By Jen Cardone | The Duquesne Duke
Duquesne kicked off a yearlong celebration this weekend of the life of the Rev. Henry J. McAnulty, who served as the ninth president of Duquesne from 1959 to 1980.
McAnulty would have turned 100 years old during this academic year.
McAnulty is the “Spirit who gave the University life,” assistant dean of the McAnulty School of Liberal Arts Jason Broadwater said at a panel discussion this weekend.
The discussion Saturday morning brought together alumni and Duquesne officials to remember ‘Father Mac,’ the longest serving president in University history.
McAnulty died on June 10, 1995 after a wedding at the University chapel. He was 80 years old.
Jane King, the late president’s niece, spoke about her uncle’s humbleness and compassion.
“He never talked about his work at home and never brought it to his family,” King said. “Being home was his time to decompress. I probably thought being a president was easy.”
The Rev. Sean Hogan also contributed to the discussion with an anecdote of his first day at Duquesne.
“On August 26, 1975 [McAnulty] opened the door for me,” Hogan said. “He was a kind man who made every effort to make sure I had a room. He made me feel extremely welcome, was a tremendously calming person and gave me advice.”
McAnulty was a graduate of Duquesne with degrees in philosophy and English. He served as a chaplain in the Army Air Corps, where he was noted as the first U.S. Catholic Brigadier General.
He is also credited with bringing the University off of its knees during a time of financial crisis.
When McAnulty first entered office, Duquesne was a commuter school. McAnulty aided in the transition to a resident institution, but with the transformation came a sizeable amount of debt. Tuition at the University in 1969 was $1,200, which at the time was quite costly, but not enough to sustain Duquesne through the transition period.
McAnulty allowed members of student council to know about the financial crisis. He presented two solutions: to either raise tuition an additional $400, or to close the University’s doors.
The students proposed a third alternative, which was to raise money to sustain Duquesne. McAnulty cancelled classes one day and held a critical meeting for the students at large. More than 600 volunteers worked together all summer to propose a plan to raise money.