Beloved president of St. Francis College Brendan Dugan dies

Brendan Dugan, president and “transformational leader” of St. Francis College, has died at the age of 69.

Dugan, a graduate of St. Francis College’s Class of 1968, had served as the school’s 18th president since July, 2008, bringing with him his experience as a member of the college’s board of trustees, on which he served over 16 years (two of them as chairperson).

In this capacity, Dugan was instrumental in completing the $40 million Campaign for Big Dreams, a transformational project that resulted in the building of the Anthony J. Genovesi Athletic Center and the Academic Center, and set the stage for the Eileen C. Dugan Life Sciences Center which opened during his presidential tenure and houses the college’s fast-growing nursing program.

Prior to his time as president, Dugan worked in the field of commercial banking for 40 years. He was also heavily involved with the Brooklyn Diocese, serving on the Finance Council as trustee for the St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish, and spending years on the board of the Futures in Education Foundation and Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, among similar titles on countless other boards.

“St. Francis College President Dugan personified community and spiritual virtues. He, along with the entire Dugan family, was Brooklyn through and through,” said Councilmember Vincent Gentile. “I was honored to get to know him over the years and his leadership at both his institution and in this borough was sincere and well-known. I grieved with him at the time of the loss of his sister [Assemblymember] Eileen Dugan and now I grieve again at his loss.”

Just days before his death, Dugan – who, in 2013 put his vast banking experience to work again as a member of the Board of Directors for Investors Bank – was honored by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce at its annual gala, held on Thursday, December 15 at the El Caribe where his son, Patrick Dugan – a senior director at Cushman & Wakefield – accepted the award on his behalf.

BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photo by Corazon Aguirre
BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photo by Corazon Aguirre

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of St. Francis College President Brendan J. Dugan, a wonderful educator and a credit to his family and community,” said Brooklyn Chamber President and CEO Andrew Hoan and former Brooklyn Chamber President and CEO Carlo Scissura in a joint statement. “It was an honor to recognize President Dugan’s many accomplishments at our winter gala, from his successful banking career to his time giving back to his alma mater.”

This, though, was just one of Dugan’s countless accolades.

Perhaps most notably, in June 2009, Dugan – whose family hailed from Kilcar County, Ireland – was inducted into the Pontifical Order of the Knights of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Benedict XVI.

He has also been honored by the likes of the Greater Jamaica Development Corp., the Anti-Defamation League of B’Nai Brith, Helen Keller Services for the Blind, the Crohns and Colitis Foundation, the American Jewish Congress, Neighborhood Housing Services, Good Shepherd Services, Touro Law School, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the Boy Scouts of America, Brooklyn Legal Services Corp., and his alma mater, among others.

“When you hung around with Brendan, unless you were in the banking business, you really didn’t really know he was a banker. Not only that, you didn’t even know he was CEO of a bank,” said Domenick Cama, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of Investors Bank, who grew up with Dugan in Carroll Gardens. “He’s a pretty humble guy. He’s a mentor to me also. He is a person that exhibits humility and modesty. Those are the two lessons that I’ve learned, the two words that I’ve learned from Brendan from him in his career.”

Dugan will be waked at Scotto Funeral Home, 106 First Place, on Wednesday, December 21 and Thursday, December 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral will be held on Friday, December 23 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary Star of the Sea, 467 Court Street.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Brendan J. Dugan ‘68 Scholarship Fund.

Dugan is survived by his wife Barbara Dugan, his sons Joseph (Stephanie), Michael and Patrick (Christina), and his six grandchildren (Brendan C., Ryan, William, Helena, Colin and Mary). He is also survived by his sister Patricia Curtin and brother Brian.

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