It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Paul ‘Chuck’ Hart, former program manager of the Center for Canadian-American Studies who retired this past January. Chuck passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 10 in Bellingham. Many of you will remember Chuck for his dedication to Western and the Center for Canadian-American Studies during his more than 40-year career. Over the years, he touched many of us with his enthusiasm, loyalty, and joy in making connections with people all across campus. We at the Center for Canadian-American Studies, the Border Policy Research Institute, and the Salish Sea Institute feel Chuck’s passing deeply. Canada House was his home for many years.
Chuck is survived by his next-of-kin cousins in Seattle; there will not be a funeral at this time. Should you wish to reach out to his family, you can do so by writing to the following address:
330 Rainier Blvd N #209
Issaquah, WA 98027-3343
Professor Dave Rossiter and Professor Emeritus Don Alper, two former directors of the Center for Canadian-American Studies who also worked with Chuck over the years, wish to share the following words in remembrance of Chuck.
Professor of French
Director for the Center of Canadian-American Studies (2018-present)
"I have known Chuck since he was a student in my political science classes back in the 1980s.
Upon graduation—or possibly before—he took a position with the campus student housing office where I continued to know and work with him in connection with summer institutes that brought students and teachers to Western from near and far. Chuck, responsible for housing and other on-campus residential requirements, always went the extra mile to make sure everything was taken care of, including personally visiting the classes to get to know the students first hand. If anyone had any kind of problem, Chuck always “was on it!” In virtually all of the class evaluations students mentioned Chuck’s humanity, support and just good cheer as one of the highpoints of their summer experience at Western. His attitude of helpfulness and positiveness carried over to his 17 years as program manager in Canadian-American Studies, a position he began in 2003 and served faithfully until his retirement earlier this year.
Chuck became a mentor and friend of the students—all of whom he made a point to know personally. He took time to listen to their problems, attended their graduation ceremonies, and kept in close touch through their careers. Chuck’s professionalism, loyalty, support and wonderful sense of humor had a strong impact on the staff, students and faculty, as well as the constant stream of outside visitors who were served by the work of Canadian-American Studies. Visitors to Canada House, the likes of which included Ambassadors, Consul Generals, State Legislators, business leaders and others, would always go out of their way to visit with Chuck, almost as if it was a rite of passage when coming to Bellingham.
As so befits his generous being, Chuck would go beyond the normally expected staff work to ensure that parking passes were taken care of, coffee and rolls were available, appropriate flags were flying outside the building and everyone was comfortable. Needless to say, this kind of staff support made the work of Canadian-American Studies that much more productive and enjoyable for all. Chuck’s humanity and commitment was the mainstay of his being and it was demonstrated on a daily basis in his work.
One former official at the Canadian Consulate General Office in Seattle, in a note to express his condolences on Chuck’s passing, stated simply: 'He was a very good person!'"
Emeritus Professor of Political Science
Former Director, Center for Canadian-American Studies (1993-2014)
"Upon my arrival at WWU as a new faculty member, Chuck was the very first person to make me feel welcome and part of the community. He cared about me as a new professor, but also as a person.
From that moment through until my last weeks working with him, Chuck modeled a spirit of care and community that represents the very best of the University.
His connections to people on campus and beyond made work in Canadian-American Studies both joyful and impactful for students and faculty alike. Chuck was a gem of a person and I will miss him greatly."
Professor of Environmental Studies
Former Director, Center for Canadian-American Studies (2014-2018)