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NU Professor William Kay leaves legacy as passionate academic, caring professor

The Northeastern community lost a long-term member of the political science faculty to stage 4 cancer Jan. 28. A professor at Northeastern since the late 1980s, William “Woody” Kay, is remembered by his students and colleagues as someone who genuinely loved to teach. 

Kay began his education studying economics and political science at Rice University, graduating in 1976. He started teaching at Northeastern shortly after completing his doctorate in political science at Indiana University in 1987. In the last years of his career, he taught courses like Science, Technology, and Public Policy, as well as his popular Politics and Film course. 

Christopher Bosso, a professor of public policy alongside Kay in the political science department, worked with Kay for over 30 years. He explained Kay had a “wide range” of academic interests.

“His expertise was in organization theory and science and technology policy, as mine was, so we had a lot of similar interests,” Bosso said. “He was far more into it, he was really techy. This was the guy who had Star Trek posters in his office. In the last years of his life, he actually wanted to finish a book about the politics of Star Trek. But he also took great interest in film and taught a popular class about politics and film. As a colleague, I would basically try to tap his brain for insight into these different dynamics.”

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