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Arthur Sweeny, Jr.

Arthur Sweeny Jr.,
Noted CUNY Professor & Cancer Researcher

Arthur Sweeny, Jr., taught organic chemistry to generations of future physicians, researchers and professors and also directed the Pre-Medical Office first at Hunter College and then at Herbert H. Lehman College in the United States. A long-time resident of Pleasantville, NY, Professor Sweeny recently passed away at the age of 94 having been in declining health over the past year.

In addition to conducting extensive cancer research that resulted in numerous publications, Professor Sweeny patented an anti-carcinogenic compound and the process to create it. His research was funded by the American Cancer Society, the Surdna Foundation, and the Carl and Lilly Pforzheimer Foundation.

Altogether, he taught in the City University of New York for 42 years: 36 years at Hunter College and then six years at Lehman College, where as one of the College's founding faculty he helped to establish its strength in scientific research and teaching. Professor Sweeny served as Grand Marshal at both institutions. In his position as pre-medical advisor first at Hunter and then at Lehman, he was instrumental in helping to break the barriers to medical school admission for women from working-class families as well as for students from various minority groups. Upon his retirement from Lehman in 1974, he was designated Professor Emeritus, and a continuing lecture series was established there in 1979 in his honor.

Professor Sweeny was the third generation in his family to serve the City of New York. His father, a graduate of both Harvard College and Harvard Law School, was the city's First Assistant Corporation Council, and his grandfather, Peter B. Sweeny, was District Attorney, President of the Board of Parks, and City Chamberlain (now Comptroller) during the 1860's and 1870's.

Born in New York City, Professor Sweeny graduated in 1924 from Horace Mann School and in 1928 from Harvard College. He attended Harvard Law School and completed his graduate studies in chemistry at Columbia University. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Harvard Club of New York and the University Club.

In 1932, Professor Sweeny married Bailey Gordon Patterson (Radcliffe '32), who died in 1992. He is survived today by two sons, Arthur Sweeny III of Colchester, VT, and Bradley Patterson Sweeny of Rye; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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