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Professor Emeritus Henry Stonie Remembered as ‘Hardworking, Dedicated to Emerson’

middle aged man in suit on the street
Professor Henry Stonie in the 1980 Emersonian. Photo/Emerson College Archives

Professor Emeritus Henry Stonie, who taught in the Emerson Humanities and Social Sciences Department for 45 years, serving 12 years as chair, died Tuesday, May 17, in Hampton, New Hampshire. He was 90.

Stonie joined the Emerson faculty in 1957, while he was earning his MA in Sociology at Boston University, and retired in 2002. In the four and a half decades in between, Stonie served the College in multiple capacities, as director of men’s dormitories (1957-1965), earned tenure (1963), and was director of religious activities (1988-1991).

He served on several College committees, including Admissions, Dormitory, Student Affairs, Curriculum, Strategic Planning, and a campus redevelopment committee, and was chair of Faculty Assembly for four years, as well as founding president of ECC-AAUP, the faculty union, from the early- to mid-1960s.

young man in suit in 1950s standing in front of fireplace
Stonie in 1958, shortly after joining Emerson. Photo/Emerson College Archives

Stonie rose to become chair of Humanities and Social Sciences in 1978, serving for two years. He took on the chairmanship again from 1988 to 1998, when he went on sabbatical to teach at Kaunas University in Vilnius, Lithuania, according to his Boston Globe obituary. In 2003, Emerson presented Stonie with the Faculty Service Award.

When Mike Brown, today an assistant professor of Journalism, joined Emerson in 1970, he taught in the then-Social Sciences Department alongside Stonie.

Brown, a young liberal, didn’t always get along with the older, more conservative Stonie at first. But as Stonie watched Brown attend law school at night, earn a JD, and then tenure, their relationship began to shift.

“I worked hard and became a good teacher, which I could tell he respected,” Brown said.

After one presidential election, Brown recalled, Stonie, who commuted to Emerson from his home in New Hampshire, expressed bewilderment at the results in his home state. Brown, with a straight face, said that droves of Massachusetts liberals were moving to the Granite State.

“He actually got heated,” Brown said. “He looked at me and saw that I was smiling [and] broke out into one of his few, gruff laughs, realizing that I was teasing him.

“We never had a disagreement again. He was hardworking and dedicated to Emerson. That was actually a pretty good model to follow!” he said. 

A clergyman as well as an academic, Stonie served as a minister at Christ Church Unitarian in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and was warden and summer minister of Hampton Falls Congregational Church in New Hampshire, according to the obit.

Stonie graduated from Northeastern University with a BA in Sociology and Economics in 1953, and from Andover Newton Theological School with a BDiv in Social Ethics in 1957 before enrolling at BU where he earned an MA in 1959 and an Ed.D. in Organizational Behavior in 1975.

He leaves his wife, Emerson alumna Mary Jo (Czarick) Stonie ’60, MA ’75; two sons, Dorian Stonie and alumnus Henry Stonie Jr. ’88; and two grandsons.

Information not taken from obituary was compiled by Emerson College Archives.

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