Few professors have made a more indelible mark on the
Honors Program than Dr. Arthur Gianelli. As the second
director in the program's history, Dr. Gianelli pioneered
initiatives that made it possible for the program to blossom.
In fourteen years at its helm, Dr. Gianelli expanded the
program’s scope from ten students exclusively from St. John’s
College to the university-wide community it is today. Dr.
Gianelli’s determined efforts enabled the Honors Program to expand
its curriculum to include the whole ofthe University core in all of
St. John's schools and colleges. Now, honors students benefit
from a cozy special key-access lounge, Uncommon Hours, guest
speakers, and cultural events such as walking tours and New York
Philharmonic, ballet and opera concerts. Dr. Gianelli
was also chairperson of the Philosophy Department for 14
years, well past the typical two 4-year terms a chairperson serves.
From 1991-2000, he simultaneously served as both Honors Program
Director and Philosophy Chair.
Dr. Gianelli graduated in 1971 with a Ph.D. in philosophy from
St John’s University and has been a beloved professor at the
university ever since; however, he did not always realize his
passion lay in philosophy. He first studied physics and
graduated with a B.S. from Georgetown University in 1961, after
which he taught physics at Penn State University for four
years. He began to realize, however, that his scientific
inquiries were increasingly evolving into philosophical reflections
and investigations. He followed his passion, thus pursuing
his philosophy Ph.D. at St John’s. Physics still plays a large
influence on Dr. Gianelli’s philosophical focus though; his
research centers in the philosophy of physical science, reflecting
his physics roots.
Generations of St. John's undergraduates have
been captivated by Dr. Gianelli lectures
on the philosophical origins of science. Indeed, he
has succeeded in convicing even the most uncompromising
undergraduate empiricists that Heliocentric Model and the Big
Bang were actually born out of philosophical inquisitions, not
scientific ones. His lectures often present metaphysics as an
extension of science. Whole decades of honors
students continually sing his praises. Dr. Gianelli
particulary enjoys teaching honors students and copiously lauds
them. His template assessment is that honors students
are inquisitive. Their willingness to ask questions and yearning to
understand material is refreshing, and he thoroughly enjoys
fielding their questions. In addition to metaphysics, Dr.
Gianelli also teaches courses in logic and the philosophy of
physical science, all in the Honors Program.
When not in the classroom, Dr. Gianelli follows
politics. Indeed, he served as delegate to the 1976
Democratic convention. He also enjoys sports
and has been a lifelong fan of St John’s basketball. He fondly
recalls watching televised games on WPIX since the 1950’s. Dr.
Gianelli is married to Barbara Ginalllli. They
have two sons; one, Arthur, Jr., is the Chief Executive
Officer of Nassau County's University Medical Center and the
other, Scott, holds a Ph.D. in Physics.