North­eastern Uni­ver­sity trustee emer­itus Richard J. Egan, a pio­neering busi­ness leader and Amer­ican statesman, died yes­terday at the age of 73.

A 1961 grad­uate of Northeastern’s Col­lege of Engi­neering, Egan was cofounder of EMC, a global data storage com­pany based in Hop­kinton, Mass. Egan and fellow North­eastern alumnus Roger Marino founded EMC in 1979 and trans­formed it from a startup into a multi­na­tional com­pany with 40,000 employees.

Dick Egan epit­o­mized the entre­pre­neurial spirit of North­eastern,” said Pres­i­dent Joseph Aoun. “A trail­blazing inno­vator, he took his North­eastern edu­ca­tion and built a busi­ness that has become an engine of tremen­dous eco­nomic growth. This same entre­pre­neurial spirit moti­vated Dick to give back to North­eastern, which has helped gen­er­a­tions of stu­dents to achieve their dreams.”

Beyond his suc­cess in busi­ness, Egan served as the U.S. Ambas­sador to Ire­land from 2001 to 2002. He also served as a Marine in the Korean War, made a gift to sup­port the building of the Vet­erans Memo­rial on campus, and par­tic­i­pated annu­ally in the University’s Vet­erans Day ceremony.

A true son of North­eastern, Dick loved the Uni­ver­sity and cham­pi­oned coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion,” said Chairman of the Board Sy Stern­berg in a joint state­ment with Pres­i­dent Aoun to the Trustees. “His entre­pre­neurial spirit inspired North­eastern to reach for excel­lence in research and through his gen­erous gift of the Egan Engi­neering and Research Center, the Uni­ver­sity has been able to attract inter­na­tion­ally known fac­ulty and world renown for its cut­ting edge scholarship.”

In 1996, the Uni­ver­sity opened the Mau­reen and Richard J. Egan Engi­neering and Sci­ence Research Center, which today is home to state-​​of-​​the-​​art lab­o­ra­to­ries for National Sci­ence Foundation-​​funded research in nan­otech­nology and sub­sur­face sensing and imaging.

While his gift to sup­port the Egan Center was his most vis­ible con­tri­bu­tion to North­eastern, his role as a Uni­ver­sity leader was equally impor­tant. He joined the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Cor­po­ra­tion in 1987 and served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2008. During that time, he worked closely with sev­eral North­eastern pres­i­dents and inspired other Uni­ver­sity alumni to sup­port Northeastern’s mission.

Always quick to credit Northeastern’s co-​​op pro­gram for his career suc­cess, Egan helped make EMC a major co-​​op employer for cur­rent and future North­eastern stu­dents. His impact on North­eastern stu­dents and fac­ulty, Aoun added, “will ripple through this insti­tu­tion for many years to come.”