• |

Remembering President Emeritus William Hynes

William HynesThe college mourns the death but celebrates the life of President Emeritus William Hynes, who died April 27 in Santa Rosa, Calif., where he lived with his wife, Margie.

St. Norbert College president from 2000 to 2008, Hynes’ greatest pride was upholding the strong Norbertine mission of the college and leading through the lens of Catholic social teaching. He told The Compass in 2008: “The Norbertine mission was strong when I came here and I think it is even stronger today. It’s a place that takes its mission seriously. When making decisions, we need to look at what’s the best thing to do, working from our values. Our business model is our spiritual heritage and traditions that are a renewable source of energy. You refer to your source, go back to your roots, contemplate, reflect, pray and go out and act. There is a reciprocal feeding loop going on that gives you new energy.”

Hynes is remembered on campus for his support of the liberal arts and academic freedom. During his tenure as president, the college opened the Carol & Robert Bush Art Center and began construction on the Miriam B. & James J. Mulva Library, "both wonderful testaments to his leadership," says Amy Sorenson (President's Office), Hynes’s chief of staff.

“President Hynes was an academic in the truest sense,” remembers Sorenson. “He was a lifelong learner who loved reading the classics and continuing his studies in Latin and theology. He also loved the best things in life: fine food, good wine, art and traveling – especially to Italy where he and his wife, Margie, made an almost annual pilgrimage.”

Hynes left his post as SNC president in 2008. “In many ways, it’s a dream fulfilled,” he said. “I think that you don’t have a single dream, a single path. There are many paths you can take and this one has been extremely satisfying. It’s been very challenging, but satisfying.” 

After a brief sabbatical, Hynes returned to St. Norbert to teach. In 2010, he was appointed president of Holy Names University in Oakland, Calif. He would retire from academia in 2016.

A lifelong theologian, Hynes obtained master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Chicago, and a master’s degree in Catholic theology from Marquette University. His academic focus was the history of Christian thought. Hynes also spent a year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a National Endowment for Humanities fellow, and he served as a dean at Regis University in Denver and as vice president of academic affairs at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calf.

June 8, 2023