Boston College has lost one of its most dedicated members. Father William Neenan, S.J., passed away on June 25. Father Neenan came to BC in 1979. While here, he served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties and Vice President and Special Assistant to University President William P. Leahy, S.J.
Father Neenan was far more than another administrator. Outside of his official duties, he sought to connect with students and make them feel at home while at BC. He founded the Iowa/Nebraska Luncheon Club, a gathering for students from the Midwest to come together and discuss their shared home. The club became so popular that other regional lunch clubs were formed. Father Neenan also created the popular “Dean’s List of Recommended Reading” each year, a compilation of some of his favorite books.
Father Neenan strove to improve BC in all areas—academics, student life, religious life, financial aid and more. In 2009, BC created the Neenan Society, a group that recognizes all alumni who gave to BC for multiple years. In the group’s first year over 26,000 alumni participated giving to Boston College in recognition of him.
After news of his passing was released, hundreds of people, including students, alumni, colleagues and friends responded to the announcement, reminiscing over his wonderful legacy. People remembered his kindness, his love for the university and his unfailing dedication to the community. Father Neenan described his relationship with BC the best when he said, “I came with the intention of spending just a year here, and I ended up falling in love with Boston College.”
University President William P. Leahy remarked upon the news of his friend’s passing that Neenan “was in some ways the pastor of the campus.” He continued, “There’s been no one here in my time that’s had this kind of engagement with the whole campus.”
Calling hours for Father Neenan will be Monday, June 30, from 4-8 p.m. at St. Ignatius Church. A mass will be held Tuesday, July 1, at 10 a.m. at St. Ignatius Church.