaic of St. Theresa was  unfinished when he died.  Illness brought him to Campion Center in 2012. He continued as  many of his activities as health allowed (even teaching on a part-time  basis at B.C. until 2015), but the last years of his life were marked by a  series of complications and hospitalizations. He seemed to rally from  each with his characteristic cheerfulness, patience, and wit intact, but  his body was slowly giving out.  Just after Easter, his brother Bill had major surgery and the  superior at Campion invited him to recuperate there. Meanwhile Ray  had been hospitalized again. The two brothers arrived at Campion  within a day of each other and occupied nearby rooms. Family  members gathered for a lunch celebrating Ray’s upcoming 85 th birthday.  Three days later, his conditioned worsened and Ray was anointed.  Cardinal Sean O’Malley came to pray at his bedside. He died peacefully  in the early morning of April 21 st , 2016.

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Donald J. Plocke, S.J.

Don Plocke was born on May 5 th , 1929 in Ansonia, a small town northwest of  New Haven, Connecticut, where his grandfather had been one of the founders of the  Lithuanian parish. Don was the first child of Joseph and Stella (Loda) Plocke. A  sister, Joyce, was four years younger. His father worked as a machinist for a  manufacturer of heavy machinery. His mother was an accomplished amateur  photographer. Don grew up there, attended local Catholic schools through the 9 th  grade, and was a Mass server from early childhood. During his high-school years, at  Ansonia’s public school, he developed a strong interest in physics and won a college  scholarship funded by an Ansonia industrialist for a local graduate. He entered Yale  in 1946.  At Yale two experiences shaped his future. He got a work-study job in the lab  of one of the pioneers in the field of biophysics. And one day, thinking about  whether he should go on to graduate school, he quite unexpectedly found himself  asking, “What if you should become a priest?” Conversations with the only Jesuit he  knew, a graduate student in education from the Philippines, led him to apply to the  New England Province and he entered the Shadowbrook novitiate the year he  graduated from Yale, 1950.  After first vows and a year of juniorate, he spent three years in philosophy  studies at Weston. Then the decision was made that he should pursue a doctoral  degree in biophysics. M.I.T. accepted him and once again he found an influential  mentor, at one of the top Boston hospitals, to guide his studies. He spent the next  five years (1956-1961) living in the largely graduate-student community on  Newbury St. in Boston’s Back Bay and walking back and forth across the Charles  River to his work at M.I.T. or across Kenmore Square to the Brigham. Degree in  hand, he returned to Weston for theology studies. He was ordained a priest at  Weston in 1964 and, a year later, requested to do tertianship at Muenster, Germany,  which had the plus of enabling him to spend time at the end of that year in the lab of  a Nobel Prize winner in biophysics.  In 1966 he began his long association with Boston College as an assistant  professor in the Biology Department. He began teaching undergraduates and  supervising master’s and doctoral students, established his lab, won grants for his  research in molecular biology from the American Cancer Society, and produced a  string of publications. In the early seventies he served five years as chairman of the  department, which he found stressful, as the department was seriously divided as to  what its focus should be. His research suffered during his tenure as chair but a  summer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and a sabbatical at a research  center in Switzerland enabled him to re-focus his work and complete a project in an  unfamiliar area of molecular biology that had captured his interest. In his later  years he acknowledged that he found his greatest joy in teaching and advising his  students. For B.C.’s Capstone Program, an array of courses for seniors that  encourage them to connect what they have learned in their undergraduate years  with their plans for the future, he developed a course about the relationship  between religion and science, with the aid of a grant from the Templeton  Foundation. He spent a sabbatical at Oxford working on this topic and taught the  courses through the last years of his working life.  In 2011, a diagnosis of cancer led to his being assigned to Campion Center.  Increasingly limited physically and confined to a wheelchair, he was typically found  at his laptop, praying or pursuing his interests in science and religion. In late  February 2016 a series of hospitalizations led to his declining further treatment and  he died peacefully during the evening of March 5 th , 2016. 

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John Fitzgerald, English

FITZGERALD, Professor John J, age 96, of Millis, Sat March 26, 2016. He was Beloved husband of Margaret (Zack) Fitzgerald, loving father of Christopher Fitzgerald of Millis, Terence Fitzgerald and his wife Jacquelyn of Milton, Paul Fitzgerald and his wife Diane of Groton, and John ‘Jack’ Fitzgerald and his wife Loretta of Millis. Also survived by 5 Grandchildren. 

John was the son of the late Richard and Catherine (Sheehan) Fitzgerald. He had two sisters; Mary and Margaret, and two brothers; Richard and William. He attended and graduated from Malden Catholic High School and received his Ph.D. from Fordham University.

A Millis resident from 1959, he was an active communicant of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Millis where he was a lay minister of the Eucharist and a lector for many years.

He retired after over 50 years of employment as an Associate Professor of English Literature at Boston College. He was a popular Professor and would weave family stories into his lectures over which he labored to keep fresh and interesting. He corrected students’ double-spaced papers armed with a red pen and would re-write their poorly written sentences and correct their grammatical errors so they could improve their writing skills on their next papers. Depending on the student, there could be as much red ink as the original. He corrected the worst papers first, and stayed up late to correct all of them so they could be returned in time to benefit the students’ next assignments. He loved his best writers, delighted in recognizing students’ improvements, and savored the best original metaphors students at any writing skill level might form. Thousands of BC students learned to write properly under his dedicated tutelage.

He was a scholar. Words were earnestly traced back to their roots in Middle English, Old English, the Romance languages, Latin and Greek. He translated ancient Greek and Latin to English but not just into direct and literal translations but into beautiful English sentences reminiscent of the writings of the founding Fathers. He spent months studying Spanish in Mexico and for a time was the English Department’s official liaison to Spanish-speaking students. He had many friends at Boston College and reveled in contributing to the intellectual banter among the professors.

He was a traveler. In 1967 for sabbatical he took his family of six to Europe. The trip started aboard the original ocean liner, The Queen Elizabeth. Upon landing in Cork, he had an unexpectedly week-long stop at an Irish Bed & Breakfast while son Terry’s appendix was removed. He was skilled with words, but was not mechanically or athletically gifted and was exasperated driving his big American car on the wrong side of the road in the busy city of London. In fact, driving in any major city was like being in the crater of Mt. Vesuvius –hot magma on the inside with vents of steam issuing forth, which delighted the four boys and that only served to raise the emotional temperature in the car even higher. Nevertheless, he persevered and brought the family to other cities including Paris, Munich, Stuttgart, Vienna, Venice, Florence, Rome and finally to Naples where the ocean liner The SS Rotterdam was waiting. In 1969, he took just his wife for a trip to Spain and Portugal. In 1973 he took his wife and son Paul for a five week trip behind the Iron Curtain.  He became an avid camper, towing a pop-up trailer for lengthy family vacations to Florida, cross-country to the West Coast, and trips to Canada. Stays at the National Parks were his favorites, with regular camping trips to the Shakespeare Festival with just his wife a close second. After his official retirement, he and his wife took trips to Greece, Russia, India, and China. And after each day of traveling, no matter how weary he was, he would write in his hardcover journal the events of the day. He recently read his old journals.

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Radu Florescu, History

Boston College History Professor Emeritus Radu Florescu, co-author of the bestseller In Search of Dracula, which revealed the historical identity of the legendary Dracula for the first time, died in France on May 18 at age 88. He had taught at Boston College for 45 years.

Dr. Florescu and the late Raymond T. McNally, also a professor in the Boston College History Department, published In Search of Dracula in 1972. Their book, which was researched in Romania under a Fulbright grant, was the first to identify Vlad Tepes, a 15th century prince, as the Dracula of literature. Vlad Tepes was known as Vlad the Impaler for impaling his enemies on stakes. Dr. Florescu also located Vlad Tepes’ castle in the Transylvanian Alps. The book garnered the writing duo international fame, landing Dr. Florescu on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”

Dr. Florescu and the late Raymond T. McNally, also a professor in the Boston College History Department, published In Search of Dracula in 1972. Their book, which was researched in Romania under a Fulbright grant, was the first to identify Vlad Tepes, a 15th century prince, as the Dracula of literature. Vlad Tepes was known as Vlad the Impaler for impaling his enemies on stakes. Dr. Florescu also located Vlad Tepes’ castle in the Transylvanian Alps. 

The book garnered the writing duo international fame, landing Dr. Florescu on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”

Originally banned in Romania, In Search of Dracula was only made available in that country after the fall of Communism. The book has since been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Dr. Florescu and Dr. McNally authored several other books: Dracula Prince of Many FacesThe Complete DraculaThe Essential DraculaDracula: A Biography of Vlad the Impaler, and In Search of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dr. Florescu also wrote In Search of Frankenstein and In Search of the Pied Piper, among other books and scholarly articles.

Born in Bucharest, Dr. Florescu was the son of a Romanian diplomat. He left Romania at age 13 at the outbreak of World War II. At the heart of Dr. Florescu’s academic study of Dracula was a desire to shine a light on Romania and Eastern Europe. For many years, he directed the East European Research Center at Boston College. He organized symposia and cultural events celebrating Romanian heritage. He also donated hundreds of books on Romanian history to Boston College. He advised the late US Senator Edward Kennedy on Romanian affairs and the US State Department during the reign of communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu. In 1996, Dr. Florescu was appointed Honorary Consul of Romania for New England. In this capacity, he oversaw the presidential and parliamentary voting by Romanians living in the Greater Boston area.  In 2004, he was invited by President Bill Clinton to attend the White House ceremony when Romania was granted membership to NATO.

Tributes to Dr. Florescu have come from throughout the international community. On behalf of King Michael of Romania, the palace issued the following statement, “Through his work, Professor Florescu built a bridge between Romania and the United States, giving Romanian history a drop of universality.”

"In the past century, no American has educated more Americans about Romania -- and Dracula -- than Professor Florescu. I was lucky to be one of his grateful students," said former US Ambassador to Romania Jim Rosapepe.

Dr. Florescu graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oxford. He earned a doctorate from Indiana University. He joined the Boston College faculty in 1953 and taught in the History Department until his retirement in 1998.

Dr. Florescu’s last public appearance at Boston College was in the fall of 2013 for a book signing for his newest publication, co-authored with Matei Cazacu, Dracula’s Bloodline: A Florescu Family Saga, which tells the story of the links between the Florescus of Romania and Vlad the Impaler.

Dr. Florescu is survived by his wife, Nicole, his children Nicholas ‘74, John ‘76, Radu ‘83 and Alexandra Lobkowicz ’85, and 13 grandchildren.

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Marjory Gordon, CSON

A funeral Mass was celebrated Monday in St. Ignatius Church for Professor Emerita Marjory Gordon, a Connell School of Nursing faculty member for 23 years and an internationally recognized expert on the development of standardized nursing language, who died on April 29.

Dr. Gordon was the creator of the Eleven Functional Health Patterns (FHP), which has provided generations of nurses with a format for patient diagnosis. Her groundbreaking work in clinical reasoning and nursing language development was credited with giving nurses a voice in patient care outcomes and leading to the adoption of nursing language in the emerging area of electronic medical recordkeeping.

She published four books, including the Manual of Nursing Diagnosis, which is in its 12th edition and has been translated into almost a dozen languages, and lectured to nurses and educators on nursing diagnosis and FHP in Japan, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Singapore, Australia, Brazil, and throughout Central America.

In 1982, Dr. Gordon became the first president of NANDA, the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association. She was principal investigator on research projects involving nursing processes and nursing diagnoses, and co-director of a US Public Health Service Grant to improve nurses’ diagnostic and ethical reasoning.

Dr. Gordon, who retired from the Connell School in 1996, was a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, which in 2009 honored her as a Living Legend of the Academy. Speaking at the award ceremony, her Connell School colleague Professor Sister Callista Roy said, “She began this work [of creating a common nursing language] when computers were just starting. And, now this is the basis for the nursing component of the electronic medical record. I think she’s a role model for all us. She is constantly raising the standards and the clarity of nursing diagnosis so as to give nursing a voice and visibility in health care.”
Sister Roy said that because of Dr. Gordon’s work, “nursing as a discipline is stronger in the US and around the world.”

Among many other honors, Dr. Gordon was presented with the Mentor’s Award from NANDA-International, and was among the members of the inaugural class of NANDA International Fellows inducted in 2012. In a tribute to Dr. Gordon on its website last week, NANDA-International called her “an ever-present voice for standardized nursing diagnoses that would support clinical decision making.

“The fact that she insisted on diagnostic criteria to support that critical thinking – before the introduction of technology or electronic health records – is a testament to her vision as well as her awareness of the need for accuracy in diagnosis to drive quality, safe patient care.”

She also received the Massachusetts Nurses Association Education Award; Japanese Society for Nursing Diagnosis’ Distinguished Service Award, and the Massachusetts Association of Registered Nurses Living Legend Award.

Dr. Gordon earned bachelor of science and master of science degrees from Hunter College, City University of New York and a doctoral degree from Boston College.

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Carol Petillo, History

A memorial service was held on April 2 at Union Church in Vinalhaven, Me., for retired Professor of History Carol M. Petillo, who died on March 26. She was 74.

Dr. Petillo’s teaching and research interests focused on American foreign policy and military history. She taught a popular course on the Vietnam War that included classroom visits by veterans. Her publications included Douglas MacArthur: The Philippine Years, which examined the legendary general’s experiences in the Philippines prior to the beginning of World War II; the book was among the sources used for the film “MacArthur” shown on the PBS “American Experience” series.

A native of Mannington, WV, Dr. Petillo earned her undergraduate degree at Montclair State College and her graduate degrees at Rutgers University. She joined the BC faculty in 1979 and retired in 2002.

She is survived by her husband, Wayne Cooper; children John Joseph Petillo II, Christopher David Petillo, Anna Maria Petillo and Joseph Ralph Petillo; and six grandchildren.

Gifts in her memory may be made to the Humane Society of Knox County, PO Box 1294, Rockland, Me. 04841, or to the Islands Community Medical Services, PO Box 812, Vinalhaven, Me. 04863.

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Kenneth Schwartz, CSOM

Funeral services were held on Sept. 6 at Stanetsky Memorial Chapel in Brookline for retired Carroll School of Management Associate Professor of Accounting Kenneth Schwartz, who died Sept. 3. He was 65.

Dr. Schwartz taught at the Carroll School from 1986 until his retirement at the end of last academic year, and served as chairman of the Accounting Department from 1990-94. He also taught at Boston University.

Widely praised for his teaching, Dr. Schwartz also was well regarded for his research on the regulation of public companies and enforcement actions relating to financial statement manipulation and audit failure. He served as an accounting expert in litigation cases involving complex transactions and structured business arrangements and their compliance with generally accepted accounting principles.

Dr. Schwartz wrote on the analysis of financially distressed firms, business restructuring and sell-off activities, and the resolution of accounting disputes with auditors, and published articles in prestigious management journals such as The Accounting Review, Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, Journal of Financial Economics, and Academy of Management Journal.  

He is survived by his wife, Julia Heskel; his daughters, Alyson Strianese and Karly Servais; his sister Judith Rosenthal, and his grandson Matthew Servais.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Schwartz Strianese Fund for Esophageal Cancer Research at Dana Farber Cancer Institute at

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Ray Biggar, English

Raymond Biggar Died peacefully and with dignity at home in Saco on Wednesday, September 30, after a long illness. Ray grew up in Saco. A member of the Class of 1948 at Thornton Academy, he was class president his senior year. He graduated in 1952 from Bowdoin College with an A.B. in English, and in 1953 from Harvard University with a Master of Arts in Teaching. He taught at Scituate High School, Scituate, MA and Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, MA, before entering the doctoral program in English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1961. He taught Medieval English literature, the History of the English Language, and English as a Second Language for Foreign Students in the English Department at Boston College for over 40 years, retiring in 2000. In 2011, he moved to Saco to an independent living cottage at Atlantic Heights. He enjoyed the Atlantic Heights Cottage Residents Community, especially Monday morning Men's Discussion Group. Raymond is survived by his wife of fifteen years, Cynthia Bland-Biggar, who currently serves as Pastor of the Standish Congregational Church, UCC in Standish; by sons Robert Biggar (Angela) of Setauket, NY and James Biggar (Stephanie Boutin) of Arlington, MA and by his grandchildren Andrew, Jeremy, Talia and Emily Biggar; by three stepchildren from his first marriage, Michael Herz (Jean Roiphe), Jonathan Herz (Carolyn) and Margaret Albright (John) and their families. He is also survived by his sister Ruth B. Claypool of Acton, MA; by several nieces, a nephew and 8 step grandchildren Daniel, Zachary and Rachel Herz-Roiphe; Ethan and Seth Herz; and Kate "Sam", Emma and Jake Albright. He was predeceased by his brother Robert Watson Biggar, Jr. (Bob). Ray will be sadly missed by his beloved Border Collie dog, Sophie (whom he walked daily until Friday, September 25) and by his cat companion, Lily.

The Biggar family wishes to acknowledge with gratitude the excellent care provided by Dr. Kurt Ebrahim and Danielle Bowen NPC and the staff at New England Center for Cancer Medicine; by Cecile Roy R.N., and other staff members at the Ambulatory Care Unit of Southern Maine Health Care Center; and by Hospice of Southern Maine. A memorial service will be held at 11a.m. on Saturday, October 3, 2015 at Standish Congregational Church, UCC 25 Oak Hill Road, Standish. A graveside service will be held at the Biggar family plot in Laurel Hill Cemetery at 2 p.m. the same day. Dennett, Craig and Pate Funeral Home, 365 Main Street, SACO is in charge of the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Ray's memory to Thornton Academy, 438 Main Street, Saco, ME 04072; Bowdoin College Scholarship, 4500 College Station, Brunswick, ME 04011;or to Standish Congregational Church, UCC, 25 Oak Hill Road, Standish, ME 04084.

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Ray Biggar, English

Raymond Biggar Died peacefully and with dignity at home in Saco on Wednesday, September 30, after a long illness. Ray grew up in Saco. A member of the Class of 1948 at Thornton Academy, he was class president his senior year. He graduated in 1952 from Bowdoin College with an A.B. in English, and in 1953 from Harvard University with a Master of Arts in Teaching. He taught at Scituate High School, Scituate, MA and Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, MA, before entering the doctoral program in English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1961. He taught Medieval English literature, the History of the English Language, and English as a Second Language for Foreign Students in the English Department at Boston College for over 40 years, retiring in 2000. In 2011, he moved to Saco to an independent living cottage at Atlantic Heights. He enjoyed the Atlantic Heights Cottage Residents Community, especially Monday morning Men's Discussion Group. Raymond is survived by his wife of fifteen years, Cynthia Bland-Biggar, who currently serves as Pastor of the Standish Congregational Church, UCC in Standish; by sons Robert Biggar (Angela) of Setauket, NY and James Biggar (Stephanie Boutin) of Arlington, MA and by his grandchildren Andrew, Jeremy, Talia and Emily Biggar; by three stepchildren from his first marriage, Michael Herz (Jean Roiphe), Jonathan Herz (Carolyn) and Margaret Albright (John) and their families. He is also survived by his sister Ruth B. Claypool of Acton, MA; by several nieces, a nephew and 8 step grandchildren Daniel, Zachary and Rachel Herz-Roiphe; Ethan and Seth Herz; and Kate "Sam", Emma and Jake Albright. He was predeceased by his brother Robert Watson Biggar, Jr. (Bob). Ray will be sadly missed by his beloved Border Collie dog, Sophie (whom he walked daily until Friday, September 25) and by his cat companion, Lily.

The Biggar family wishes to acknowledge with gratitude the excellent care provided by Dr. Kurt Ebrahim and Danielle Bowen NPC and the staff at New England Center for Cancer Medicine; by Cecile Roy R.N., and other staff members at the Ambulatory Care Unit of Southern Maine Health Care Center; and by Hospice of Southern Maine. A memorial service will be held at 11a.m. on Saturday, October 3, 2015 at Standish Congregational Church, UCC 25 Oak Hill Road, Standish. A graveside service will be held at the Biggar family plot in Laurel Hill Cemetery at 2 p.m. the same day. Dennett, Craig and Pate Funeral Home, 365 Main Street, SACO is in charge of the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Ray's memory to Thornton Academy, 438 Main Street, Saco, ME 04072; Bowdoin College Scholarship, 4500 College Station, Brunswick, ME 04011;or to Standish Congregational Church, UCC, 25 Oak Hill Road, Standish, ME 04084.

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Peter Airasian

Dr. Peter W. Airasian, of Lexington, SC, formerly of Watertown, Natick and Harwich. Beloved husband of the late Gwendolyn K. (Foley). Loving father of Lynn A. and her husband David P. FitzGerald of NC and Gregory P. and his wife Karen F. of SC. Also survived by three grandchildren and three step-grandchildren. Dear brother of John S. of Watertown and Paul M. of Belmont. Funeral from the MacDonald, Rockwell & MacDonald Funeral Home at 270 Main St., on Rt. 20, Watertown, on Tuesday, April 15th at 8:00 A.M., followed by a Funeral Mass at 9:00 A.M. in St. Luke's Parish, 132 Lexington St., Belmont. Relatives and friends kindly invited. Interment Mt. Auburn Cemetery. Visiting hours Monday, April 14th from 4:00-8:00 P.M. Contributions may be made in Peter's memory to the Campus School at Boston College by visiting or by mailing donations to Boston College Campus School, In Honor of Peter Airasian, 140 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. 

Published in The Boston Globe on Apr. 13, 2014

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Joe Casey

Joe Casey, S.J., Theology

Jesuit Father Joseph H. Casey was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, on Oct. 13, 1917. His father was a laborer and the family, which included an older brother and a younger sister, lived in very modest circumstances. When Fr. Casey was five, the family moved to Flint, Michigan, for two years, but essentially Fr. Casey grew up in St. Patrick’s Parish in Lynn. Fr. Casey contributed to the family income, delivering newspapers and selling eggs and candy door-to-door. When he was 11 he learned caddying at a North Shore golf course and continued doing this through high school, becoming an adept golfer in the process and acquiring what he called “street smarts” about getting along with people and earning money. He went to St. Mary’s Boys High in Lynn and then to Boston College for a year.

In August 1936, he entered the novitiate at Shadowbrook. He said later that at that point he was much more interested in being a priest than a Jesuit and indeed thought that the Jesuit novitiate might eventually lead him to St. John’s Seminary in Boston. But his mother died while he was a second-year novice and the kindness of the Jesuits at St. Mary’s Parish in the North End of Boston, where he stayed for her funeral, led him to “fall in love with the Society.”

His course of studies was typical of the period. After novitiate and juniorate at Shadowbrook, he did philosophy studies at Weston from 1940 to 1943. Regency was at the recently opened Fairfield Prep, from 1943 to 1945. His interest and talent in philosophy was already evident, and he was then sent to Fordham to do a one-year master’s program from 1945 to 1946. He returned to Weston for theology studies and was ordained to the priesthood in June 1949. A year later, he went to Wépion, Belgium, for tertianship. In 1951-53, he was sent to the Gregorian University in Rome, where he earned a doctorate in the customary biennium of studies for men assigned to teach in formation programs.

In 1953, he joined the philosophy faculty of Weston College, teaching natural theology, linguistic analysis and logic. During his Weston teaching years, he audited courses in analytic philosophy at Harvard and at NYU. His Weston teaching ended in the late sixties when the faculty and student body moved to Boston College. Fr. Casey chose to continue living at Weston, in part because he regularly did parish ministry at the local parish, St. Julia’s. He also gave retreats and was sought after as a confessor and spiritual director by religious and diocesan clergy.

In 2005, when he was 87, he was asked to retire from his position at Boston College, and he found an alternative when Blessed John XXIII seminary invited him to teach a course on the thought of Germain Grisez. In the years that followed, he continued to write on Grisez, the philosophical arguments for the existence of God, the natural law and moral theology. He also continued serving at St. Julia’s and other neighboring parishes.

Though in no apparent ill health beforehand, in early February of 2015 he grew noticeably weaker and died peacefully on Feb. 27, eight months short of his 98th birthday. 

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Cmdr Shea

Jack Shea, Classical Studies

A funeral Mass was held March 18 at St. Bartholomew Church in Needham for John R. “Jack” Shea ’58, a former Boston College faculty member who was the recipient of the famous “Letter to Jackie” – a wartime message from his father considered by many as a touchstone of classic American values.

Dr. Shea, who taught part-time in the Classical Studies Department for many years, died on March 14. He was 78.

A native of Arlington who graduated from Boston College High School, Dr. Shea was awarded a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship – which encouraged college students to consider teaching careers at the university level – during his senior year at BC. He later earned his doctorate in classical philology at Harvard University.

But early in his life, Dr. Shea’s education had a uniquely personal, and tragic, dimension. In 1942, with the US at war, his father, Lt. Commander John J. Shea – a former BC football star – prepared to ship out for duty in the Pacific. In June, Commander Shea spoke by phone one last time with his wife and then his five-year-old son. “Daddy,” young Jackie told his father, “you’ll be home in two weeks.”

Sometime after that conversation, John Shea composed a letter to his boy explaining, as best he could, why his absence would extend far longer than two weeks: “Because there are people and countries who want to change our nation, its ideals, form of government and way of life,” he wrote, “we must leave our homes and families to fight.” Protecting America, he told Jackie, “is an honor and a duty which your daddy has to do before he can come home to settle down with you and mother.”

Commander Shea also sought to inculcate in Jackie the virtues of honor and duty to uphold at home, and to offer guidance he believed would benefit Jackie. “Study hard when you go to school. Be a leader in everything good in life. Be a good Catholic and you can’t help being a good American. Play fair always. Strive to win, but if you must lose, lose like a gentleman and a good sportsman. Don’t ever be a quitter either in sports or in your business or profession when you grow up.”

After passing along more such advice, Commander Shea concluded by asking Jackie to pray for his return. “And if it is God’s will that he does not, be the kind of boy and man your daddy wants you to be.”

[The full version can be read at]

On Sept. 15, 1942, Commander Shea was killed in action near Guadalcanal.

But the “Letter to Jackie” ensured that Commander Shea’s memory, like his tribute to American values and beliefs, lived on. The Boston Globe, New York Times and other publications picked up the story and the letter was widely reprinted. After Dr. Shea’s three sisters – all teachers in Boston and Cambridge – shared the letter in their classrooms, copies were distributed for classroom use in Boston schools. Major figures of the day, including Boston Archbishop Richard Cushing, extolled its tone and contents.

A super-destroyer was christened the USS Shea – Dr. Shea and his mother attended the launch – and in 1963 Boston College named its baseball field after Commander Shea. The Burns Library included a copy of the letter in its archives, and over the years became one of its most requested items.

Dr. Shea began teaching ancient Greek and Latin language classes at BC in 1975, and occasionally taught courses on literature and etymology. In 2001, Dr. Shea donated the original Letter to Jackie to BC.

Interviewed by Boston College Magazine in 1991, Dr. Shea, by then himself a father of three, reflected on the letter and its impact. “In the space of several handwritten pages, he put down things that I hope I have communicated to my kids. I think what made the letter so appealing [to the public] is that he took some thoughts which were probably shared by many, and expressed them very directly.”

The fact that these feelings of patriotism and civic values were voiced by a Catholic, he added, was significant at the time, since Catholics were not yet viewed as part of the American mainstream.

In a 2001 Boston Globe story reporting on Dr. Shea’s donation of the letter, University Historian Thomas O’Connor explained the impact it had on wartime America.

“The Allied forces were losing everywhere. Hitler had invaded Russia. The Japanese were taking over the Pacific. People were asking, ‘Where did we go wrong?’ Then this letter came out and reaffirmed all the best values people thought we had lost.”

He added, “Not only is it a historical treasure, it speaks to the values of the college itself in ways we have trouble articulating today. Future generations will profit immeasurably from this.”

BC colleagues said that Dr. Shea enjoyed a successful and productive career as a teacher, researcher and translator. One of his major achievements was his extensive translation, from Renaissance Latin into English, of 16th-century physician Johann Weyer's treatise De praestigiis daemonum, regarded by many scholars – “one of the 10 most significant books of all time,” according to Sigmund Freud – as an important work for Weyer’s encyclopedic grasp of biblical, classic and patristic literature. In addition to translating the book, his colleagues noted, Dr. Shea provided most of the biblical and classical citations for the book's notes.

“Jack was respected and loved because of who he was and how he treated students, colleagues and other people,” said Classical Studies Research Professor Dia Philippides.

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Jacqueline Criscenti

Dr. Jacqueline P. (Penez) Criscenti of Needham, May 24, 2015. Beloved wife of the late Dr. Joseph T. Criscenti. Devoted mother of Louise J. Criscenti of Albuquerque, NM. Also survived by her sister, Lily Ethier of Newton, brother-in-law Sam Criscenti of Michigan, and several nieces and nephews. Jacqueline was born in Woonsocket, RI and graduated suma com laude from Regis College in 1945. She received a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Minnesota in 1954. While a faculty member at Boston College, she married Joseph T. Criscenti, who passed away in 2013. They were married for 56 years. Jacqueline retired from academia as a professor at Regis College. In retirement, Jacqueline continued to enjoy learning mathematics and computer science, combining tours of the country with visits to her daughter, and living among friendly neighbors in Needham. Funeral from the George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, 1305 Highland Ave. NEEDHAM, Friday at 9 am followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Bartholomew Church, Needham at 10 am. Relatives and friends kindly invited. Visiting hours Thursday from 4-8 pm. Interment in Holyhood Cemetery, Brookline. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in Jackie's memory to Regis College, Office of Institutional Advancement & Alumni Relations, 235 Wellesley St., Weston, MA 02493 

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James Murphy, Woods College of Advancing Studies

A memorial Mass be will be held on Nov. 13 for James F. Murphy Jr. ’58, a Korean War veteran turned novelist who taught for 28 years in the Woods College of Advancing Studies. Prof. Murphy died on Sept. 27 after a long illness. He was 83. 

The Mass for Prof. Murphy will take place at noon in Our Lady’s Parish, 573 Washington Street, Newton.

Prof. Murphy was a self-described “dogface” private who fought in Korea with the 7th Infantry Division during the last several months of the war. His experiences as a soldier would serve as an inspiration and basis for his writing, and he went on to publish war-themed novels including Quonsett, Night Watcher, The Mill, They Were Dreamers and The Green Box.

But Prof. Murphy not only wrote; he taught others how to write. His teaching career spanned more than five decades and included stints in South Boston, Hopkinton, Natick, Sandwich – he served as head of the high school’s English Department there – and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where he established the school’s first drama program, as well as at Woods College, where he taught creative writing and Irish literature.

One of Prof. Murphy’s students was Marty Walsh, who graduated from Woods College in 2009 and four years later was elected mayor of Boston.

In 2010, the Woods College established a scholarship in Prof. Murphy’s name, in recognition of his making a difference in the lives of his students.

All the while, Prof. Murphy’s continued to write. His widely published essay “Freedom Village,” an eyewitness account of a prisoner exchange at the end of the Korean War, was submitted by a reader to an anthology of veterans’ stories, Chicken Soup for the Veteran’s Soul, that was released in 2001.

“Freedom Village” was chosen as the lead essay for the anthology. “The editor told me it was a toss-up between me and John McCain,” Prof. Murphy told the Chronicle. 

A few months before his death, Prof. Murphy completed a World War I-era novel titled After They’ve Seen Paree.

A Newton, Mass., native, Prof. Murphy first attended the BC Evening College as a part-time student, but was drafted into the Army in 1952, and shipped out to Korea in the spring of 1953. He took part in the second battle of Pork Chop Hill, on July 4, a little more than three weeks before a truce was signed to stop the fighting.

Prof. Murphy is survived by his wife, Margaret; their children Nina, Joanna Swanson, Ted – who now teaches his creative writing class at the Woods College – Sarah, Courtney and Seton; and two grandchildren. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Scholarship Association of Falmouth, P.O. Box 369, Falmouth, Mass., 02541 with the notation Jim and Margaret Murphy Scholarship.

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Robert Carovillano, Physics

Robert Carovillano, an internationally recognized professor of physics who chaired the department for 13 years during his distinguished 44-year career at Boston College, died on Oct. 15. He was 83.

After earning master’s and doctoral degrees in theoretical physics from Indiana University, Dr. Carovillano – the son of Italian immigrants and first in his family to attend college – joined the Physics Department in 1959 as an assistant professor, and was promoted to professor in 1966; he served as department chair from 1969-82, and retired from BC in 2003. A prodigious scholar, he published numerous articles and books on the magnetosphere, ionosphere, solar wind, and related topics.

Dr. Carovillano pursued numerous professional activities and service in the field beyond BC.  He was a member or chair of numerous advisory committees for the National Academy of Sciences, National Center for Atmospheric Research, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF); he also was an officer and trustee of the Universities Space Research Association, where he twice served as chairman of the Council of Institutions, and an officer of the American Geophysical Union.

Dr. Carovillano was principal investigator on many research grants and contracts funded by the NSF, NASA, the Office of Naval Research, and the Air Force, and was a visiting senior scientist at NASA Headquarters in the Office of Space Science, where he was responsible for the supervision of several programs and research initiatives in space physics. He served on NASA’s Space Science Advisory Committee and reviewed numerous space shuttle and satellite projects.

A native of Newark, NJ, Dr. Carovillano overcame infantile paralysis from polio and was able to enjoy games of stickball in the streets of Newark, and later became an avid squash and tennis player. He was a resident of Needham while at BC, and later moved to Delray Beach, Fla.

He was pre-deceased by his wife, Mary Ann, to whom he was married for more than 30 years. His is survived by his daughters Deborah and Rebecca; his son David; sisters Rae and Geraldine; and eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.  

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John Mahoney, English

Rattigan Professor of English Emeritus John L. Mahoney Sr. ’50, MA'52, H'03, a beloved faculty member, renowned classroom teacher and literary giant at Boston College for more than half a century, died early today after a brief illness. He was 87. [See below for information regarding visiting hours and services.]

The son of Irish immigrants who was raised in a Somerville triple-decker, Dr. Mahoney was a nationally acclaimed Romantics scholar and authority on the works of poet William Wordsworth. He imparted his love and vast knowledge of poetry and literature to thousands of Boston College undergraduates during 47 years of full-time, uninterrupted teaching, earning Massachusetts Teacher of the Year honors in 1989 from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

John Mahoney

John L. Mahoney Sr. (Gary Wayne Gilbert)

"Boston College has been a great part of my life," said Dr. Mahoney in a 2012 interview with the Boston College Chronicle, reflecting on his experiences as a student. “I have always been in love with books and learning, but I wanted my learning to be free and open, capable of revision. I began to get that at Boston College, with teachers who weren’t asking classes to memorize and be ready to repeat, but who would say, 'What’s your opinion of this?' – a real dialogue taking place.”

Dr. Mahoney used dialogue as a central component of his own teaching. “I always saw teaching as a matter of intuition plus preparation,” he told the Chronicle in 2002. “I was a teacher who was always prepared but I was not a formal lecturer. I blended lecture with class discussion in search of an exhilarating presentation.”  

Dr. Mahoney was also known as a prolific writer, editor and essayist, authoring six books and more than 100 published works. His books, including Wordsworth and the Critics: The Development of a Critical Reputation; Seeing Into the Life of Things: Essays on Literature and Religion; William Wordsworth: A Poetic Life; and The Whole Internal Universe: Imitation and the New Defense of Poetry in British Criticism and Aesthetics, 1660-1830, were used in universities throughout the world.

Boston College Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley praised Dr. Mahoney for his teaching gifts and the unique contribution he made as one of the University’s most respected and admired professors. “John Mahoney came to Boston College as an undergraduate in the late 1940s and with the exception of a few years across the Charles River for doctoral work at Harvard in the early 1950s, he has been an essential and beloved member of our intellectual community for nearly three-quarters of a century. He has left his mark on generations of our students and faculty colleagues, elevating the University with his commitment to the transcendent power of literature and the imagination. As we mourn the passing of this remarkable teacher-scholar, we celebrate all that he has meant to so many at Boston College over so many years.”

Added longtime colleague Mary Crane, who succeeded Dr. Mahoney as Rattigan Professor of English, “John Mahoney was at the center of the English Department at Boston College for many years. He was equally devoted to scholarship and teaching; both were a labor of love for him. He was one of those teachers who transform students’ lives, and many students stayed in touch with him over the years. He cherished every note, phone call, and visit that he received from former students. As chair of the English Department at Boston College in the 1960s, he initiated a series of hires that brought promising scholars to BC and moved the department to a new level of excellence.  As a colleague, he set an important example of generous and unstinting service to the department and the University.  John had a wide range of passionate interests, including not just poetry (his great love), but also theater, jazz, travel, and meteorology. He was always eager to discuss any of these topics and to share his enthusiasm for them with his colleagues and students.”  

Joseph Appleyard, SJ, who taught English with Dr. Mahoney early in his career, offered similar praise. “John was a good friend and mentor, a well-respected scholar of Romantic poetry, and one of the architects of the modern English Department's rise to prominence in the field of literary studies. But I suspect the achievement he would be most proud of, other than his long and happy marriage and his accomplished family, would be the generations of students he taught to love poetry."

A fervent believer in the value of higher education, Dr. Mahoney felt strongly that academia should not be insular or aloof. “We have to find ways of articulating what we do in the sciences, in literary criticism, in philosophy, in a language that is accessible to a society hungry for knowledge,” he told Boston College Magazine in 1994.

In 2003, Dr. Mahoney was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Boston College, to go along with his undergraduate and master’s degrees. He also held a doctorate from Harvard University.

The citation for his 2003 honorary degree read, in part: "Outstanding teacher, dedicated university citizen, and renowned Wordsworth authority, he has set a benchmark for faculty quality. His masterful teaching, prolific scholarship, fidelity to Catholic tradition, openness and warmth reflect the Jesuit heritage and unique institutional character he cherishes, breathing new life into classical notions of the humanities and liberal education."

Dr. Mahoney joined the English faculty at Boston College in 1955, serving as chairman from 1962-67 and again from 1969-70. In 1994 he was appointed as the inaugural Thomas F. Rattigan Professor of English. His last class as a full-time professor was chronicled by theBoston Globe in 2002, in an article that described him as “the favorite professor everyoneremembers.” He continued to teach on a part-time basis following his retirement and remained active in the BC community until this past year.

Dr. Mahoney was considered a mentor to dozens of present day academic luminaries who have made their mark at universities nationwide.

Former student Stephen Fix ’74, an 18th-century literature scholar and the Robert G. Scott Professor of English at Williams College, cited Dr. Mahoney as the key influence in his intellectual formation and his decision to pursue a career in academe. “John changed my life,” said Fix. “His example inspired me to want to become a scholar and, especially, a teacher. I’ve met other great teachers in my life, but none is John’s equal. He encouraged me and countless others to see that literature can help us discover our deepest human values and commitments.”  

A gifted classicist and linguist who spoke Latin, Greek and French, Dr. Mahoney also held a deep passion for jazz as well as theater, and is said to have introduced many of his students over the years to the joys of music and theatrical performances.

His numerous honors included the University's Alumni Award for Excellence and the St. Ignatius Medal from Boston College High School, awarded to the school’s most distinguished alumni.

He leaves his beloved wife of 58 years, Ann, three children: John Jr., Patricia and William, all graduates of Boston College, and five granddaughters: Alison Mahoney, Emma Mahoney, Emily O’Brien, Erin O’Brien and Gillian Mahoney. He is also survived by his sisters Margaret P. Mahoney of Lexington, and Mary Louise Hegarty, and her husband, Cornelius, of Belmont.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Professor Mahoney's memory to the Boston College Fund.

--Jack Dunn and Sean Smith, News & Public Affairs