In Memoriam

Dr. Donna Canavan

NEPA extends our deepest sympathies to the family of our dear friend and Steering Committee Member, Dr. Donna Canavan who passed away after a long illness on April 28, 2021.

Dr. Canavan was a longtime member of the New England Psychological Association, serving as the NEPA President in 2001.

Dr. Canavan was born and raised in Cambridge and attended St. John’s Grammar School, Cambridge High and Latin High School and was a graduate of Emmanuel College. She went on from Emmanuel to pursue her PhD in Social Psychology at Columbia University. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA and earned her clinical psychologist license following a fellowship at McLean Hospital in Belmont.

She joined the Psychology Department at Boston College in 1970, and has been a member of the Boston College faculty for the past fifty years. Her research concentrated in the areas of social and personality psychology, focusing on interpersonal relations and well-being. 

Dr. Canavan presented her research regularly at meetings of psychology organizations both regionally and nationally. At BC, she taught courses in the Department of Psychology, as well as in the Wood College of Advancing Studies.

Her courses included Personality Theories, Positive Psychology, Psychology of Motivation, and Dynamics of Success. Her students described her as a caring, inspirational, and creative teacher.

Most recently, Donnah’s writing and teaching centered around her concept of “Social Energy,” which she described as, “the remarkable consequences of shared enthusiasm.”

NEPA is forever grateful to Donnah for sharing her remarkable enthusiasm and profound sense of service to the science of psychology.

Visiting Hours at the Keefe Funeral Home, 2175 Mass Ave., NORTH CAMBRIDGE, on Monday, May 3, 2021 from 4-7PM. Her Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, May 4 2021 in St. Ignatius Church, 28 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, at 10:00AM. Relatives and friends invited. Burial will be Private. Memorial donations may be made in her name to the Angel Memorial Animal Medical Center, 350 So. Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02130. To send an online condolence, please visit

dr donnah canavan


Association Coordinator’s
Mailing address:

Michael Amico, Ph.D.
Housatonic Community College
900 Lafayette Blvd
256 Beacon Hall
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Phone: 203-362-5163




The New England Psychological Association presents invited addresses, symposia, workshops, papers and posters at annual autumn meetings held in the six New England states, usually on a college campus.