Anthony F. Bruno, 69, professor of social work

Anthony F. Bruno
Anthony F. Bruno
Posted: February 27, 2013

Anthony F. Bruno, 69, of Glenside, a professor of social sciences at Community College of Philadelphia and a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, died Tuesday, Feb. 19, of cancer at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Though his area of expertise was social work, Mr. Bruno "really was an educator. That's how he promoted himself and that's how he lived his life," said his wife, Joanne. "He was not a clinician."

Mr. Bruno, a professor at CCP since the 1970s, "specialized in teaching criminal justice courses from a social-work perspective," his wife said.

"He was incredibly inspiring to his students," she said.

Mr. Bruno had been a lecturer at Penn's School of Social Policy and Practice since the 1990s.

Anthony Francis Bruno was born March 5, 1943, in South Philadelphia, the son of Dominic and Rita Nocito Bruno.

He graduated from Bishop Neumann High School in 1961. He then attended St. Joseph's University, earning a bachelor's degree in political science.

In 1973, Mr. Bruno received a master's degree from Temple University. He was awarded a doctorate of social work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984.

During the 1970s, Mr. Bruno served in the Marine Corps Reserve, gaining the rank of sergeant.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he worked as a probation officer in the Philadelphia Department of Adult Probation, where he met a coworker, Joanne Rocco. They married in 1975.

Before joining the Community College faculty, Mr. Bruno began teaching at Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales, now DeSales University.

Noting that Mr. Bruno grew up in a housing project in South Philadelphia, his wife said he urged many of his students to pursue their academic dreams.

"He touched many people," Joanne Bruno said. "He inspired people, and he let them know they could reach their potential."

Caroline Wong, a fellow lecturer at Penn, said Mr. Bruno was "the kind of teacher who was very laid back. Not the kind who would come and lecture at you, but encouraged you to think and participate and be a critical thinker."

She noted that he established a program called the Pipeline for Promise Project at the School of Social Policy and Practice.

In this program, promising Community College students, particularly those from historically underrepresented groups, would take courses and participate in workshops at Penn.

Wong said Mr. Bruno had a great sense of humor, which he used in his classroom. "He brought humor to everything."

An avid reader, Mr. Bruno also enjoyed writing.

He published a book, From the Heart: South Philadelphia Chronicles, in 2005. The book featured fictionalized accounts of some of the things he saw in the community as a young person, his wife said.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Bruno is survived by a daughter, Nikki; two sisters; and two brothers.

The funeral was Saturday, Feb. 23, at the May Funeral Home in Glenside. A memorial service was set for 1 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, 215 S. 39th St.


Contact Vernon Clark at 215-854-5717 or vclark@phillynews.com.

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