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Edward Aloysius Synan was born on April 13, 1918. He graduated from Seton Hall College (South Orange, NJ) in 1938. He studied theology at the American College at the Catholic University of Louvain, but returned to North America at the start of the Second World War. He completed his studies at the Catholic University of America (Washington, DC) in 1942, and was also ordained to the priesthood in 1942. Fr. Synan served as a chaplain in the United States Air Force from 1944-1948, and then returned to his studies at the University of Toronto. He graduated with an M.A. in 1950, and a PhD in 1952, both in Philosophy. He also earned the License in Mediaeval Studies from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in 1951.
Fr. Synan then taught philosophy at Seton Hall University from 1952 to 1959. He returned to Toronto in 1959, where he stayed until his death in 1997. While in Toronto, he taught in the Department of Philosophy at the University of St. Michael's College, at the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto, and at the Pontifical Institute. He served as President of the Pontifical Institute from 1973 to 1979, and also served as Acting President during the 1989-1990 term.
Fr. Synan died on August 3, 1997.