It is with great sadness that I must inform you of the loss of a great champion of Canadian Studies in the US. Dr. Myrna Delson-Karan passed away after a stroke on Wednesday, June 21st. She was 83. She is survived by her husband Dr. David Karan, brother Robert M. Delson, son Kenneth Karan, daughter Deborah Aber, and two grandchildren.
Throughout Myrna’s distinguished 50-year career she has devoted herself to the advancement of Québec and Canadian Studies. She has undertaken over 200 publications, talks and conference presentations, collaborations, and reviews dealing with Québec and Canadian literature, language and culture.
Myrna was born in 1934 in New York. In 1953-1954, thanks to a scholarship, she studied at the Sorbonne and the Institute of Political Studies of Paris. Later she earned a MA and Doctor of Arts at New York University. Her doctoral thesis, presented in 1985, focused on a Quebec writer - Gabrielle Roy, of whom she was to become a great specialist. From 1962 to 2013, she was a professor of French in seven American universities, five of them in the New York conurbation. In the first half of the 1980s, she distinguished herself by creating the Quebec curriculum at Hofstra University on Long Island. From 1990 to 2000, she was attached to the Educational Affairs Department of the Québec Government Office in New York. In this position, she took advantage of many meetings and opportunities to promote Quebec studies, giving the field a new impetus on American university campuses.
Myrna was past president (2011-2013) of the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States (ACSUS) and demonstrated great resolve and leadership at a crucial transitional moment in the Association’s history. Her passion for ACSUS and for Canada knew no bounds. She was to have received our highest honor, the Donner Medal for Canadian Studies, at our upcoming Biennial conference in Las Vegas this October (and we will proceed to make the award posthumously). She had been decorated by the French Government as a Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques. She was a member of the Ordre des francophones d'Amérique and was named a commissioner of the Order of Palmes Académiques de France for her participation in the promotion of Quebec and French cultures. Last year she received a “Certificate of Merit” from the International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS).
We at ACSUS will greatly miss her enthusiasm and dedication to our cause. May she rest in peace.