In Memory of Dalisa McLean

The memories and stories we share about Dalisa remind us of her dynamic energy and beauty. She had many friends who loved her deeply, and who will never forget her.

­Submitted by Michael Hawes

I had the privilege and good fortune of knowing Dalisa since early in 1987. She was my student at Queen's, we worked together on a big Asia Pacific research project, we shared several semesters at IUJ, she traveled with me and my family across Japan, and, above all, she was my friend. I remember her days as an undergraduate well. She was one of the brightest, most intense students I had ever encountered. What really struck me, though, was her boundless energy and enthusiasm. When she decided she wanted to know about something she was unstoppable. She was always on some quest.

In many ways I think that this is why she liked to travel so much. She told me once that it made her nervous to be too far from an airport. Some of my most vivid memories of Dalisa are from our infamous motor trip across Japan. I can picture her in the back seat of our car with my youngest son's feet in her lap or on her shoulders. She was always a model of patience. I can remember her and my wife, Michelin guide at the ready, insisting that we stop at every shrine, temple and garden in the country (even those not lucky enough to be ranked number 1, 2 or 3). I remember her wading through the seemingly endless herds of Japanese school children to get to the castle at Himeji, the Buddah at Nara and the peace monument at Hiroshima.

Dalisa's enthusiasm was anything but capricious. It was informed and critical. I remember spending a whole day discussing political manipulation and ethical behaviour after a visit to the peace museum in Hiroshima.

But there are other memories. Like all of us, if I close my eyes I can see the infectious signature smile and almost hear the patented staccato laugh. I can imagine her in period costume with Kathleen at Bellevue House and I can recall dinners at Ippachi, followed by long, involved discussions about Japanese politics and culture (along with the occasional beer). I also remember the way she felt about her family, the need to call home and the loving references to "Dallas and Elizabeth" and of course, to her brother, "D". As independent as she was, it was clear that they had played a big role in shaping her life (and it was equally clear, though I didn't know them well, that they too must be extraordinary people). I remember vividly, about a year after Dalisa and I had been working together, when she set off to work in Eastern Europe. At the time it seemed a big and potentially dangerous adventure. After a few weeks her father called me, asked if I had heard from Dalisa and informed me that "Elizabeth was getting little nervous." Nice try! When I tracked Dalisa down by phone she told me how difficult it was to get an overseas line, promised to call home, and then spent about half an hour regaling me with stories of life in Eastern Europe. She could always make me laugh, always find humour in what was a difficult situation.

Most of all though, I remember a young woman who had the unique ability to put everyone at ease and make everyone feel good about themselves. We organized a big international conference together in the Fall of 1990. After she had retuned to the UK, Professor Susan Strange called me to tell me how much she had enjoyed the conference. I was more than a little surprised since she had confessed that she had been to "thousands of these silly things." I asked her to be more specific about what had impressed her so much. Her answer, without a moment of hesitation, "Dalisa".

Dalisa and I were the Canadians at IUJ in 1992 and 1993. She took great pride in her country and was always careful to represent the rest of us in the best possible way. In truth, it was not hard for her as she embodied the best features of what it is to be a Canadian. She and I secretly joked that we had little in common with the great powers. Like all Canadians, we related better to those from middle sized, unpretentious countries - countries that ended in vowels.

It is odd. I was supposed to be the teacher and Dalisa the student. But, as is so often the case with truly remarkable people, the roles were frequently reversed. In every way, at every turn, she reminded me of the importance of what we were trying to do, the passion of ideas, and the simple truth that good humour, hard work, patience and persistence do matter.

Like you, she touched my life. In the process she enriched it in more ways that I can relate. I feel immensely fortunate to have had her as friend. I will miss her, but will never forget her.

­Submitted by David Ireland

Dalisa was a remarkable person, and many of us are privileged to have come to know her well in a relatively short time. Her friendships and experiences were intense. She wasted little time in focusing on what was important to her. As the pain of her sudden death numbs with the passing days and the warmth of so many fond memories, I realize it was her intensity, decisiveness, zest for life and sense of carpe diem I remember most.

That someone so bright and alive, so inquisitive and thoughtful, so kind and generous, could be swept away from us so quickly has stunned all of us who knew her. Life for me will never be the same, because never before have I realized that life­and few enjoyed life more than Dalisa­can be so precarious. That realization has made my life more intense with the enjoyment of each day. Many of her friends and family no doubt share similar feelings, and therein lies the recompense of her passing: Dalisa's example leaves us with so much to enrich our own lives. *

­Submitted by Debbie Carlson

Dalisa sparkled. Not least among her interests was her love of song and dance. The above picture was taken the evening she performed as Maria von Trapp at the annual Mitsubishi Oil Company Christmas party.

Dalisa and the other "freshmen" of her group sang and danced their way to the first prize space with their version of "Do-Re-Mi". Everyone was caught up in Dalisa's energy and excitement. She walked away with a personal karaoke recorder box, and first prize for best voice.

­Submitted by Bruce Stronach

We often say without thinking that IUJ is a family. It rolls off the tongue like some smug, self-congratulatory phrase, but the tragedy of Dalisa McLean's untimely death has brought home to many of us just how much like a family we are. The entire university shares the grief felt by her family and friends in Canada and around the world.

The sudden shock of her passing also reminds us that we are apt to take our family for granted. We assume they will always be there to contact when we want, when we get around to it. We should not assume those ties but actively work to keep ourselves together. Dalisa in life was an inspiration; fun, hard-working, energetic, achieving, she improved the life of those around her. Let us allow her to continue to inspire us, to bring us together, to remind us of our IUJ family and the friendship and camaraderie that make us one. Those who pass on can live forever if we keep them alive in our hearts. Let us keep her in our hearts, and keep her memory alive by tending the ties that bind all of us at IUJ together as one.

­Submitted by Louise Cordell

From the moment I met Dalisa I felt privileged to have her as a friend. That feeling never left me, and Dalisa never disappointed me, or anyone. She was full of energy and curiosity about everything. She seemed to see life as a puzzle, and she loved trying to understand how the pieces fit together and what it all meant.

When she shared her ideas with me, I always came away feeling that she had given me a gift - an insight into the "bigger picture". We spent hours and hours talking, "processing our thoughts" and I feel as if I can remember every word she said and every smile. She had a way of sighing and grinning at the same time, with her eyes all lit up, and saying, "Isn't life wonderful?"

In her life she always gave me the courage and strength to carry on. In her death, I will carry, and treasure, her words. I will miss her.

If you have stories you would like to share about Dalisa, or if you want to contact her family, send e-mail to me at