Remembering a Mentoring Music Man: Prof. Joseph “Bud” DiFluri

There are heroes among us who often go unsung.

Not so with Joseph “Bud” DiFluri. With the energy and enthusiasm of a man decades younger than himself, Nyack College students benefited from his passion for the music industry and his commitment to invest in their lives.

It is because of his selfless impact on a former student that she is now teaching Nyack students online. It is because she thought Bud DiFluri would be the perfect guest lecturer in her class. Autumn-Carol Nova explains, “In 2013, I took a music business course with Prof. DiFluri and it was his course that inspired me to continue to learn more about the music business industry.”

Sadly, her online search for Prof. DiFluri ended at a funeral home website.

Heartbroken she learned that he had passed away in October 2020 after a long battle with cancer. The regrettable news made its way to Nyack’s School of Music and School of Business and Leadership (SBL) where he taught.

School of Music dean, Dr. Sue Lane Talley recalls “Bud was an amazing man, played for three Presidents, and was a delightful character.” School of Business and Leadership dean, Dr. Anita Underwood commented, “It is a privilege to work with a team of educators who share the wealth of their careers and life experiences with our students. Bud DiFluri was a music industry professional who was also a master mentor in the School of Business and Leadership and was always eager to see young men and women thrive.”

Dr. Underwood’s assistant, Giselle Torres lamented, “I had such an amazing relationship with Bud since I started working with the school. He taught our music business course and then he created with Dr. Sue Hartl, an internship program within the Business School. He loved the music business industry and always told me stories about who he met and who he keeps in touch with. I am heartbroken by this news.”

His colleague, Dr. Hartl was deeply saddened. She commented, “Bud was such a good-hearted soul with a genuine love for our students, and he was a truly excellent teacher. He began his long career as a high school teacher and spoke fondly and proudly of one of his first students, Dionne Warwick. He left teaching for industry and regaled his students with stories of his days with Yamaha’s music division and the many old-time celebrities he developed relationships with during that time.

“At the age of 52, he experienced a major stroke, a serious health setback which he battled successfully, demonstrating both his strong will and strong faith in God. Bud came to teach Music Business at Nyack College’s Department of Business in the early 2000s and taught Music Business courses with us from that time until Fall 2017, developing warm relationships with students that often lasted long after these students graduated. I dearly loved him and am only comforted by the knowledge that I’ll be able to enjoy his company again someday in eternity.”

Even those not directly engaged with him observed his tireless dedication to young people. A fellow adjunct professor remarked, “I did not know Bud personally, but there were times when we would talk in between classes or I would see him interacting with students. My impression was that he was a very kind individual who had a great caring for his students.”

“Bud was loved and respected by both students and faculty,” says Jim Muckell, a former Nyack business professor. “One of the greatest senses of humor of anyone I’ve ever known! I loved him very much! Nyack was fortunate to have him instruct its students.”

The School of Music administrator who learned of Prof. DiFluri’s passing contacted his widow to ask permission to honor the legendary mentor. “I would like to honor his memory by including his biography and interview in the curriculum for Music Business I and Music Business II at Nyack College. In this small way, Prof. DiFluri’s legacy in music business can continue for semesters to come. Prof DiFluri was a treasured member of the Nyack community and he will be greatly missed.”