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Campus Connection

Campus Community Mourns Two Longtime Educators
Story Series
Bridgewater Magazine

Two men who devoted their careers to the education of Bridgewater State students died in March.

Dr. Henry J. Fanning Jr., G’61, passed away on March 9 after a brief illness, at the age of 86. He spent 37 years at Bridgewater State, holding the positions of director of admissions, dean of continuing education and dean of academic administration. Dr. Fanning was also a professor of counseling in the graduate school.

Professor Henry J. Santos died on March 11 from Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. He was 92. He taught in the Department of Music for more than 30 years.

President Clark praised the dedication of the two veteran educators. “These two multi-talented men each played a critical role in making Bridgewater the institution it is today,” he said. “Generations of students were touched by their scholarship, generosity and devotion, and were the better for it. This is their legacy.”

Professor Santos earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston University. His roommate at the
university was none other than Martin Luther King Jr.

During his time at Bridgewater State, Professor Santos played a key role in developing the university’s music major. In addition to his teaching duties on campus, he was a composer and musician of note, performing on radio, studio recordings and in concert in the United States, as well as internationally. As a scholar, he helped shine a light on classical musicians of the past who might have otherwise been lost to history.

A longtime resident of Middleboro, Professor Santos often attended campus events with his wife, Leola, ’49, who passed away in 2011.

In 2004, the Henry Santos Scholarship was established and has been awarded annually to a BSU student.

Dr. Fanning was a South Dartmouth resident. He held a master’s degree from Bridgewater State, as well as degrees from Boston College, Boston University and Clark University.

He served in the U.S. Army’s 11th Airborne Division for two years as a specialist, and while stationed in Augsburg, Germany, he met his late wife, Julie.

A native of New Bedford, Dr. Fanning was active with many local organizations, including as a library volunteer and a docent at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Students remembered Dr. Fanning as a caring mentor and an engaging presence in the classroom, always mixing just the right amount of warmth and humor. Administrators who worked with him saw a dedicated professional who always put students first.

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