Former Gonzaga president Rev. Bernard Coughlin passes away at 97

Fr. Bernard Coughlin
Credit: Gonzaga University

SPOKANE, Wash. — Former Gonzaga president and chancellor Reverend Bernard J. Coughlin, S.J., passed away Tuesday morning at the age of 97.

According to an email from current President Thayne McCulloh, Fr. Coughlin served as Gonzaga’s longest tenured president from 1974 to 1996. He was also the first and only chancellor, serving from 1996 to 2016.

Throughout his tenure at Gonzaga, he helped oversee the planning and construction of several new buildings, and helped grow the endowment fund by millions.

“During his time, the University’s reputation grew significantly, earning top 10 ratings in U.S. World News & Report’s Regional Rankings in its annual Best Colleges publication,” McCulloh wrote.

“Every major decision he had to make at Gonzaga was with students first and foremost in his mind,” said friend and former Board of Trustees Chair Donald Herak.

Coughlin devoted more than 42 years to serving the Gonzaga community. He is survived by his sister and numerous neices and nephews.