Published: February 2014
Nineteen-year-old William B. Neenan of Sioux City, Iowa, entered the Jesuit novitiate in Florissant, Missouri, on August 15, 1948. Eighteen years later, Fr. Neenan earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan, where he stayed on to teach. A visiting professorship led to his joining the economics faculty at Boston College in 1980 and to stints as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and academic vice president, with a sideline as wedding presider. (He estimates he has officiated at the marriages of some 200 Boston College alumni.) Last fall Neenan sat down in his Heffernan House office with Ben Birnbaum, editor of Boston College Magazine, for a conversation about his life and career. Here he talks about his early years as a Jesuit.