Professor Emerita Alleyne Murphy, BscHEc, MSc, DHumL, PDt, was a groundbreaker in nutrition education and the first full-time lay professor at the Mount in 1951. As a past chair of the Mount’s formally named Home Economics/Human Ecology department, today known as the Applied Human Nutrition department, she was instrumental in developing the now nationally recognized program into what it is today.
Dr. Murphy has had a remarkable academic career. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Francis Xavier University and a Master of Science degree from the Université de Montréal. In 1951, Dr. Murphy joined the Home Economics Department at MSVU as its first lay faculty member. Dr. Murphy worked at the Mount until 1955. In 1966, she returned and remained until her retirement in 1992. She taught Applied Human Nutrition and later became department chair.
Throughout her career, she was an active member of the Canadian Dietetic Association (now Dietitians of Canada) and other influential organizations like the Canadian Home Economics Association and the Nova Scotia Dietetics Association. Her involvement in these organizations was invaluable to the Mount’s success in the Home Economics and Dietetic fields. Both the NS Dietetic Association and NS Home Economics Association have recognized Dr. Murphy with honor awards. As well, Dietitians of Canada named her a Member Emeritus.
In 1977, Dr. Murphy used CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) funding to contribute to the founding of a nutrition recuperation center in Bani, Dominican Republic, to provide rehabilitation for malnourished children and educate their mothers about hygiene and food preparation. Today, the centre continues to provide medical care and educational programs.
In recognition of her outstanding achievements in dietetics, her contributions to the University, and her work as Vice-President of International Development for the Canadian Home Economics Association, Dr. Murphy received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from the Mount in 1977. The Alleyne Murphy Undergraduate Award was established at MSVU by her former students and colleagues and is given each year in recognition of superior scholarship by a senior student. As well, a classroom (#302) is dedicated to her in the McCain Centre.
Dr. Murphy has had a lasting impact on the Mount’s Applied Human Nutrition department and its curriculum. Her dedication and passion for nutrition education inspired colleagues and students alike, and her legacy as a pioneer and champion of nutrition education continue to this day.
MSVU’s history is rich with the stories of countless people who’ve had an impact on the university and in the broader community. Over the course of 2023, we’ll feature mini stories about 150 MSVU students, faculty, staff and alum. Check back often to meet more amazing MSVU people!