Dean's Advisory Board

The mission of the Dean’s Advisory Board is to support the School of Arts & Science in the fulfillment of its mission to educate students who will possess the skills, knowledge, and moral values that enable them to live well in a complex world and to foster a community of teacher-scholars informed by research, experience, and scholarship. The Advisory Board will support the School of Arts & Science and advise the Dean on ways to strengthen its programs, improve its outreach to the community, increase its base of support, and best serve its students and faculty.

Purposes and Objectives

The Dean’s Advisory Board, consisting of friends and alumni, is established to provide support, advice, and counsel to the Dean of the School of Arts & Science at Iona University. The Advisory Board will support the School of Arts & Science and advise the Dean on ways to strengthen its programs, improve its outreach to the community, increase its base of support, and best serve its students and faculty. Board members should be committed to increasing the school’s visibility, promoting the academic programs offered in the school, assisting in areas of professional development, and serving as advocates for the School of Arts & Science in the broader community. The Board meets this purpose by:

  • Advising on issues germane to the mission and strategic goals of the school;
  • Serving as a sounding board on planning issues, new programs, and activities;
  • Identifying opportunities for students to enhance their education through internships, mentoring, and experiential learning;
  • Serving as an advocate for the school with the external community;
  • Providing access to leaders in various professions for the dean and faculty;
  • Assisting in acquiring resources and fundraising in support of the school’s mission;
  • Advising on ways to strengthen the school’s curriculum in its various disciplines and programs;
  • Assisting with special projects, as requested by the Dean.

Dean of School of Arts & Science

Joseph Stabile, Ph.D.

Advisory Board Members


Francis G. Belardi, MD is an Iona graduate, Class of 1969. He is an experienced clinician, medical educator and medical administrator. Since retirement in 2014, he has remained active in the medical field as a graduate medical education consultant, mentor and lecturer as well as serving as voluntary faculty for pre-doctoral medical students. He has authored several medical publications that were published in peer–reviewed journals and contributed to two textbooks on healthcare leadership.

His BS degree was earned at Iona University and his MD degree was awarded at Creighton University School of Medicine. Following medical school, he completed an internship at Rhode Island Hospital-Brown University Program in Medicine and residency at the Ohio State University Affiliated Hospitals. He also completed a Faculty Development Fellowship at the University of North Carolina. He was originally board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) in 1978 and was recertified every seven years through his retirement in 2014.

Dr. Belardi practiced fulltime family medicine until 2000 when he joined the faculty of the Guthrie Family Medicine Residency becoming the residency Program Director in 2002. During his tenure as Program Director the annual ABFM board pass rate was 100% for resident graduates. He also served as Chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at Guthrie’s flagship hospital, the Guthrie-Robert Packer Hospital, for ten years. In 2006, he became the Executive Vice President for Clinical Affairs for the Guthrie Medical Group (GMG) consisting of 425 medical providers.

In 2012 he was elected as President/CEO of the GMG and remained in that role until retirement in 2014. Other achievements at Guthrie included: Faculty Teacher of the Year award three times, clinical faculty appointments at several Guthrie-affiliated medical schools, presentations at national academic conferences and participation and co-author in an NIH (National Institute of Health) collaborative research grant. He recognized the need for physician leadership education in the non-medical areas and co-developed a physician leadership program with an academic institution to train current and future Guthrie physician leaders.

Dr. Belardi retired from active practice and administrative roles in 2014 but remains very active in the Guthrie Clinic graduate medical education programs teaching and mentoring professionalism to postgraduate trainees.

On a personal note, Dr. Belardi has been married to Ann Marie (Hoffmann) Belardi for 50 years. They have three married children and five grandchildren.

Deborah Benvenger served as the chief admissions officer at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Debbie received her BA in Mathematics (’79) and MBA (’84) from Iona University and has extensive experience in admissions including at the University. She joined the Dean's Advisory Board in fall 2018.

Charter Member
Steve Daunt came to Iona University to play basketball. He majored in physics, chemistry and math. He attended graduate school at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, where he worked in molecular spectroscopy (Physical Chemistry and Chemical Physics). His supervisor enjoyed lab privileges at Canada's National Research Council in Ottawa, where Steve explored laser work and first found out the relationship of his field to astronomy. That lab is now the Stacie Institute for Molecular Sciences (formerly the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics). Dr. Herzberg was the lab director, and he won the Nobel Prize while Steve was a student working in his branch. During those years, Steve became interested in computer simulation that brought him into his first contact with the University of Tennessee (UT).

Steve came to UT as a postdoc in 1975 and taught in the Math Department for three years while he did research in the Dept. of Physics & Astronomy. When he started teaching in the Physics Department he decided that his research was pulling him more and more into astronomy and, that teaching it might be a good idea. Steve has taught astronomy and various physics courses at UT and he is also an adjunct professor at Maryville College (Maryville, Tenn.) in astronomy, medical physics and nuclear medicine. He has been a visiting research scientist at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, Md.) and he has done work in support of the Voyager, Cassini and Galileo Mission and the Hubble Space Telescope. Steve spent 10 years as NSERC Faculty Fellow at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.

Ed McDermott, M.D. is currently Assistant Medical Director at the
Notre Dame Health and Rehabilitation Center in Norwalk, CT.
Dr. McDermott received his B.A. degree in biology and graduated from Iona before going on to medical school to receive his Doctor of Medicine.

Charter Member
Rohan Samarakoon graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Biology from Iona University. He received his MS and Ph.D. degrees from Albany Medical College in New York in Molecular Cell Biology (1997-2003). His doctoral thesis defined novel cell signaling mechanisms induced by fibrotic growth factors and mechanical forces in the context of vascular disease.

Rohan did his post-doctoral fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Dr. Joseph V. Bonventre’s laboratory (2003-2006) where his research, funded by a fellowship award from the American Heart Association, characterized the molecular mechanisms associated with kidney injury and fibrosis. Dr. Samarakoon is currently an Assistant Professor at the Center for Cell Biology at Albany Medical Center. His research program there is aimed at identifying new fibrotic molecules and testing them as therapeutic agents against kidney failure in pre-clinical settings.

Extensively published, Rohan serves as an editor and a peer reviewer for several high profile scientific journals. During his career, Dr. Samarakoon has trained numerous BS/MD students, graduate students, medical students, medical residents, and research fellows to become researchers and physician-scientists.

Victor A. Stanionis, Ph.D., ’60, Professor Emeritus of Physics, completed 60 years of teaching physics at Iona University at the end of August 2021. Stanionis earned his bachelor’s degree from Iona University and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He has served the Iona Council on the Arts since the late 1980s believing that the creative and performing arts were an important part of a liberal arts education for all Iona students.

A major academic accomplishment was his role in the establishment of the Scientific and Technological Literacy (STL) program in the 1980s. Iona’s STL program was cited by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Chronicle of Higher Education as being in the forefront of teaching science for the new millennium.

Stanionis was also instrumental in 1989, in inaugurating the (now) Thomas G. Bullen, CFC, Ph.D., Memorial Lecture Series in Science and Technology which to date has had over 100 speakers. Nineteen were Nobel Prize winners, five were MacArthur Fellows, two were chairs of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a large number were recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Science and one, the former president of Rockefeller University.

He has also been active in the outside community, serving for over 31 years as the president of The Beechmont Association, whose mission is “improving and beautifying Beechmont and protecting the community interests of its residents”. Beechmont is a residential community that includes a part of Iona.