IN MEMORIAM: Arnold Burns ’50


By Matt Olson

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, Arnold Burns ‘50 died of cardiac arrest and complications due to Parkinson’s disease, according to the New York Times. He was 83.

Burns served as chairman of the Board of Trustees for Union from 1982 to 1986, and was also Deputy Attorney General under the Reagan Administration.

He was an active member of the college community, participating in the Pre-Law Society, The Garnet publications and was a member of Kappa Nu and Alpha Phi Omega.

After graduating with honors from Union, Burns received his law degree from Cornell in 1953. He spent a majority of his law career in defense before being appointed to serve in the Justice Department.

Burns experienced a tumultuous tenure as Deputy Attorney General. He resigned from his post following the Wedtech Scandal, in which he and many other members of the Justice Department opposed the actions taken by then-Attorney General Edwin Meese III. Meese eventually resigned from his position amid possible charges in the criminal case.

Burns’ name on campus is most directly associated with the Burns Arts Atrium, which is the main atrium in the Arts Building. The Herman and Rose Burns Print Collection, named after his parents, is currently on display in the Mandeville Gallery.

Burns also published a memoir entitled “Preparing to be Lucky.”

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Felice, and his two children, both of whom are also Union alumni.


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