King's mourns the loss of Dr. Dante Lenardon
November 26, 2015
It is with great sadness that King’s University College announces the death of Professor Emeritus, Dr. Dante Lenardon on November 25, 2015.
Dante was a beloved scholar and teacher at King’s who made an enormous difference in the lives of generations of students and colleagues. He was among the very early faculty at King’s and spent his entire career at the College, shaping it for nearly 60 years.
Dr. Lenardon, who was born and raised in Fernie, British Columbia, joined the King’s community in 1957 as a professor in the Modern Languages department. For 47 years, he taught French and Italian, and students described him as an inspiring and unparalleled educator. Former student and colleague Dr. Paul Werstine says “Dr. Dante Lenardon was a great scholar and as fine and inspiring a teacher as King’s has ever had. I remember his first-year French classes from decades ago as if he had given them yesterday.”
Dr. Lenardon established himself as a world-class specialist in 18th Century French. His passion for language and civilization coupled with his ability to instill in his students a love of lifelong learning led to Dr. Lenardon being the recipient of two major awards for teaching excellence. In 1990 the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education named him the Canadian Professor of the Year. That same year he was the recipient of Western’s Edward G. Pleva Award of Excellence in Teaching. His teaching legacy has been honoured at King’s with the renaming of the Silverwood mansion in his name, Dante Lenardon Hall, in 1992.
Dante understood and lived out the value of community at King’s. In 1958 he was instrumental in forming the Italian Club. The group regularly met and it boasted the highest attendance of any club at the entire university, Western included. The regular gatherings gave faculty and students an opportunity to get together for both intellectual discussion and cultural activities. The Club is considered by many to be one of Dr. Lenardon’s greatest contributions to forming the community spirit still enjoyed at King’s.
Dr. Lenardon was well-known as a strong supporter of the Catholic mission and identity of the College. Fr. Michael Bechard says, “while I never had Dante as a professor, he taught me through his example and dedication to the Church, what it means to be a Catholic educator.”
Dr. Lenardon’s death is a great loss for our community. He will be missed by those who had the pleasure of working with, and being instructed by him. He is survived by his wife Joan, a scholar and teacher at Brescia University College, and St. Peter’s Seminary, their two daughters, Julia and Paula and Dante’s niece Carmen. Dr. Lenardon was in his 92nd year at the time of his death.
Our prayers are with his family and all of those touched by this loss.
Visitation will be on Monday November 30th from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Chapel, Windermere on the Mount, 1486 Richmond St, London, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial. A reception will follow in the Vitali Student Lounge, Wemple Hall, King’s University College. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the Dante Lenardon Legacy Award through the King’s University College Foundation.