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Remembering Frank Mahoney, ‘the true essence of Northeastern’

Frank Mahoney, Jr., was Northeastern through and through, having dedicated three decades of service to the university. He’ll be remembered for his tireless work ethic and his dedication to all who called Northeastern home. He died this month at the age of 58, following a brief illness.

Mahoney, who earned both his bachelor’s degree and his master’s degree at Northeastern, played many different roles throughout the years and his tenure. As a student and staff member, his time at Northeastern spanned four university presidents. An avid Huskies fan, he helped coach the women’s hockey team from 1983-86. In the Facilities division, he developed relationships across the university and consistently took on big jobs.

“Frank always took on assignments that sometimes no one else really wanted, and he never failed at them,” said Jack Malone, senior director of the Facilities division. “He had such skill in so many areas. And in everything he did, he tried to be his best. He really became a star in everything he did.”

Indeed, men’s hockey head coach Jim Madigan, a longtime friend of Mahoney’s, described it: “Frank reveled in those hard tasks. He wanted them because he had a lot of confidence he could get the job done, and he always did.”

In his role in the Facilities division, Mahoney oversaw large and small construction projects. From the construction of SquashBusters and the Marino Center to residence hall renovations and dining services upgrades, it would be difficult to tour campus without seeing a facility Mahoney helped make better.

“His fingerprints are everywhere on this campus,” said Jerry Foster, assistant athletic director for club sports, another longtime friend of Mahoney’s. “He had a pretty significant impact at the university—he made a lot of things happen that a lot of people were skeptical about at the start of the project.”

Marina Macomber, assistant vice president for student and administrative services, said Mahoney was particularly impassioned by projects that would directly affect students.

“Whatever the project that he and I were working on, his first priority was always the students,” she said. “His goal was always to achieve the best outcome for students. It was just a privilege to work with him; he loved to be able to impact student life.”

She added, “There was no problem too big to manage as long as Frank was there. He was the true essence of Northeastern; it’s in the fabric of his being.”

James Brand, director of space and capital planning within the university’s Campus Planning and Development office echoed Macomber.

“Whenever I think of Frank, I think of summers: there were always these ‘summer slammers,’ these renovations that have to happen over the summer,” he said. “As much of a workload as we all had, he was adamant that ‘September doesn’t move,’ and there was no missing that first-day-of-school deadline, whatever it took to get it done.”

Mahoney’s steadfastness, his drive to get it done no matter what it took, was inherent in his personality as well as his work ethic, his friends said.

William Mallon, director of business services at Northeastern described Mahoney in these terms: “Frank was the most loyal friend that a person could have. He was loyal to his family, to his friends, to the university—you could count on him for help if you needed it, and you knew he’d always be there.

“In fact,” Mallon said, “I’d call him ‘The Clam.’ You could tell him anything and you knew it wouldn’t go anywhere else.”