In Memoriam: John V. Fopeano, PhD

Published February 19, 2021

John V. Fopeano, PhD

story by dirk hoffman

John V. Fopeano, PhD, the founding chair of the Department of Medical Technology, died Feb. 8 in Warminster, Pennsylvania, at the age of 93.


Spent Entire Professional Career at UB

He spent his professional career at the University at Buffalo, joining the faculty in 1954 and retiring in 1983.

Fopeano was instrumental in overseeing the growth of the medical technology program when it transitioned from the College of Arts and Sciences to the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

He was appointed full-time director of the medical technology program and directed its transition from a Bachelor of Arts to a Bachelor of Science degree program.   

In his first year at the helm, Fopeano and two part-time instructors taught the program’s three graduates.

Two years later, the program grew to three full-time faculty and nine clinical instructors and 17 graduates. Two graduated magna cum laude and three graduated cum laude — a reflection of the high standards set by Fopeano.

Founding Chairman of New Department

He became a full professor in 1970. The medical technology program became a full department in the new School of Health Related Professions with Fopeano as its founding chairman. Its name was changed to the Department of Biotechnical and Clinical Laboratory Sciences in September 2000.

Fopeano and his wife, Ethel, have been benefactors over many decades with a keen interest in supporting student activities in the department, such as the annual senior banquet and awards dinner. 

He was the director of medical technology education at the Erie County Lab and director of the Sub-Board 1 Inc. lab in Michael Hall. He was awarded the Dean’s Special Award for Outstanding Service to the School in May 1978 in the School of Health Related Professions.

­Fopeano was a 60-year member of the American Chemical Society.

Earned Doctoral Degree from U. of Michigan

Fopeano was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Topeka, Kansas.

He graduated from Yale University in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree in philosophy and social science. He earned a doctoral degree in biochemistry in 1954 from the University of Michigan. He served in the U.S. Army during his college years.

Besides his wife, he is survived by three sons, Stephen, Paul and Richard; two daughters, Claire and Katherine; seven grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; a sister, Mary; and several nephews and grandnephews.