Harold Kaplan, professor emeritus of political science and former dean of York’s Faculty of Arts, died on June 22 at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie. He was 74.
Kaplan joined the University in 1962 and served as acting chair of political science at the Glendon campus from 1964 to 1965. After his first sabbatical year, he became director of the Graduate Program in Political Science from 1967 to 1968. He became chair of the Department of Political Science in 1969 and chair of the Senate of York University in 1970. Kaplan was also a member of the Board of Governors and academic colleague to the president of the Council of Ontario Universities. From July 1978 to June 1983 he was dean of the Faculty of Arts.
Right: Kaplan with grandson Nathan Kaplan
Shortly after joining the University, Kaplan was quoted at length in a story about demands for more affordable housing in Canada, in The Globe and Mail on Aug. 27, 1963. “Dr. Kaplan suggested that if Canadians peered across the border in an attempt to find an answer to their public housing needs, the only thing they would find would be US officials peering back in an attempt to find a solution to theirs,” wrote The Globe.
In 1979, The Globe took Kaplan to task for suggesting York should borrow money to get through its budget crisis. “If a balanced budget is the main aim of a university,” Kaplan warned, “it will not get through the next five years without firing tenured faculty, closing programs and even Faculties.”
Kaplan loved teaching and had a long career at York winning several awards before retiring in 2001. He was made a member of the University’s Founders Honours Society in March 2000. Over many years he went out of his way to counsel students and wrote letters of recommendation for many of them, said his daughter Abigail.
Kaplan moved to Barrie from Toronto a couple years before retiring and enjoyed the rural environment, said his daughter. He enjoyed great walks with his companion beagle and time spent with his grandchildren.
Harold Kaplan was born in Weehawken, NJ, on April 11, 1936, and received his BA at Columbia University in 1957. He became a Canadian citizen in 1970. He leaves four children: Abigail, Harriet, Daniel and Jonah; and six grandchildren: Christopher and Nicholas Leger, Nathan Kaplan and Jacob, Matthew and Ava Kaplan.
Kaplan was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2009 and died a year later. Donations in his memory can be made to Barrie’s Royal Victoria Hospital.