In Memoriam, News

Bill Delahunt ’63
The Honorable William Delahunt ’63

The Honorable William Delahunt, a member of the Middlebury College Class of 1963 and a former trustee, died on March 30 at his home in Quincy, Massachusetts, at the age of 82. 

Delahunt represented the 10th congressional district of Massachusetts for 14 years. He was a highly engaged member of the Middlebury alumni community, having served as a trustee from 2004 to 2009. During his time on the board, he was a member of the Conference, Strategic Communications, and Student Affairs Committees.

“Middlebury is fortunate to have benefited from Bill’s wisdom and energy over the years,” said President Laurie Patton. “He was known for his ability to bridge divides and find common ground—values we work to achieve every day at Middlebury.”

Born on July 18, 1941, Delahunt grew up in Quincy, the son of Ruth and William H. Delahunt. He attended Thayer Academy, then Middlebury College, where he majored in political science. He served as a radarman (RD3) in the United States Coast Guard in 1963 and in the United States Coast Guard Reserve from 1963 to 1971. He earned his law degree from Boston College Law School in 1967.

Delahunt was first elected as a town councilor for Quincy, taking office in January 1972. He also worked as assistant clerk for Norfolk City and legal counsel to the Quincy Police Department. He served a term in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1973 to 1975 before being elected district attorney of Norfolk County, a position he held until 1996.

In 1996, Delahunt was elected to his first term in Congress. He was reelected six times. Although he considered himself a liberal Democrat, Delahunt touted his bipartisan record, telling the Boston Globe in a 2011 interview that “every significant piece of legislation that I got on a president’s desk was a result of my relationships with key Republicans.”

Delahunt brought the same cooperative spirit to his work as a Middlebury trustee.

“Bill had many friends around the boardroom table from both sides of the aisle, and he always provided thoughtful counsel on legislative matters,” said Rick Fritz ’68, who was chair of the trustees during Delahunt’s term on the board. “His friendship and winning smile will be missed.”

A “Minute” honoring Delahunt’s service on the board noted the connections between the former congressman’s involvement with international affairs and his work at the College.

“As one whose professional responsibilities have involved oversight of federal policies promoting international cooperation, Bill has greatly aided Middlebury’s efforts to become a leader in international education, as he has selflessly given his time and energy to championing a cause that he holds so dear.”

Following his retirement from Congress, Delahunt joined the law firm Eckert Seamans Cherin and Mellott, LLC, as special counsel with a focus on complex regulatory issues such as health care, financial services, and energy and the environment. He served on the Harvard Institute of Politics’ Senior Advisory Committee in 2016 and became its acting director in 2017.

In 2021, the Norfolk County Superior Courthouse in Boston, where he worked for many years as district attorney, was renamed the William D. Delahunt Superior Courthouse. 

Delahunt is survived by his first wife, Kati; his fiancée, Julie Pagano; two daughters, Kirstin and Kara ’97, and two grandchildren.

A wake will be held from 2 to 7 p.m., Friday, April 5, in United First Parish Church in Quincy. A funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m., Saturday, April 6, in Saint Gregory Parish in Dorchester.