Dr. David D. Burhans

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of our longtime Board Member, supporter and friend, the Rev. Dr. David D. Burhans, on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, following a brief illness.

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. Burhans earned a B.A. in English from William Jewell College and three advanced degrees in theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 1974, he was appointed to the newly created position of chaplain to the University of Richmond, and in 1986, was named the inaugural Jessie Ball duPont Chair of the Chaplaincy.

During his 30 years as chaplain at the University of Richmond, Dr. Burhans served as pastor, preacher, teacher, and spiritual leader of the Richmond community and was beloved for his kindness, grace, and good humor. He officiated at weddings of generations of Spiders and provided guidance to countless others through all stages of life. David worked diligently to build a vibrant and welcoming religious ecology on campus, to offer ethical guidance on the difficult issues of the day, and to nurture the life of the spirit in each person.

Serving others was at the heart of David’s faith, as evidenced by his involvement in the Richmond community and beyond. In addition to Virginia Holocaust Museum, he held leadership roles in community organizations, including the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities and the Charles B. Keesee Educational Fund. The Bonner Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) created the Burhans Civic Fellowship in David’s honor in 2005. 

David and his wife Ellen are the parents of four adult children and eleven grandchildren. 

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, in UR’s Cannon Memorial Chapel with a reception to follow in the Robins Pavilion of the Jepson Alumni Center.