UWOFA mourns the death of former President Daniel Belliveau

Stephen Pitel

Dan Belliveau was not just UWOFA’s President. He was one of its leading supporters, not merely in the sense of being enthusiastic and committed to its objectives and success but in the sense of holding it together and making it strong. UWOFA members are deeply saddened by the untimely death of their dear friend.

As a leader, Dan’s style was highly collaborative. He allowed others to offer their thoughts and worked to develop a consensus from what emerged. Frequently this was very much in accord with his own intentions from the outset, but his open approach allowed his colleagues to be more engaged and invested in the resulting decisions. He was modestly unconcerned that this approach might lead to less attention or fewer accolades for him personally. 

Dan was wise and smart, worked hard and paid attention to the details. Much of the work he did for UWOFA involved frequent situations of conflict. He handled these extremely well, with a calm demeanor and the ability to remain rational during emotionally charged exchanges. 

In 2019 Dan received the Allan Heinicke Memorial Service Award. This is UWOFA’s highest award for service. Dan earned this recognition in many ways over the course of more than a decade. Of particular note is the contribution he made as a member and as chair of UWOFA’s Pension and Benefits Committee. His technical, policy and financial analysis was invaluable, covering pension and retirement structures, health and dental benefit issues, and provisions for contract faculty members.     

Dan was also heavily involved at the negotiating table in 2010 and 2014, serving on both of these Negotiating Committees and as Deputy Chief Negotiator for the latter. He negotiated for increases to the Professional Expense Reimbursement fund, the introduction of the Wellness Spending Account, and the creation of flex credits. These have been of considerable benefit to UWOFA’s members. His analysis was also used to negotiate an increase in pension contributions for members after their twentieth year of service, a significant gain.

Dan treated people with respect and he engendered trust and warmth in return. Despite the health challenges he faced over many years, he was unfailingly kind, charitable, compassionate and optimistic. It lifted the spirits of those around him to see him face his illness with candour and magnanimity. 

His colleagues will remember that Dan was often the most formally dressed person at a meeting, which contrasted with his well-known penchant for Hawaiian shirts on casual occasions. He was witty, good-humoured and used self-deprecation to hilarious effect. 

Fittingly, Western University lowered its flag to half-mast to honour Dan’s memory. UWOFA has planned two tributes to Dan: a student scholarship in Health Sciences and the creation of a service award. We will not forget the impact of Dan the professor and Dan the person. For those who knew him, it could not be otherwise.