Fr. William C. McInnes/Fairfield University

Fr. William C. McInnes, S.J., the beloved and well-known fifth president of Fairfield University, passed away last Tuesday evening, December 8. McInnes guided the administration through many changes during his presidency from 1964-1973.

During his presidency, Fr. McInnes amended the University’s charter and helped create a Board of Trustees. He also appointed more laymen positions than ever before and was the first President to institute divided responsibility at the vice presidential level by appointing vice presidents for finance, academic affairs, student services, and others.

Under his term in 1969, the School of Nursing was established as a school rather than a department. In 1970, female students were admitted to Fairfield for the first time and the University became officially co-ed. The Graduate School of Corporate and Political Communication also opened in 1970 under his tenure.

Fairfield University became involved with the landmark case Tilton vs. Richardson during his term, which questioned the legality of private institutions such as Fairfield receiving federal funds under the Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963. After an appeal was denied the plaintiffs in 1971, Fairfield received significant funding, and Fr. McInnes oversaw the construction of the DiMenna-Nyselius Library (1968) and Bannow Science Center (1971). He also oversaw the construction of the original Barone Campus Center and residence halls Regis, Jogues, Kostka, and Claver.

Fr. McInnes was the last man to serve as both President and Rector at the University. In addition to the changes he instituted on campus, he was a public figure on campus who wanted his office located closer to students, faculty, and staff. He resigned from the rectorship and the The Office of the President was relocated from Bellarmine Hall to a more central location in Canisius Hall.

Fr. McInnes leaves behind his brother, Paul.

Wake and funeral information is as follows.


Monday, Dec. 14, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m., Campion Center, Weston, MA

Monday, Dec. 14, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., St. Mary’s Hall, Boston College


Tuesday, Dec. 15,  10:00  a.m., St. Ignatius Church, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA


Campion Center Cemetery

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