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Christendom Mourns the Passing of Dr. Philip Crotty

June 11, 2019

Christendom College mourns the passing of longtime board member Dr. Philip Crotty. A passionate Catholic, lover of Latin, and tremendous friend of Christendom, Dr. Crotty passed away at the age of 89 after complications from pneumonia.

Artist Henry Wingate painted this portrait of Dr. Philip Crotty which now adorns the wall of the Senior Study Room in the St. John the Evangelist Library.

“Dr. Philip Crotty has been a great friend and supporter of Christendom College over the years,” says college president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell. “Our friendship goes back to my student days in Rome. Dr. Crotty had served on the Board of Directors of the college for 15 years and continued on our Advisory Board until his death. Cathy and I were blessed to have been able to pray at his bedside shortly before his death. His experience as Provost of Northeastern University and his deep commitment to the Catholic Faith and the mission of Christendom College enabled him to serve the college for many fruitful years. We commend his soul to Almighty God. May he rest in peace.”

A man full of love and deep knowledge of the Church, of Rome, and of his native Boston, Crotty was associated with higher education throughout his life. He earned degrees from Holy Cross College, Harvard University, and Boston University before serving at Northeastern University. He spent 30 years with Northeastern, working in the college and business administration as dean, in the administration as provost, and in other positions. Later, he brought his passion for higher education to Christendom, joining the college’s board of directors and becoming a generous supporter of the work of the college.

In his role, Crotty also directly impacted students for the better. He was instrumental in alumnus Sean Kay’s (’97) later success, for example, helping him go to Northeastern’s graduate school to earn his MBA in accounting. Kay would take his knowledge and passion later to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world’s second-largest professional services network, where he now serves as a partner.

“I was introduced to him in the 1990’s as an undergraduate discerning the benefits of a Catholic liberal arts education, anxious to pursue ‘more practical’ opportunities involving career, family and livelihood,” says Kay. “Never having met Phil, I was surprised to hear that he demanded that we meet to offer his advice. In our first meeting, he joyfully shared a pragmatic vision about the benefits of staying the course, about how a Catholic liberal arts education was not an obstacle — indeed, it is a springboard — to achieve aspirations without bypassing the necessary foundations.  I had never met a man like him, and am forever grateful for not only that initial encounter, but for his quarterly exercises where he took the train from Boston, sometimes sleeping in temporary office accommodations, undertaking herculean sacrifices to meet, share his perspectives on life, suggest future steps to take, and demonstrate how to translate the lessons I had learned into something meaningful. Please pray for our dear friend, wise mentor, and wonderful soldier for Christ.”

Most recently, Crotty was a professor of Latin at St. John’s Seminary in Boston, bringing some of his greatest loves together in one place. There, he was also awarded the Archbishop John J. Williams Medal for his enormous contributions to the temporal life of the seminary.

Crotty will be greatly missed by all he impacted during his decades of service and generosity. His wake and funeral will be held at St. Lawrence Parish in Brookline, Massachusetts, with the wake held from 4-8:00 p.m. on June 18 and the Funeral Mass at 10:00 a.m. on June 19.

Read his obituary here.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.  May perpetual light shine upon him.  May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.