Siena College’s President Edward Coughlin Dies At 71

One Capital Region campus is in mourning. On July 30, Siena College President Brother F. Edward Coughlin died unexpectedly today, following complications from heart surgery in Rochester. He was 71.

“Brother Ed,” as he was known to students, faculty and staff, was planning on stepping down from his position next August. “The entire Siena College community is shocked and deeply saddened at Brother Ed’s untimely and unexpected passing,” said John F. Murray, chair of the Siena College Board of Trustees. “He served Siena with distinction and with a heartfelt commitment to the Franciscan ideals that governed his life and the life of the college.”

When Coughlin took a medical leave this past June, Dr. Margaret Madden, Ph.D., vice president of student affairs, was named acting president. She will remain in her position as interim president until the college selects a new one. “Brother Ed led Siena with grace and humility, and he will be deeply missed by our faculty, students and staff,” said Madden. “His influence on Siena was profound. He was one of the kindest and most trustworthy people I have ever worked with. I feel fortunate that he was part of my professional and personal life, and I shall always cherish his mentorship, insight, and good humor.”

A Buffalo native, Coughlin received his undergraduate degree from St. Bonaventure University, earning a doctorate from the Catholic University of America and master’s degree from Boston College. In 2014, when he was a trustee at Siena and vice president of Franciscan affairs at St. Bonaventure, he was named interim president of Siena, a position he’d served ever since. (Coughlin also served two terms as director of St. Bonaventure’s Franciscan Institute, overseeing course offerings and extensive publications.)

A memorial will be held at the college in September after students return to campus.

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