Rev. Bartley MacPháidín, at 79; Built up Stonehill College for 22 years

The Rev. Bartley MacPháidín, C.S.C., Stonehill College’s eighth and longest serving president, passed away on March 17 at age 79. In recent years, he had been living at Holy Cross House on the grounds of the University of Notre Dame. 

His funeral Mass was said at Stonehill on Wednesday morning, March 30.

Fr. MacPháidín 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,” Fr. Denning added.”

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, a 1970 Stonehill graduate who is now vice president for advancement at Stonehill, worked closely with Fr. MacPháidín throughout his tenure. Dillon said that Fr. MacPháidín had a uncanny knack, noting that he was “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.”

A native of Donegal, Fr. MacPháidín earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Stonehill in 1959, He was ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1963.

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 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 of Yonkers, New York, and his nieces Claire McFadden of San Francisco and Marion McFadden 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.