A genial and irrepressible Holy Cross priest, Fr. John Delaunay’s life had a tendency to spill-over into the lives of peers and students, and across borders, national and academic. A consecrated religious and UP professor who was hard to sum up or contain.
Fr. Delaunay was born in Paris, educated at the Sorbonne, came to the United States as a refugee in 1903, and after studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. became a Holy Cross priest in 1909. One of his first assignments, therefore (?), sent him to the mission territories that are now Bangladesh. He arrived at UP to teach languages, moving thence to the Departments of Philosophy and Education, and in 1949 became Professor of Psychology — having had to found the Department of Psychology to achieve this goal. The faculty and students of the Psychology Department immediately created a pioneer program in clinical psychology, the Child Guidance Center, to provide counseling services for the greater Portland area community. At first housed on campus, the community services section evolved into an independent organization. After a half-century of family counseling, this legacy of Fr. Delaunay closed in 2003.
Fr. Delaunay died in 1953. His name survives in a building we never built, and hundreds of alumni lives. In 2012, alumnus E. John Rumpakis ’54 endowed a Professorship in Hellenic Studies at UP, remembering Fr. Delaunay, who “believed in educating the whole man,” Rumpakis said. “It still resounds in my mind.” (Furey, 05-22-2012); http://www.up.edu/shownews.aspx?id=4605 ).
Fr. Delaunay’s services to the University are legend; see the profile of the man in Portland Magazine, Winter 1998, pp. 14-19. For a history of the Delaunay Institute, see The Beacon, 30 March 1973, p. 4; for a personal history and account of the Center’s closing, see also the note from Dr. Paul Myers, Director, University Health Center, in Portland Magazine, Summer 2003, p. 8; who quotes Fr. Delaunay as writing: “My life ambition is to make my psychology department the leading social work center in the Catholic West. I am very hopeful that it shall do its share toward child delinquency prevention. I shall have a special room for the direction of parents, since there are more problem parents than problem children . . .”