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Saint Mary’s holds memorial service

Alicia Smith | Thursday, September 23, 2010

The College held a memorial service for Bruno Schlesinger, professor at Saint Mary’s College for nearly 60 years and founder of the Humanistic Studies Department Wednesday.

Schlesinger died earlier this month at 99.

Judy Fean, director of Campus Ministry at the College, presided during the service.

“We are here today to remember Bruno and extend our welcome to his family members and friends who are here today,” Fean said. “We are gathered to remember, and we give thanks to the gifts Bruno left his family and friends.”

Gail Mandell, professor of Humanistic Studies at the College, along with Schlesinger’s son, Thomas, gave the eulogies.

“Bruno was a man of blatant emotional complexity,” Mandell said. “He could be genial, stern, sweet, stubborn, shy, sly”

Mandell was a colleague of Bruno, and said she enjoyed her experiences working with him at the College.

“I was privileged to know Bruno for almost 40 years, and privileged to work side-by-side with him for over 30 of them,” Mandell said. “That’s 20 of his seasons and every season I spent with Bruno, I discovered more surprises.”

Thomas Schlesinger shared his father’s softer side with more than 85 people in attendance at the memorial service.

“Dad’s idea of family nights, he would show us art slides,” he said.

He recalled many different instances he spent with his father discussing politics, admiring art and traveling.

Attendees remembered Schlesinger for his dedication to both the College and its students. He joined the College in 1945 and taught his final class in 2004.

Schlesinger founded the Program for Christian Culture, later renamed Humanistic Studies. He also launched the Christian Culture Lecture series, which was re-established in his honor in 2006.

He received several awards from the College including the Spes Unica Award for teaching and service in 1958. In 1994, the College awarded Schlesinger an honorary degree.

Donations will be collected in his memory to fund the

Christian Culture Lecture series in the future. For more information on ways to honor Schlesinger, please contact Libby Gray at egray@saintmarys.edu or 574-284-4240.