Obituary: Richard J. Sweeney

Georgetown emeritus professor, husband, father, and grandfather

Richard J. Sweeney, emeritus professor of economics and international finance at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, died July 30 in the intensive care unit at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.

An alumnus of UCLA with a Ph.D. from Princeton, he taught at UCLA, Texas A&M, Claremont McKenna College, and Claremont Graduate University. While he was at CMC from 1977 until 1989, he was one of the editors of Economic Inquiry. He and his family have lived in Claremont for a total of 24 years. They moved from Claremont and lived in Alexandria, Virginia for 23 years, then returned to the City of Trees.

Before his retirement from Georgetown in 2015, he enjoyed traveling and spent summers and sabbaticals teaching at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. He and his Swedish colleague, Clas Wihlborg, traveled together in eastern Europe and witnessed the changes in Poland, Lithuania, and Estonia after the fall of the Soviet Union.

“Richard Sweeney had strong opinions and was not afraid to express them,” his family shared. “He would often support those opinions with quotes from his vast reading. He was witty and his sense of humor could be sardonic, but he was also kind. Dick never lost interest in the world around him, and during the last months of his life he continued to follow events and send out emails from the computer in his study.”

He is survived by his wife, Joan Sweeney; son, Robin S. Sweeney (Lesley Cantor); daughter, Erin Michaela Sweeney, and her son, Eliott Bendiner; and other relatives.

A graveside service will be held at Oak Park Cemetery in Claremont on Saturday, September 9.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to City of Hope at


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