Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Studies Richard B. Finnegan ’64, who served Stonehill College with distinction for over five decades, died on Saturday, May 20, 2023. He was 80.  

His time at Stonehill began in 1960 when he enrolled at the College after attending Boston College High School. He commuted from his parents’ house in Dorchester, Massachusetts. In addition to earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stonehill College, Finnegan held masters’ degrees from Boston College and Harvard University as well as a doctorate from Florida State University.

In 1968, Finnegan began his lengthy professional career by joining Stonehill’s Political Science department. In the years that followed, he founded the International Studies and Irish Studies programs. He also served as department chair, director of the Moreau Honors Program, and dean of the faculty.

Finnegan was the recipient of three Fulbright awards: a Fulbright Specialist, a group faculty award to China and a Distinguished Fulbright Professor at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. He was also a visiting research scholar at University College Dublin, University of Galway, Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and Harvard University. During his career, he received prestigious grants from the Fulbright Program, National Science Foundation, Department of Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Whiting Foundation. 

He helped compile the largest collection of Irish government documents in the United States, and authored and edited numerous books, articles and book chapters. He served on the boards of the Irish Cultural Centre of New England, The Irish Charitable Society of Boston and as president of the Eire Society of Boston.

At the College’s 50th anniversary in 1998, Finnegan was one of 50 honorees who received Moreau Medallions for their distinguished contributions during Stonehill’s first half-century. In 2010, he received the Outstanding Alumnus Award for his achievements as a professor, scholar and expert of Irish politics, ethnic politics and international relations and as a recipient of the Fulbright Distinguished Chair.

Finnegan retired in 2015. In appreciation for his record of achievement and service, the College created the Richard B. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Studies, which supports a faculty member’s advanced research on major political themes. Professor of Political Science Anna Ohanyan currently holds this title. 

“Richard was a significant mentor to me and many others. He was rarely without good humor, an inquisitive mind and infectious spirit,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Peter Ubertaccio. “He would tell me not to focus on the end of chapters, that life was found in the material between them.  And what an extraordinary life it was. We will grieve the loss of someone who inspired so many, helped build and sustain this institution, and did it all with joy, erudition and laughter.”

Richard Finnegan ’64 receiving the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2010.

Richard Finnegan ’64 speaking at Commencement in 2014. 

Giving Information

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to: Stonehill College's Richard B. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Relations

Mailed to: Office of Advancement, Stonehill College, 320 Washington Street, Easton, MA 02357