Victor A. Stanionis, Ph.D., ’60

Recipient of the THE 2020 BROTHER WILLIAM B. CORNELIA FOUNDERS AWARD
FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICE TO THE COLLEGE

Victor A. Stanionis, Ph.D., ’60, Professor of Physics, completed 60 years of teaching at Iona College at end of June 2021. Stanionis earned his bachelor’s degree from Iona College, his master’s degrees from New York University and Queens College, and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. During his years at Iona, he has been awarded several recognitions, including the Iona College 1993 Science Appreciation Award, the Brother Arthur A. Loftus Award for Outstanding Achievement in Education in 2000, the Facere and Docere award from Iona College for 50 years of service in 2010, and the Iona College Recognition Award for Outstanding Academic Accomplishments and Dedicated Service in 2012. In 2016, he was awarded the Jean Claude Lovinsky Memorial Award for his contributions to Iona. In May 2019, the New Rochelle Opera NRO Standing Ovation Award was presented to Victor and Lydia in grateful appreciation to the recipients for their support to New Rochelle Opera in Westchester County through extraordinary service and dedication. The award recipients are former NRO Board President Victor Stanionis and his wife Lydia Stanionis, whose support helped shepherd the Company during its infancy. In May 2019, Mayor Noam Bramson of New Rochelle, proclaimed May 5, 2019, as Lydia and Victor Stanionis Day in New Rochelle to honor them for their many contributions to Iona, the City, and Community. In 2021, he received the Bone et Fideli award for 60 years of service in 2021 from Iona College. He was also awarded the title of Professor Emeritus of Physics in 2021.

His teaching career began at Iona in 1961. Upon visiting Iona 60 years ago, he met with Br. Bullen and Br. Kiely, a founder of Iona, his former teachers and mentors. It was on a Friday that both Brothers offered him the opportunity to teach at Iona and by Monday morning he was in the classroom.

A major academic accomplishment was his role in the establishment of the Scientific and Technological Literacy (STL) program in the 1980s. Iona was made part of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s “New Liberal Arts Program” along with 34 Ivy League colleges including Williams College, Wellesley College, and Amherst College, and twenty Ivy League universities, including Harvard, Yale, and MIT. Stanionis served as Coordinator of this program for 24 years and served for 9 years as well, as Chair of the Physics Department at Iona. During that time, over $1.8 million was secured in grants for STL curriculum development. Iona’s STL program was cited by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Chronicle of Higher Education as being in the forefront of teaching science for the new millennium. The STL science faculty wrote several books used in the program and many articles were published on its developments in science and education journals. Stanionis authored or coauthored several textbooks.
Stanionis was also instrumental in 1989, in inaugurating the (now) Thomas G. Bullen, CFC, Ph.D., Memorial Lecture Series in Science and Technology which to date has had 106 speakers. Nineteen received the Nobel Prize, five were MacArthur Fellows, two were chairs of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and a large number were recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Science and one was the former president of Rockefeller University. Speakers included such scientists as James Watson, Freeman Dyson, and Henry Heimlich. Stanionis has served on many College wide committees and has published numerous papers for the STL program while STL coordinator. He has co-authored two books on science, one monograph on Computer Music, now used at Dartmouth as part of their Mathematics across the Curriculum project, co-authored a review book in physics, and is sole author of another textbook on Computer Music.

In 1990, Iona’s president, Br. Driscoll, appointed him as coordinator of Iona’s 50th Anniversary, or Golden Jubilee Celebration. During that year he organized many events, lectures, and celebrations. The first event he organized was a memorable pilgrimage for 29 faculty and staff to the Isle of Iona. There Fr. Joseph DeSanto, former professor of Criminal Justice at Iona, celebrated Mass for the group in St. Michael’s chapel in the Abbey. Overcome with emotion and the connection between Iona College and the Isle of Iona, the group spontaneously burst out into song at the end of Mass, singing the Iona Alma Mater.

He has also been active in the outside community, serving for over 31 years as the president of The Beechmont Association, whose mission is “improving and beautifying Beechmont and protecting the community interests of its residents”. As president he worked on restoring many Beechmont landmarks and the natural beauty of Beechmont and Beechmont Lake and its surroundings. His community activities included serving on the Board of the New Rochelle Opera Company, and as its president. At Iona as a member of the Iona Council on the Arts since the 1980s, he serves as a liaison between the New Rochelle Opera Company and Iona for their concerts and also for the Symphony of Westchester and its four performances at Iona each year. For the City of New Rochelle, he has served on the Solid Waste Management Committee and the Conservation Advisory Commission.