Remembering Professors Richard Handscombe and Janet Warner

On Saturday, Sept. 29, a beautiful fall afternoon, there were two memorial gatherings at Glendon, as friends and relatives and colleagues came together to pay tribute to the late professors Richard Handscombe and Janet Warner, both of the Glendon English Department.

Handscombe died in Toronto on Dec. 24, 2005, at age 70. Warner died in Vancouver on May 6, 2006, at age 75. Both professors had long and celebrated careers at Glendon.

The afternoon began with the dedication of a small grove of native black cherry trees, accompanied by a stone and plaque in memory of Prof. Handscombe. The site of this peaceful memorial is located at the southeast end of Glendon’s back quadrangle, and responds to Prof. Handscombe’s wish that people might remember him by planting bird-friendly trees. The Chair of Glendon’s English Department, Professor Ann Hutchison, introduced the speakers. They included Professors Skip Shand and Michael Cummings, as well as Prof. Handscombe’s widow, Jean. Also attending the memorial were Prof. Handscombe’s children.

Following the memorial for Prof. Handscombe, a second gathering in Glendon’s Senior Common Room honoured Prof. Warner. The event also marked the launch of an undergraduate travel scholarship established in Prof. Warner’s memory, to be offered to students in Glendon’s English Department. It celebrates Prof. Warner’s love for travel and her belief in the educational value of journeying abroad, especially to lands, art galleries and architecture linked with the writers and subjects of English literature.

Hutchison again introduced the speakers, who included Glendon drama Professor Eric Rump and the Warners’ daughter Renée. Prof. Warner’s husband John and their son Paul had also travelled from Vancouver to be present for the ceremony. Donations to the Janet Warner Travel Scholarship may be made through the York University Foundation.

Story submitted to YFile by G. B. Shand, senior scholar, English and Drama Studies, Glendon.