Dr. Marion Patricia McGinn Warunek Professor of Biology at Fairleigh Dickinson University Dr. Marion Patricia McGinn Warunek died on Friday, June 4, 2021, at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. A Professor of Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), she was also the long-time Director of the University Honors Program on all three FDU campuses during a time of great transformation and growth for the Program. Dr. Warunek was born and raised in Stapleton, Staten Island, graduating from St. Joseph Hill Academy and then Notre Dame College, magna cum laude and class valedictorian. She earned a BA in Biological Sciences from St. John's University, an MS in Biological Sciences from Fordham University, a PhD in Biological Sciences from Fordham University, and a BSN in Nursing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She joined FDU's Rutherford Campus in 1970 and rose through the academic ranks to Full Professor. In addition, she served as Honors Program Director for all three campuses for almost 50 years. As past Director of the University Honors Programs, Dr. Warunek continued to contribute to that program on a national level as a member of the prestigious Portz Scholarship Committee of the National Collegiate Honors Council. In addition, she received a Mellon Foundation Grant to support Interdisciplinary Seminars in Contemporary Genetics. Dr. Warunek's academic and research interests bridged two disciplines. In the Department of Biological Sciences, she focused on mammalian cell culture, cell biology, and drug interactions within cells. In the Henry P. Becton School of Nursing and Allied Health her academic interest centered on pharmacotherapeutics, global health, epidemiology, and genomics. Previously, her work examined cell proliferation rates as cosmetic efficacy indicators, and most recently her clinical research examined changes in cytokines and chemokines in chronic inflammatory diseases like diabetes and renal disease. She taught Cell Biology, Pharmacology and Human Genetics to graduate students, and Over-the-Counter Drugs, Genetics and Society, and Pharmacotherapeutics to undergraduates. And when she realized that many of her students were pursuing a degree in nursing, she decided to pursue one, too, receiving a nursing degree in four years. Dr. Warunek's passion for teaching was matched only by her commitment to her family, which she showed all year round in a thousand little ways. She and her husband, David Warunek, PhD, met while pursuing their PhDs. at Fordham and married in 1976; today he is Chief of Laboratory Services at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She is survived by a brother, Thomas G. McGinn, MD, of Staten Island, eight nieces and nephews, 25 grandnieces and nephews (including one grand-niece, Sheilah, who is "the joy of her life"), 2 great-grand-nephews and many cousins and friends. She was predeceased by her parents and one brother, Joseph T. McGinn, Sr., MD. Those numbers do not tell the whole story, though, which is all about commitment and love.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store
Published by Staten Island Advance from Jun. 7 to Jun. 8, 2021.