Friends and colleagues of William “Bill” Filonuk Jr. FCRH ’77, GBA ’83, gathered to celebrate his memory on July 18 at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus. Filonuk who served on the board of overseers for the Graduate School of Business Administration (GBA), passed away on May 25 after a brief illness. He was 58.
“The word gentleman gets thrown around a lot, but he really was a gentle man,” said Ed Stroz, GSB ’79, a member of Fordham’s board of trustees. “He was a complete man for what Fordham needed.”
It was a theme returned to repeatedly throughout the memorial, as Filonuk was frequently described as someone who was disarmingly kind.
“He went so far out of his way to make you comfortable that being from New England, I was initially skeptical,” said Daniel Wywoda, who worked at BNP Mellon where Filonuk was a managing director.
Wywoda said that Filonuk’s steadfast kindness garnered not just his trust, but that of all his colleagues as well. It was a quality that also secured relationships with potential clients, some of whom dubbed Filonuk “the Math Guy.”
“He was also one of the smartest guys but he never flaunted it–who needed Google when you had Bill?” said colleague Nadine Chakar, adding that Filonuk’s ongoing love of learning strengthened his relationship with Fordham.
“He beamed with pride when he talked about Fordham and relished the academic research,” she said. “He loved to talk about the latest paper written by a ‘professor friend.’ In truth he loved the bridging the world of academics and business.”
Rae Etherington, GBA ’94, said that Filonuk’s portrait (pictured here) reminded her of when she first met him on the GBA’s board of overseers.
“I thought, hmmm, there’s a good Irish Catholic Boy, but it turns out that he was Lutheran, and that just makes his love of this University all the more special,” she said.
GBA staff recalled how Filonuk came to nearly every event at the school. Though he was among of the most senior-ranking alumni in the mentor program, he was also the one who offered the most time to students.
“He didn’t just show up, he was fully present,” said Elizabeth Barrett, GBA’s senior director of marketing, communications, and events.
David Gautschi, Ph.D., dean of GBA, said that the school will establish the William Filonuk Jr. Memorial Scholarship at Fordham GBA in his honor. Those who wish to contribute may do so atwww.fordham.edu/onlinegiving (Select “Graduate School of Business Administration” and “GBA Annual Fund” from the drop-down menus. Under “Additional Gift Instructions,” please type “William Filonuk Jr. Memorial Scholarship.”). Checks may be made out to Fordham University/William Filonuk Jr. Memorial Scholarship and mailed to Mary Ann Routledge, director of development, GBA, Fordham University, 888 Seventh Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY, 10019. For more information, contact Routledge at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-636-7184.