Saint Rose lost a significant and familiar part of its community last month.
Sister Agnes Rose Burton, CSJ, passed away on March 6, 2018, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House in Latham. Sister Agnes served for over three decades at The College of Saint Rose, and for many of those years lived on campus with Sister Tess Wysolmerski. Their house on Partridge Street was the site of many memorable gatherings of colleagues and friends.
Sister Agnes came to The College of Saint Rose in 1947 to obtain a degree in English, with a minor in History. While she attended Saint Rose, she was a member of many clubs and organizations, including Sodality, Shadows, the Peace Club and the Rosaverian, and she was vice president of her class all four years. She graduated in 1951, entering the order of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet that same year. She came back to The College of Saint Rose and obtained a Master of Arts in History in 1961, and then obtained a Master of Arts in Political Science from the State University at Albany in 1969. Upon the final profession of her vows as a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, she took the name Sister Agnes Rose Burton. Sister Agnes taught in high schools in the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses including: St. Aloysius Academy, Rome; St. Mary’s, Hudson; St. Anthony’s, Syracuse; St. Patrick’s, Syracuse; St. Mary’s, Little Falls; Catholic Central, Binghamton; and Bishop Grimes, Syracuse.
Sister Agnes returned to The College of Saint Rose again in 1971, serving as a dedicated member of our faculty in the Department of History and Political Science for 31 years, and served as the national, state and local government internship coordinator. During her tenure at Saint Rose, Sister Agnes was a candidate for President of the Albany Common Council, having her students at the time run her political campaign; she was a ward leader in the City of Albany with a strong involvement in City politics for 20 years; she served as an Executive Committee Member for the Albany Republican Party; and she was appointed to the Albany Ethics Commission. Over the years, she continued to be involved with her alma mater as an active member of the Alumni Association, serving on its Board of Directors for many years. In 1986, she was recognized for her dedication to her profession when she received the Thomas Manion Distinguished Faculty Award, and in 2003, she was promoted to the rank of Professor Emeritus. In 2007, Sister Agnes was presented with the Carondelet Lifetime Achievement Award for alumni.
Sister Agnes is memorialized by the Biagiotti-Burton Award, which was established by Nora Anderson in tribute to her nephew Domenico Biagiotti’s favorite professor, and is given each year to a student selected by members of the History department. She also was instrumental in setting up the Sr. Rosaleen Gilroy, CSJ History-Political Science Award, which is given each year to a senior majoring in History/Political Science with the highest grade point average.
Sister Agnes Rose Burton exemplified the mission of our founding Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and of our College in serving “the dear neighbor,” encouraging and mentoring hundreds of students over the years to give back to their communities.