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Kenyon Mourns the Death of Longtime Biology Professor Dr. Robert “Doc” Burns

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Dr. Robert D. Burns on May 1.  Dr. Burns was a member of the Kenyon faculty from 1963 to 1992.  Bob “Doc” Burns was Professor Emeritus of Biology at Kenyon and served as faculty advisor for Chi Chapter for over 35 years.  Doc was a very faithful and loyal Delt who was initiated into the Distinguished Service Chapter of Delta Tau Delta which honors alumni who have been actively loyal to the Fraternity for at least twenty years. There will be a Celebration of Life Service for Bob Burns on September 28 in Gambier. Details to follow

Dr. Burns held degrees from Michigan State, BA, MS and Phd ‘51, and Kenyon, H ‘92.  Burns arrived at Kenyon in 1963 as an assistant professor of biology after several years at the University of Oklahoma. A specialist in behavioral biology, he focused his research interests on the kangaroo rat and the hopping mouse of Australia.  He also gave special attention to the avian fauna and the ecology of Knox County’s woodlands and meadows.
At his retirement from the College in 1992, Burns was awarded emeritus status and an honorary doctor of science degree. Long involved in community activities and organizations, he was named Knox County Big Brother of the Year in 1987. On campus, he was known for his devoted service as faculty adviser to Delta Tau Delta fraternity, whose alumni showered Burns with cards and letters on his 90th birthday in February.  

In 2008, alumni of Delta Tau Delta endowed the Robert D. Burns Scholarship at Kenyon in his honor. The scholarships are awarded annually to members of Chi Chapter.

Burns is survived by his wife, Jeanette Burns; two children, Cynthia “Cyndy” Burns Weeks and Robert E. Burns, a Fredericktown; and several grandchildren.

His involvement with the chapter for 40 plus years has touched so many lives. If you have photos, stories, recollections or memories of Brother Burns, and would to share with his family and other alumni, you can This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will add them to this piece.  Here are a few which other brothers have sent in.

Radcluffe Savage '19 Undergrad Vice President, Dr. Burns, and Abhijeet Ball ‘19

Dr. Burns, and Jeffrey Moritz '86, Alumni President

Dr. Burns surrounded by alumni at 125 Banquet

Dr. Burns with Bill Montei '75

Dr. Burns and alumni at 30th Anniversary Celebration, October 2003

Dr. Burns with wife Jeanette, at 30th Anniversary Celebration, October 2003

Dr. Burns and Richard James



Doc Burns, Bob Warmeling and Ran Bucey at the Cleveland Chi Delt reception May 2006

Drew McFarland '83, Chapter Advisor Jim Hebert' 90, Doc Burns '51 Chapter Advisor Emeritus, Andy Mueller' 90, and Jeff Clark '90 at the Open House May 2005

Brothers - Beckett, Burns, Calhoon

Brothers - Beckett, Burns, Russell, and Garboden

Brothers - Moore, Margvelashvili, McFarland, Beckett, Burns, Zhao, and Calhoon



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