The Catholic University of America

June 14, 2013

Alumnus Joseph Unanue Dies at 88


Joseph A. Unanue

Joseph A. Unanue, longtime chief executive at Goya Foods Inc., CUA alumnus, and former member of the University’s Board of Trustees, died June 12, 2013, at his home in Alpine, N.J. He was 88.

Unanue earned his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at Catholic University in 1950. He continued his involvement with the University over the years as a member of the Board of Trustees, benefactor, and namesake of Unanue House, one of the student residence buildings located in Centennial Village. In 2012, Unanue and his wife, Carmen, were honored for their service and generosity with a Doctor of Humane Letters at Commencement.

“We are sad to hear of the passing of Mr. Unanue. He was not only one of our most illustrious graduates but also an exemplar of Catholic life — a dedicated father, successful businessman, and lifelong philanthropist,” says President John Garvey.

Unanue was born in Brooklyn in 1925 to Spanish immigrants. While attending high school, he packed olives for Goya Foods, the Hispanic foods company his father had founded in 1936. After graduating in 1943, Unanue was drafted and served with U.S. forces in Europe during World War II. He earned a Bronze Star for bravery under fire.

After the war, he rejoined the family business, learning every aspect of it and becoming Goya’s president and CEO in 1976. During his 27-year tenure, he transformed Goya into a global corporation with more than $800 million in sales.

A dedicated family man, Unanue married Carman Ana Casal de Unanue in 1956. He was the father of six and grandfather of 18.



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