David Douglas Burhans died on April 11, 2023. He was a native of Louisville, Kentucky, son of Delma and Rollin Burhans. After graduating from William Jewell College with a BA in English, he earned a Master and Doctorate of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. David was Chaplain of the University of Richmond from 1974 to 2004, serving as pastor, preacher and spiritual leader for the university community. In 1986, he was named the inaugural Jesse Ball duPont Chair of the Chaplaincy. David also was engaged in the greater Richmond community and beyond serving on the boards of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, the Virginia Holocaust Museum, his Alma Mater and the Charles B. Keesee Education Fund.
David, a man of deep Christian faith, was instrumental in establishing interfaith dialogue at the University where in 1990 the Wilton Center for Interfaith Ministries was built at the heart of the campus serving people of all faiths. He also advocated for inclusivity for the LGBTQ community at the University. David’s commitment to social justice was reflected in his development and support of the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement. This summer program provides funding for students to work in organizations that promote social change for the most vulnerable in our society.
Of all activities at the University of Richmond, David’s most cherished was the Christmas Candlelight and Choral service which brought together students, faculty and the wider community each December. This year marks the 50th anniversary of this worship event.
David had a life-long commitment to the church and was most recently an active member of Grace Baptist Church. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the U of R football and basketball teams. As a result of his work with Richmond student athletes and coaches, he was inducted into the University of Richmond Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012. Nothing delighted him more than time with his wife of 62 years, Ellen Petrie Burhans, his 4 children and spouses, Ann Burhans Hart (Stephen), David Burhans, Jr., Emily Burhans Knight (Chris) and William Burhans (Tracy) and his 11 grandchildren, Will and Sam Hart, Jacob and Ella Burhans, Andrew, Ben, Peter, and Jonathan Knight, Haliana, Naomi and Augusta Claire Burhans.