Professor Sue Mooney '82 Named Fr. Francis Hurley, C.S.C., Endowed Chair in Biology

March 31, 2016


Professor Sue Mooney

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Joseph Favazza has announced that Sue Mooney '82, professor of Biology and the Environmental Studies Program Director, has been appointed the holder of the Fr. Francis Hurley, C.S.C., Endowed Chair in Biology. Mooney will officially assume the three-year appointment on July 1, taking over for Maura Tyrell, who is retiring after 41 years of teaching at Stonehill.

“Sue has a distinguished record of working with students and supporting student research.  She is a committed and dedicated teacher who challenges and champions our students.  She single-handedly has grown the Environmental Studies and Sciences Program.  And she is a generous institutional citizen who has said 'yes' over and over again when asked to provide leadership and service to Stonehill,” said Favazza upon making the announcement.

Mooney has taught at Stonehill since 1985. For over a decade, she has dedicated her life to environmental issues, both on the global and local scale. At Stonehill, she has guided and encouraged students to take action in helping reduce the College’s carbon footprint.

“I see all of this work as part of the mission of the College, encouraging our students to ‘think, act and lead with courage to create a more just and compassionate world.’ I attempt to empower my students - and they in turn push me to greater action,” says Mooney.

The endowed chair, just the second at the College, was established in 2011. It honors the late “father of biology at Stonehill,” Fr. Hurley, chair of the Biology Department for 32 years, who passed away in January of 2010.

In May of 2007, Fr. Hurley was named professor emeritus at the College. Since 1960, he helped students to master the complexities of biology, advised them on career paths, and assisted them in securing professional positions or acceptance into respected graduate programs.

Mooney not only worked with Fr. Hurley, but was also one of his students. "I have fond memories of embryology and histology classes with Fr. Hurley. I didn't love all that microscope time so much, but loved drawing the tissues and layers with colored pencils in my lab notebook. At that age, I had two possible careers in mind - veterinarian or artist and Fr. Hurley's classes spoke to both of those interests," Mooney reflects.

Mooney also remembers the time Fr. Hurley helped her secure credit for an intensive course in animal behavior she took one January in Woods Hole.

"The College administration was reluctant to grant me credits since there was no precedent. Fr. Hurley went to bat for me, and the story is that he told the Associate Dean that the reason there was no precedent is that none of our students had ever been chosen for this competitive opportunity."

At the start of the 2011-2012 academic year, Tyrell was appointed the first Fr. Francis Hurley, C.S.C., Endowed Chair in Biology. In thanking her for her many years of service, Favazza noted that, “Maura’s commitment to teaching, research and student success is legendary and while we celebrate her upcoming retirement, we will miss her gentle spirit as a member of the faculty.  Though her efforts, she reminds us of the animating spirit of Fr. Hurley during his many years of service to the College."