Former dean, athlete passes away at 66

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Donald Brennan, former Saint Louis University student, instructor and dean, passed away  Thursday, Nov. 24, due to complications with lung cancer. He was 66 years old.

Brennan will be long remembered for his 35-year presence on campus, where he covered almost every facet of the University in athletics, education, research, faith and school spirit.

Donald Brennan: 1945-2011

As a SLU student, Brennan was a star soccer player on the 1965 National Championship team as well as the 1964 team that finished third in the country. He concluded his soccer tenure at SLU as a co-captain in 1966. In 1998, Brennan was elected into SLU’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Brennan graduated from SLU, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1967 and his master’s degree in 1969 in communication disorders. He received his doctorate from the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in 1974 before joining SLU’s faculty in 1975 in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

In between his educational degrees, Brennan enlisted in the United States Air Force, where he served from 1968 through 1971, and was honorably discharged with the rank of captain. Brennan became a full-time faculty member and department chair, and eventually accepted the position of dean of the Graduate School and associate provost for research in 1988.

He held on to the position of associate provest for nearly 20 years, which happens to be the longest in SLU history, before being stepping down to serve as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2008.  He held the position until 2010.

Brennan took the position and had a goal in mind. According to an article published by The University News in 2008, Brennan expressed his motivation for taking the position.

“I plan to make the College of Arts and Sciences the best it can be, so it can be a prime part of helping [University President Lawrence] Biondi achieve his vision of making SLU the finest Catholic university in the country,” Brennan said.

He stepped down from the position of dean in 2010 to return to teaching.

“I entered the academy because of my love for teaching and learning with and from my students and I look forward to ending my career doing this very thing,” Brennan said to The University News.

Brennan displayed his love for SLU throughout his entire adult life.