Passings: York U grad Lillian Campbell was a gifted academic, researcher and teacher

Lillian Campbell
Lillian Campbell

A gifted teacher, researcher and academic, Lillian Campbell (PhD ’15) was at the height of her academic career in the Faculty of Health when cancer stole her future. A faculty member at York University, Ms. Campbell died on Friday, May 15 after a long and brave battle with a rare, incurable cancer. In addition to her many colleagues at York University, Lillian leaves her three sons, Erik, Karl and Mark Schomann, seven siblings and many family and friends.

As those who knew her will attest, Lillian was a magnanimous, larger-than-life character who lived her life with passion, as few do but wish they did. After starting her career as a money markets trader, she raised her kids in Nigeria, northern Ontario, Mississauga and Pakistan, before embarking on her academic career in psychology at York University. She taught at York University, Humber College and Seneca College, including introducing psychology to students in the police and firefighter foundations and tool and die manufacturing programs. She was a wonderfully gifted teacher, who thrived on making psychology really relevant to all her students; with her unique style, humour and quick wit, she actively engaged students in open, frank discussions, encouraged with YouTube videos, cartoons and colourful stories from her life (or her kids).

Lillian cared deeply for her family, and also for those who don’t get enough attention in this world: in particular, the children who struggle to learn due to the dual diagnosis of both cognitive and emotional disorders. This was the focus of her research and her family has expressed their hope that it will be continued. As expressions of sympathy, contributions to a York University scholarship fund (created in Lillian’s memory) would be appreciated. Donations may be made online at  (select ‘Lillian Campbell’ from the designate list).

Donations may also be sent to Faculty of Health, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto ON M3J 1P3 (with note “In Memory of Lillian”) or contact Abbey Black, donor relations coordinator, Advancement Division, at 416-650-8432 or

A memorial service for Lillian Campbell will be held on Thursday, May 21 at 4pm at Alexandra Yacht Club, 2 Stadium Rd., in downtown Toronto. After the service, guests are welcome to remain and share their memories of Lillian with her family and friends.

The University flags will be lowered to half-mast on Thursday May 21 and will remain at half-mast until 1pm on Friday May 22 in her honour and memory.