Fordham University mourns the death of John P. Curran, PhD, PHA ’66. Curran, the benefactor of the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies, died on Aug. 1 at the age of 72.
A wake will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 4 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Dorsey Funeral Home, 14 Emwilton Place, Ossining, NY.
A funeral service will be held Aug. 5 at 11:30 a.m. at the Scarborough Presbyterian Church in Scarborough, NY. A reception will follow at Sleepy Hollow Country Club.
“John Curran was one of my heroes,” said Joseph M. McShane, SJ, president of Fordham. “He was one of the most exemplary of Fordham’s graduates: brilliant, kind, witty, intellectually curious, generous and filled with faith. It is no wonder, therefore, that he touched and inspired all who met him. My heart goes out to his family today. I know the Fordham family joins me in keeping John and his loved ones in our prayers.”
Curran and his wife, Constance, endowed the center in 2004, when it was just a “phone and a desk on the third floor of Keating Hall,” said the center’s founder, Mark S. Massa, SJ, the former Karl Rahner Chair in Theology.
“Ten years ago no one could have predicted the success and the growth of the Curran Center,” said Father Massa, who is now professor of church history and dean of the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College. “It takes a visionary group of people to invest in a future that they can’t exactly see.”
Born and raised in the Bronx, John Curran graduated from Fordham’s School of Pharmacy in 1966 and received a doctorate in pharmaceutical economics from the University of Pittsburgh in 1971.
His longtime career in pharmaceuticals included work in public policy research with Pfizer, Inc. and in drug analysis with G.A. Saxton, Wood Gundy, Inc., Dean Witter Reynolds, and L.F. Rothschild. He began his own hedge fund, Curran Capital Management, in 1987, from which he retired in 2002.
Father Massa had established a center for Catholic study at Fordham in 2001, which opened one week after the tragedies of Sept. 11. It remained a small program until the Currans, inspired by their close friendship with Father Massa, became its benefactors and named it in honor of John Curran’s parents.Since then, the Currans have been much more than benefactors and patrons to the Curran Center, said current director Christine Firer Hinze, PhD.
“To me, to our staff and faculty, and to our students over the years, John has been been our inspiration, our most confident and generous supporter, our exuberant cheerleader, and a cherished mentor and friend,” said Hinze, a professor of theology. “He made everyone who was privileged to know him feel capable of great things.”
The center, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in May, has grown to become a premier hub of Catholic studies. It offers numerous lectures and public conferences that explore diverse topics in Catholicism, including Catholic education, Catholic literature, black Catholic culture, and Latino/a spirituality.
“He loved Fordham and loved his church—he dearly wanted both to thrive, and his support of the center embodied these loves,” Hinze said. “We will miss him terribly, and remember him always.”
In addition to his wife of 47 years, Curran leaves a daughter, Meredith Rauhut; son Sean Curran; grandchildren Gavin and Kaelyn Rauhut; sister, Ann Mullan; and ten nieces and nephews.