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Memorial service for Paul Burgett held at UR


The University of Rochester hosted a public memorial service for Paul Burgett on Tuesday afternoon.

During his 54-year career with the university, Burgett held many roles, including dean of students at Eastman and for the university, as well as a university vice president.

University President Richard Feldman said someone like Burgett only comes once in a generation.

"Paul had a way of making everyone at home in his presence, with a booming message of wisdom and warmth, telling students, faculty, community members to come in, rest your weary bones."

Feldman said he knew Burgett for about 30 years, always admiring his passion for not only the university but also the Rochester community.

Jason Buitrago is a university alumnus and called Burgett his "Rochester Dad."

Credit UR
Jason Buitrago.

"As much as it pains me to accept that Dean Burgett is no longer with us in body, that I will no longer be able to catch up with him in person over coffee and Danishes, I will forever continue to seek his voice, his wisdom. He will forever be the embodiment of what we aspire this university to be."

Burgett was also a student at Eastman in the 1960s.

Bob Witmer, a member and chairman emeritus of the university's board of trustees, said he respected the relationship Burgett had with his students.

"His goal was to encourage each student to reach his or her potential. And would often refer to a student as doctor. In order to introduce the possibility of earning a Ph.D. I can just visualize a student taking a quick rearward glance to see whom Paul might be greeting, only to realize that there was no one else there."

Burgett was 72 years old, and passed after a brief illness in August.

The service was held at the Strong Auditorium on UR's River Campus.

Credit UR
Bob Witmer

Donations in Burgett’s memory can be made to Gateways Music Festival in association with the Eastman School of Music. Contact the Festival at (585) 232-6106 or via email at for additional information.