It is with great sadness, that we share the news that Dr. Francis Chan has passed away, after a long and valiant struggle with cancer. Dr. Chan was a much loved and highly regarded professor at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. He will be remembered for his tremendous gifts as a teacher, his genuine concern for the well-being of his students and colleagues, and his compassionate and nurturing nature.
Leaving his native Hong Kong for Canada following high school, Dr. Chan began his long association with Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University. He obtained 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 here he has remained. During his illustrious career Dr. Chan progressed through the academic ranks and was promoted to Professor in 1997.
Following his return to Western in 1978, it soon became apparent to students and colleagues alike that Dr. Chan was an exceptional teacher, a gift that has been recognized repeatedly throughout his academic career. 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 University'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.
One of the reasons Dr. Chan endeared himself so much to students was his classroom teaching skills and his caring nature. This led to the other major and very successful component of his career. First, he 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 Medicine & Dentistry, 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, in particular, Dr. Chan excelled, counselling 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". In further recognition of the esteem in which Dr. Chan is held by students, the graduating medical class of 2012 initiated The Francis Chan Distinction, to be 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 Dr. Chan himself.
Dr. Chan's family is making preparations for a memorial service to take place in the coming weeks. As soon as more details are available, we will share them with you. Memorial donations can be made to the Timothy Liddiard and Francis Chan Student Services Bursary. To make a donation, please click here or send your donation to Annual Giving, Suite 110, Westminster Hall, Western University.