Del Ivan Janik, a longtime English professor at two State University of New York campuses, advocate for public higher education and expert on author D.H. Lawrence, died June 22 at Crouse Memorial Hospital in Syracuse after a brief illness. He was 65.
Janik, a Stony Brook resident, was an English professor at SUNY Cortland for 35 years, earning the rank of professor emeritus before moving to Long Island and becoming an adjunct professor at Farmingdale State College in 2006.
He was a writing instructor and had intended to teach a course during the summer session, said his wife, Vicki Janik, an English faculty member who chairs the Technical Writing program at Farmingdale.
"He wanted to see students succeed in every way: ethically, personally and intellectually," she said.
Del Janik, the son of Czech immigrants, was born and raised near Chicago in Berwyn, Ill. His 11th-grade public school English teacher inspired him to pursue a career in education, his wife said.
Janik earned a bachelor's degree in English from Northwestern University, a master's in English from the University of Michigan, and a doctorate in English from Northwestern. He published nearly two dozen articles and essays in professional journals and was a frequent conference presenter and keynote speaker.
He was the author and editor of several books, including "The Curve of Return: D.H. Lawrence's Travel Books" and "Modern British Women Writers: An A to Z Guide," which he co-wrote with his wife.
He often wrote about British author and Booker Prize winner Graham Swift, with whom he became friendly, his wife said.
"He loved to read. It gave him a broader, but thoughtful perspective on life, and helped him to always be curious," Vicki Janik said.
Del Janik was an advocate for increased state funding of public higher education. He was also union leader and served as Cortland Chapter president of the United University Professions from 1997 to 1999.
He visited Chicago often and was a lifelong Cubs fan. A music lover, he enjoyed playing the bassoon and performing with the Cortland College Community Orchestra and attending concerts regularly.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by six children and stepchildren: Kathleen McKnight of Syracuse; David Janik of Los Angeles; Victor Robinson, Mary Robinson and Carolyn Robinson, all of Stony Brook; and Tyra DiDomenico of Medford. He also is survived by five grandchildren.
The family held a private memorial service.
In his memory, the Del I. Janik Award for Excellence in Student Writing at Farmingdale State College has been created for current students of any discipline.
Donations may be made to Farmingdale College Foundation (#242801) and sent to 2350 Broadhollow Rd., Horton 120, Farmingdale, NY 11735.