Christendom College mourns the passing of former College President Dr. Damian Fedoryka, who passed away peacefully on July 26. A renowned philosopher, scholar, husband, and father who greatly helped with the expansion of Christendom College following its founding, Fedoryka was 81.
“Cathy and I were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Damian Fedoryka. Damian, his wife Irene, and his beautiful family, were an inspiration and touched the lives of so many,” says College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell. “His love for philosophy and service to Christendom College, including helping the college receive its first accreditation, will be remembered and treasured with deep gratitude. It was an honor for me to have served in his administration. May God rest his soul and give peace and consolation to his family which are such a dear part of our community.”
Born in 1941 in Ukraine, Fedoryka earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Louvain, Belgium, before obtaining his graduate degrees from Fordham University and the University of Salzburg, Austria. He married his beloved wife, Irene, in 1966, before becoming a personal student of renowned philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand.
In 1985, Fedoryka was chosen as Christendom College founder Dr. Warren Carroll’s successor as president, following Carroll stepping down as president so he could focus on teaching.
During his seven years as president, Fedoryka achieved a number of great accomplishments. It was during his presidency that the college retired nearly $600,000 in debt without disrupting the growth and development of the college. Also under his direction, two residence halls, Blessed Margaret of Castello Hall (now St. Columba Hall) and St. Joseph’s Hall, a library wing, and a chapel extension were constructed without adding any new debt. Moreover, Fedoryka publicized the college in the highest circles in the Vatican through several trips to Rome and personal audiences with Pope Saint John Paul II, and he guided the college to full accreditation by SACS on December 10, 1987.
Fedoryka resigned on July 15, 1992, to pursue important educational and intellectual projects that had been summoning him for some time. He later took on teaching positions at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and at Ave Maria College, Michigan, teaching philosophy at both schools.
Fedoryka’s main area of academic expertise was the philosophy of the person, ethics, and the thought of Dietrich von Hildebrand and Pope Saint John Paul II. He taught and lectured frequently on these subjects in America, in Austria, and in his native land of Ukraine.
He and his wife, Irene, who passed away on December 24, 2010, had ten children, many of whom attended the college and even went on to teach at the college as well, including his daughter, Larissa, and his son, Damian. His son-in-law, Dr. John Cuddeback, has also taught at the college for years.
In 2008, on the occasion of the college’s 30th anniversary, Fedoryka and his wife were both presented with awards for their many years of service to the college. Irene Fedoryka received the college’s St. Catherine of Siena Award and Damian Fedoryka received the college’s highest honor, the Pro Deo et Patria Award for Distinguished Service to God and Nation.
Fedoryka spent his life spreading the word of Christ, ultimately impacting many lives across the globe for the better. He will be greatly missed by the entire Christendom College community.
May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.