Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Back to Communitas Alumni Newsletter Index Vol. 1 Issue 1

Memory of Husband Lives on through Wife's Endowment

memory of husband lives on Through Wife’s endowment

Although Julio Burunat, Ph.D., GSAS ’73 and ’84, left the Society of Jesus before ordination, he kept with him a deep respect for the order and, more specifically, its philosophy of education.

The Jesuit’s ratio studiorum made such an impression on Burunat, he earned two doctoral degrees at Fordham University—and even considered returning for a third.

It is fitting, then, that a scholarship has been established in his honor at the Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS).

Established in 2007 by his wife, Silvia Burunat, Ph.D., the Dr. Julio Burunat Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund supports a graduate student taking advanced classes in either theology or philosophy, Burunat’s chosen fields of study.  This year’s recipient is the Rev. Victor Mbanisi, who is pursuing a degree in theology.

Silvia Burunat said her husband, who passed away in 2005, was a “gentleman and a scholar, who always spoke highly of Fordham.

“[Julio] used to talk about his teachers and how they inspired him,” she said.  “He just loved [Fordham].”

Burunat met his future wife shortly after leaving the Jesuits in 1969, and the two quickly fell in love.  The couple was married in August later that year.  In 1973, Burunat earned his Ph.D. in theology from Fordham.  He earned a second Ph.D., in philosophy, 11 years later and had his sights set on a third doctoral degree before his better half nixed the idea.

Burunat was a professor of theology and philosophy at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, N.Y., for 34 years.  He retired in 2002.

According to Terrence Tilley, Ph.D., professor and chair of the theology department at Fordham, the scholarship benefits part-time students the equivalent of one course per year.

“We’ve identified a real unmet need—not just at Fordham but across academia—for part-time students to get financial support,” said Tilley.  “It makes a difference where it counts.”

Burunat also has endowed an annual lecture series. Daniel Berrigan, S.J., poet-in-residence at Fordham University, is expected to speak at the upcoming lecture, October 11, which will be held at Fordham.

Alumni support for GSAS and Fordham provides funding for students, faculty research and new initiatives.  There are a number of ways to make a gift, including giving to the GSAS Annual Fund, endowing a scholarship, or including Fordham in your estate plans.  For more infor¬mation on making a gift to GSAS and Fordham, contact senior director of development, Irene O’Brien, at (212) 636-6701 or iobrien@fordham. edu, or Eric Wengenroth, development officer, at (212) 636-6089 or

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