Born: March 4, 1940 in Tehran – Iran. Passed away: January 28, 2009 in Oakland, CA, USA following a short, but hard fought battle with liver cancer.
Ardavan Davaran (Ardy) was born in Tehran-Iran and grew up in Tehran and became interested in science at very young age. 17 years old, he moved to America followed by other family members.
Ardavan Davaran was one of Iran’s and also world’s most influential professor in English and Comparative Literature at Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU) and holder of PH. D. in Comparative Literature from university of California Berkeley in the field of literatur. In 1970 he returned to Iran and taught at University of Tehran where he was an associate professor and later chairman of the Department of English and Comparative Literature.
Returning to the U.S. in 1980, following the Iranian revolution, he continued his teaching career at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA, where he taught in the graduate and undergraduate Department of English. Professor Davaran as he was known to his students, was a dedicated and passionate teacher.
- 1960 at age 20 – B.S. in Bacterialogy university of California Berkeley
- 1963 at age 23 – M.S. in Comparative Literature university of California Berkeley
- 1966 at age 26 – Ph. D. in Comparative English Literature university of California Berkeley
- 1972 at age 32 – Professor in Comparative English and Persian Literature University of Tehran
- 1982 at age 42 – Professor in Comparative English Literature Notre Dame de Namur University
Described by his students as compassionate and larger than life, Davaran always challenged them to achieve more than they thought possible of themselves.
He was also an avid tennis player, Ardy loved life and lived it to its fullest. His family, colleagues, students, and many, many friends mourn his passing.
He was 68 years old. Twenty-five of those were spent at NDNU and never missed a class! It was a day of silence and tears among the NDNU family at Wednesday, Jan. 28 when the beloved Ardy Davaran passed away after a long and stubborn fight against cancer.
Professor Davaran was a source of light, inspiration, and joy in all those who knew him. He was an amazingly intelligent person, with degrees in literature and an extensive knowledge in science.
His best skills lied in his teaching of Shakespeare. While his intellectual achievements are comparable to few, more important are the differences he made in the lives of so many, according to his students and colleagues. He was so intuitive, and bounced from one idea to another, a true revolutionary.
He was always able to make people laugh, always shocking and funny. He was so handsome, so passionate. Yet another fantastic characteristic of Dr. Davaran was his dedication to his job and to his students. It’s said that he never missed a class, a statement echoed by many.
Davaran squeezed more joy, celebration, and living into one life than anyone will ever know. Every greeting, every exchange, every moment was a cause to smile and be happy.
He was generous with his time, his knowledge, his energy, and his enthusiasm, and part of Ardy’s genius was to make each student feel valued and capable of achieving. He was like everyone’s favorite uncle, and his love for his students was boundless in that there was always room for more without loving anyone less.
Beyond the constant smile on his face, professor Davaran always had a twinkle in his eye, a playfulness, a child’s grace and wonder, that belied his deep learning and scholarship. His charm and compassion cannot be learned; they were innate.
He had an interest in all people, and recognized the inherent dignity and worth of everyone with whom he came in contact. He treated famous persons and waitpersons the same, and he often found the latter more interesting and compelling.
People like Davaran don’t show up very often. Though his beacon of hope and light is extinguished in this life, he will continue to light up the hearts and lives of many more.
In 1996 Ardavan edited an issue of Literary Review dedicated to Iranian literature in diaspora published by Fairleigh Dickinson University.
He was a fixture in the English Department for 26 years, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses. The love and respect his students hold for him speaks highly of his accomplishments as a teacher. Professor Davaran passed away from a short battle with liver cancer on January 28, 2009 and is survived by his wife Helen and two sons.
His students have set up a Facebook group which can be found under: “In Loving Memory of Dr. Ardavan Davaran.”