In Memoriam: Robert F. Biolchini, Trustee Emeritus

by Dennis Brown

Robert F. Biolchini, a University of Notre Dame Trustee Emeritus, died Wednesday (Nov. 8) in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He was 78. 

Biolchini RelRobert F. Biolchini

“We at Notre Dame are truly saddened by Bob’s passing,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president. “Deeply devoted to his alma mater, he provided tremendous leadership and vision on our Board of Trustees for many years. Bob’s life was characterized by his great faith, unwavering integrity and wonderful generosity. My sincere condolences and prayers are with his beloved wife, Fran, their family and his many friends.”

A 1962 graduate of Notre Dame, Biolchini earned his law degree three years later from George Washington University. Since 1981 he had served as a temporary appeals judge for the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and he was a partner in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, law firm Stuart, Biolchini & Turner at the time of his passing.

Before his election to the Board of Trustees, Biolchini served for 19 years on the Notre Dame Law School Advisory Council. The Biolchinis endowed a law school professorship in 1995 and in 2008 underwrote the renovation of the school’s building, which was renamed Biolchini Hall of Law.

“Bob loved life, his family, the Church and Notre Dame and was a generous and steadfast friend to the law school. We will all miss him dearly,” said Nell Jessup Newton, Joseph A. Matson Dean of the Law School.

Biolchini served for 15 years as president and chief executive officer of PennWell Corp., a privately owned media company that publishes 75 international and national weekly and monthly business-to-business magazines in print and online and conducts conferences and exhibitions worldwide. He retired in 2015, when he became chairman of the board.

Active in his hometown of Tulsa, Biolchini chaired the Diocese of Tulsa’s Fund for the Future and served as chair of the board of trustees of Gilcrease Museum and Monte Casino School in Tulsa. He was a Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and of the Holy Sepulchre.

Biolchini was chair of Valley National Bank, Tulsa Valley Bancshares, Bank of Jackson Hole, Bancshares of Jackson Hole and Ameritrust and was a director of American Business Media. He also served on several private and public corporations in the oil and gas and electronics industries and was a member of Lloyds of London.

He was the father of six children, five of them Notre Dame graduates.

The rosary will be said at 7 p.m. Nov. 24 in Cascia Hall’s St. Rita Chapel in Tulsa and the funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 25 at Christ the King Catholic Church, also in Tulsa.