Published April 17, 2003
Edna Romanell has made two testamentary gifts with a combined value of nearly $1.5 million to the University at Buffalo.
With the two gifts made through revocable trust expectancies, Mrs. Romanell has continued the legacy begun by her late husband, Patrick Romanell, a philosopher and author of several books on critical naturalism.
The first bequest of $600,000 will provide for continuing support of the Romanell Lecture on Medical Ethics and Philosophy, a series she and her husband established in 1997 with $50,000 in gifts.
Her second bequest of nearly $900,000 will establish the Edna and Patrick Romanell Professorship in the Department of Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences.
Peter Hare, former chairman of the philosophy department, and Tim Madigan, Ph.D. 199 & M.A. 1998, then a philosophy graduate student, were friends of Romanell, whom Madigan calls "one of the first philosophers to work in medical ethics."
A former medical social worker, Mrs. Romanell says that she and her husband shared the same thoughts on giving. "If we can afford it, let someone else benefit, too," she says. "You only live so long, and our philosophy was always to let somebody else profit, as well."
In 1997, Hare invited Romanell to UB to give a lecture on medical ethics. Madigan, now editorial director at the University of Rochester Press, says Romanell later established a lecture series at UB because "he preferred lectureships as a way to get fresh, original ideas across."
Patrick Romanell died of cancer in February 2002, but his generosity continues to benefit the university. The Romanell gifts are part of The Campaign for UB: Generation to Generation, which is closing in on its $250 million goal.
The Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Professorship is awarded annually to scholars in the field of philosophy, without restriction to any one school of philosophical thought. The professorship recognizes not only distinguished achievement but also the recipient’s contribution or potential contribution to public understanding of philosophy. The professorship carries with it a stipend of $7,500, which will be awarded in addition to the recipient’s regular salary. The professorship was established in 1983 by an endowment from Patrick and Edna Romanell. Patrick Romanell, a Phi Beta Kappa member from Brooklyn College, was the H.Y. Benedict Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas, El Paso.
Since its founding in 1776, >Phi Beta Kappa has celebrated excellence in the liberal arts and sciences and championed freedom of thought. According to their website, "As America’s most prestigious academic honor society, we are uniquely equipped to advocate for the value and benefits of liberal arts and sciences education. We do this because we believe the curiosity and creativity cultivated by a liberal arts and sciences education are essential to making the most of life’s experiences."