Donald F. Rowan
Professor Emeritus in English
Convocation: October 13, 1991
Donald F. Rowan retired in 1990 after 30 years of distinguished academic service with the University of New Brunswick's English department.
He was born to Canadian parents in Rochester, N.Y., but moved to Canada in 1938 and received his early education in Fredericton. He holds undergraduate degrees with honours in English, from UNB and from Cambridge University, as well as a master's degree from Cambridge. He earned a doctorate from UNB in 1967.
Dr. Rowan served as a high school vice-principal and a technical officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force before beginning his UNB teaching career in 1961. His academic specialty was Elizabethan drama, particularly Shakespeare. Dr. Rowan's scholarly research concentrated on the influence of the physical structure of the theatre on the kinds of plays Elizabethan dramatists wrote and the relationship between the actors and the audience when the plays were staged.
An innovative scholar, he has combined forces with colleagues in computer science to develop ways of using computers to organize information about Elizabethan drama. Most recently he led a team in developing a computerized database of stage directions in Shakespeare plays, a software tool which scholars everywhere can use for research and analysis. This project and his work as co-editor of the New Variorum edition of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, continue to occupy much of his time in retirement.
Teaching, from introductory to postgraduate courses, has always been a passion for Dr. Rowan. "I enjoy teaching - teaching everything - and I genuinely like working with students. That's the thing I miss most in retirement," he muses. In 1987, Dr. Rowan was awarded UNB's most prestigious pedagogical prize, the Allan P. Stuart Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching.