Dr. Stanionis retires after 60 years at Iona

Dr.  Stanionis retires after 60 years at Iona

Krystal Ortiz, News Editor

Dr. Victor Stanionis, professor of physics at Iona College, will retire this coming summer after devoting over 60 years of service to the college. 


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. He has been recognized for his dedication to Iona and his passion for teaching with many awards, including the 1993 Science Appreciation Award, the Brother Arthur A. Loftus Award for Outstanding Achievement in Education (2000), the Facere and Docere award from Iona College (2010), the Iona College Recognition Award for Outstanding Academic Accomplishments and Dedicated Service (2012), the Jean Claude Lovinsky Memorial Award (2016) and the New Rochelle Opera NRO Standing Ovation Award (2019).  


Stanionis greatly impacted Iona’s academic lifeA major contribution was his role in the establishment of the Scientific and Technological Literacy (STL) program in the 1980s. He was the coordinator of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s “New Liberal Arts Program,” a program dedicated to helping liberal arts colleges develop and improve instruction in applied mathematics, technology and analytic reasoningfor 24 years. During that time, Stanionis earned $1.8 million for STL curriculum development. He was also the Chair of the Physics Department at Iona for nine years.  


Stanionis began teaching at Iona in 1961. During an interview, he explained that attending and working at Iona were both unexpected paths he took in his life. Growing up with money always being an object, he knew that the only way to receive a private education would be if the school offered him enough financial aid.  


“I grew up in the South Bronx on 139th Street,” Stanionis said. “And money was an important thing. And basically, what happened was I got a four-year scholarship to Iona. I didn’t know where it was. I thought it was up near Albany somewhere.” 


While visiting Iona, he was offered a position by Br. Bullen, the head of the Physics department at the time. He started shortly after accepting.  


“[…] That Friday, they asked me if I would think about coming and teaching,” Stanionis explainedAnd, of course, I had to speak with my wife. […] She didn’t object. And she thought it would be interesting being the wife of a college professor. And as a result, I started teaching on Monday. I hadn’t quit the other position that I had. And I called him up and told him I wouldn’t be back. They weren’t too happy. 


While explaining what he felt from serving Iona for such a long period of time, he used one word in summation. 


“Satisfaction,” Stanionis saidI have enjoyed it very much. And I find that the achievements of the graduates very satisfying. Showing that basically. Or, I guess, verifying, basically what [the Iona faculty has] been doing, what I’ve been involved in doing all these years, has resulted in a good life for most. 


Satisfaction transitions into pride when Stanionis is asked what achievement makes him the proudest. 


“Teaching all these years for 60 years,” Stanionis saidAnd being involved with the science program at Iona and trying to carry out our mission. 


Stanionis explained that working with students was his favorite part of being a professor, and that he gained a great sense of fulfillment from it 


“Again, satisfaction,” Stanionis saidAnd seeing my students do so well. Over the years, and meeting them actually communicating with them by email, even now, some of them have retired and they write me letters and things of that sort. It’s very satisfying to have them happy in what they’re doing, and what they did. 


Stanionis stated the biggest thing he gained from Iona. 


wonderful life,” Stanionis saidIt’s been a wonderful life, I would do it over again.