Western community mourns Schulich professor

By Communications Staff
June 18, 2013

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Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry professor Dr. Francis Chan, 62, died Friday, June 14 after a battle with cancer.

A memorial celebration of Chan’s life will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, July 6 in the Great Hall, Somerville House. Friends, colleagues, students and neighbours are invited, together with their children to share their memories and stories of Francis.

Memorial donations can be made to the Timothy Liddiard and Francis Chan Student Services Bursary. Contact Annual Giving, giving.westernu.ca/, for information.

ChanContributed photo
Dr. Francis Chan and his dog, Jet. Jet was always a faithful companion to Chan on campus, and a favourite among students. Chan used to tell students at the White Coat Ceremony to drop by his office to pet Jet whenever they were missing their own family pets. Chan died last week from cancer. He was 62.

Leaving his native Hong Kong for Canada following high school, Chan began his long association with Schulich almost immediately by earning a BSc in Anatomy in 1972, followed by a PhD in 1976. Following a two-year hiatus as a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University, he returned to the Department of Anatomy in 1978, as an assistant professor, and there he has remained.

During his career, Chan progressed through the academic ranks and was promoted to professor in 1997.

 As a teacher of medical, dental, graduate and undergraduate science students, he won many teaching awards, some repeatedly, at the school and university levels, including Western's prestigious Pleva Award. Perhaps the highest recognition of his all-around teaching abilities was the 3M Teaching Fellowship, regarded as the top teaching award in Canada, which he received in 2000.

Chan spent two years (1996-98) as program officer, responsible for overseeing the welfare of international and exchange students for the university. He then returned to the Schulich, first as assistant dean, Equity & Gender Issues (2001-04), then as associate dean, Admissions & Student Affairs (2004-09), and, most recently, as assistant dean, Student Affairs (2009-11). It was in the latter two roles, Chan excelled, counseling countless students regarding academic, career and personal issues.

It is a testament to his compassionate and nurturing nature that he received other awards, including the Class of '62 Award (won repeatedly), given annually by the graduating medical class to the faculty member deemed to have made “the most significant contributions in education and service to the graduating class.”

The graduating medical Class of 2012 initiated The Francis Chan Distinction, awarded at future convocations to a member of the graduating class who demonstrates “enthusiasm and dedication to advocating for the rights of others within the school and/or external community; balance in life with a passion for extracurricular activities; and involvement in the school and/or external community,” characteristics of Chan himself.


8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(holidays excluded)


Helen Connell

Jason Winders

Paul Mayne

Adela Talbot

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