Remembering Stonehill’s Longest Serving President Rev. Bartley MacPháidín, C.S.C. ’59

March 18, 2016


The Rev. Bartley MacPháidín ’59, C.S.C., Stonehill’s eighth and longest serving president passed away on March 17. In recent years, he had been living at Holy Cross House on the grounds of the University of Notre Dame. 

The wake for Fr. MacPháidín on Tuesday, March 29 will still be held in the Chapel of Mary at Stonehill from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. with a Vigil Service at 7:30 p.m.

To accommodate everyone comfortably, the Mass of Christian burial on Wednesday, March 30 at 10 a.m. for former President Bartley MacPháidín has been moved from the Chapel of Mary on campus to Holy Cross Parish at 225 Purchase Street, Easton.

Following Fr. MacPhaidin’s burial at Holy Cross Cemetery on campus, the Congregation of Holy Cross invites mourners to attend a luncheon at the Martin Institute on campus. 

Fr. MacPháidín, 79, took office in 1978 and led the College for 22 years. Under his leadership, Stonehill’s academic reputation grew dramatically and the College’s facilities and endowment were enhanced considerably.  Fr. MacPháidín affected every facet of Stonehill life, including academics, finances, physical plant, community involvement, student life, and public image. 

"Fr. Bartley was a dynamic president.  The College grew dramatically under his leadership.  He rallied alumni and friends to the Stonehill cause and translated that affection into a powerful instrument in moving the College forward. As a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, he was dedicated to the College and that deep commitment was evident in how he transformed the College academically, aesthetically and financially, ” said Stonehill President (Rev.) John Denning, C.S.C.

“Affable and with a natural instinct for making connections and building relationships, Father Bartley always understood the importance of vision and how to secure it, shaping Stonehill into a vibrant community of scholarship and faith."
 Stonehill President Rev. John Denning, C.S.C.

Fr. Denning added, “Affable and with a natural instinct for making connections and building relationships, Father Bartley always understood the importance of vision and how to secure it, shaping Stonehill into a vibrant community of scholarship and faith."

In 1999, Fr. MacPháidín received Stonehill’s Outstanding Alumnus Award in recognition of all that he had achieved for the College.  On the occasion of Stonehill’s golden anniversary, he received the College’s Moreau Medallion in recognition of the important role that he played in Stonehill’s first 50 years. 

As President of Stonehill, he oversaw the construction of many new buildings and facilities, including: the Bartley MacPháidín, C.S.C. Library; the Sally Blair Ames Sports Complex; the Joseph W. Martin, Jr. Institute for Law and Society; John W. Stanger Hall (Lockary Computer Center); Roche Dining Commons; Merkert-Tracy Science Center, and numerous student residence halls.

Fr. MacPháidín was active in the promotion of private higher education at state and federal levels.  He participated in community causes and also maintained a strong interest in Irish affairs. He served on many boards, including those of the American Ireland Fund, Brockton Hospital and Xaverian Brothers High School.  He was also chaplain to the New England Chiefs of Police.

Francis X. Dillon ’70, vice president for advancement, who worked closely with Fr. MacPháidín throughout his tenure, including the College’s first Capital Campaign which raised over $23 million, said Fr. MacPháidín had a uncanny knack for making things happen.

“A gifted and multilingual story teller who was blessed with plenty of Irish charm and a razor sharp intellect, Fr. Bartley had flair and a capacity for making things happen. He did so repeatedly in leading the College but, at the same time, his pastoral outreach was legendary. I might add, he was a very fine cook, especially when preparing wonderful Italian cuisine,” noted Dillon.

In 2002, he received the papal cross, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, from the Vatican in tribute to his service to the Catholic church and to the pontiff.

A native of Donegal, Fr. MacPháidín earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Stonehill in 1959, having been directed to the College by the late Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., the “Rosary Priest.” In 1963, Fr. MacPháidín was ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross.

In addition to his work for the College and for higher education, he maintained a strong interest in Irish affairs and was active in groups such as the Donegal Society and the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton, which named him as their Man of the Year in 1993.

Fr. MacPháidín was the recipient of honorary degrees from the New England School of Law, Bridgewater State College, Rivier College, the University of the Holy Spirit in Beirut, Lebanon, and Yaroslavl State University in Russia.

MacPháidín is survived by his brothers John of Donegal, Tadgh of Dublin, his sister Margaret of Donegal, and many extended family members including his nephew Joseph Barbuto ’85 of Yonkers, New York, and his nieces Claire McFadden ’91 of San Francscio and Marion McFadden  ’91 of Leitrim, Ireland.

In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to The Bartley MacPháidín, C.S.C. Scholarship Fund at Stonehill College, Easton Massachusetts 02357.