University of Toronto, King's College Cir, Toronto, ON M5S, Canada
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138
University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2JD, UK
Douglas Valentine LePan, OC, public servant, educator (born 25 May 1914 in Toronto, ON ; died 27 November 1998 in Toronto). LePan taught English literature at the University of Toronto and Harvard 1937-41, was a personal education adviser to Gen A.G.L. McNaughton 1942-43, and fought in the Italian campaign with the Canadian Army. He was a member of the Department of External Affairs 1945-59, developing an expertise in economics and serving in Washington as minister-counsellor, as secretary and director of research for the Royal Commission on Canada's Economic Prospects, and briefly as assistant undersecretary of state.
A volume of memoirs, Bright Glass of Memory (1979), recalls LePan's early experiences. After teaching at Queen's University 1959-64, he returned to the University of Toronto as principal of University College 1964-70 and university professor 1970-79. He was Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto after 1979.
He won the Governor General's Award for his second volume of poetry, The Net and the Sword (1953) and for his novel The Deserter (1964), both of which are concerned with the experience of war. After Weathering It: Complete Poems 1948-87 was published in 1987, he wrote another poetry anthology, Far Voyages (1990) and Macalister or Dying in the Dark (1995), a fictionalized biography of Canadian Second World War hero John Kenneth Macalister. He was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada shortly before his death.
In 1982 LePan published his first volume of poetry in almost 30 years (Something Still to Find), and in 1990 he created something of a sensation with Far Voyages, a volume largely composed of gay love poetry. (LePan had married, in 1948 to the former Sarah Katharine Chambers; the two remained together until 1971 and had two children, but the marriage was a difficult one, not least of all over issues relating to sexual orientation.)