Appreciation: Joe McDonough

I share with you the profound loss to our community with the passing of Joe McDonough, a longtime president of the Association’s Massachusetts Chapter. Joe was a giant in our community. Passionate, determined, resilient, and ambitious, he helped build the chapter into a flagship. The Massachusetts chapter has offered its members exceptional programming for years thanks to Joe’s leadership and hard work.

Many of the chapter’s current leaders shared their condolences with me. Kim Caverly wrote that Joe was “a truly remarkable man; such a great loss for everyone.” Kathryn Portle said that “Joe was patient and warm, and a listener”—in keeping with our Fulbrighter mission to learn from others and build respect and empathy.

Left to Right – Joe McDonough (MASS Chapter President), John Bader, Ann Ackerman (NH Chapter President), and Michael Evans (VPAA SNHU and alum)

Joe’s successor as president of the chapter, Michael Miner, wrote these passages with eloquence. I quote them in full:

Joe McDonough was a visionary leader who made a lasting impact on the lives of countless Fulbright students and scholars all over the world. From his time as a Fulbright Scholar in Oman and teaching in the Middle East to becoming President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Fulbright Association, Joe touched the lives of many through kindness, enthusiasm, and an unwavering commitment to make the world a better place. With a small team of committed citizens, Joe reenergized the Fulbright community across Massachusetts and New England. Concerts, outdoor events, museum trips, lectures, civic engagement, late night potlucks, or early morning coffees, he was a pioneer for innovative programming across the Commonwealth.

Through mentoring like-minded individuals to forge networks of colleagues working toward the same goal, Joe helped shape an active and engaged Fulbright presence all over the state. His steadfast commitment to engaging Fulbrighters from near and far never wavered, nor did his efforts to help national leaders understand why the Fulbright Program is central to a strong American foreign policy that starts at home.

I’ll miss my dear friend Joe, as will Massachusetts and the country. Nevertheless, Joe’s legacy of supporting students and scholars turned lifelong friends is one that will last for generations to come. We shall carry the torch forward and continue Joe’s good work to leave the world a little better than where we started.

I will miss Joe, too. He was a passionate advocate for his chapter and the Program, building effective and lasting relationships with members of Congress and other leaders in Massachusetts to ensure that Fulbright remained strong and well-funded. He spoke his mind, sharing strategies and ideas shaped by years of political experience and determination to build a great chapter and community.

Joe’s passing is not just a moment of remembrance for his life and contributions, but also a time to recognize so many chapter and volunteer leaders in the Fulbright community whose commitment, vision, and hard work keep us united and strong. We can best honor Joe’s life and service to the Fulbright community by remaining true to that calling, as Michael put it, by “carrying the torch forward.”

John Bader
Executive Director
Fulbright Association

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 Response

  1. what a wonderfully inspiring eulogy to read. As a 1973 Fulbrighter to India, it more than made my day to read of Joe McDonough’s lefelong impact for this incredibly important program. It was especially moving to learn of what he had done for Fulbright in the USA as I have continued my career in India post Fulbright 50 years ago.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: