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Former director of Canadian Studies and international scholar passes away

June 26, 2018

Anthony Chan

In early June, Anthony (Tony) Chan (1944–2018), Director of the Canadian Studies Center from 1995 to 1999, and author of Gold Mountain: The Chinese in the New World, passed away in Toronto, Canada, with his family by his side. Chan was an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the UW and renowned scholar and journalist. His research focused on Chinese immigration to Canada. Professor Chan was a co-founder of The Asianadian, a magazine that explored the social issues of Asian Canadians; he was the host and narrator of the CBC documentary series The Canadians; and he taught journalism and filmmaking at California State University Hayward and UW.

Professor Chan was the second director of the Center. He took over the leadership of the Canadian Studies Center in 1995 when the founder and director, W.A. Douglas Jackson, retired. During his tenure as director, Professor Chan received several Canadian Embassy Program Grants to expand the Center’s impact, founded the quarterly journal New Scholars, New Visions in Canadian Studies, and produced several documentaries. Professor Chan served on the committees of numerous master’s and doctoral students whose research included Canada. He built a firm foundation for the future of the Center, bringing Canadian scholars to the UW, engaging UW faculty in research and teaching on Canada, and supporting numerous programs for educators and the public.

Former Canadian Studies Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow Timothy Pasch, now an associate professor at the University of North Dakota, spoke at Professor Chan’s memorial, recalling the inspiration and support he received during his master’s and doctoral degrees at UW: “I am deeply humbled to be here today in order to say a few words about Tony Chan, my greatest mentor and teacher … Tony was my PhD advisor at the University of Washington in Seattle. Tony’s classes were always packed. I had never experienced such a dynamic learning environment like the one Tony created seemingly effortlessly. In his incredibly resonant voice, Tony would never mince words: his frank honesty helped us learn more than any other professor many of us had ever worked with in our academic careers.” Professor Pasch is now Chair of the Department of Communication at University of North Dakota and recent recipient of a National Science Foundation grant to study digital entrepreneurship in Arctic communities in Canada and Alaska.

Professor Chan will be deeply missed by his colleagues, students, and family. His leadership as director of the Canadian Studies Center (1995–1999) contributed to a strong and vital foundation for the Center. Tony will always be remembered by the Center as one of our first and most passionate directors.