Pictured above left: Senator Nancy Ruth: “I am a very lucky woman to have been a small part in all of this.”
Pictured above right (left to right): Dr. Ramona Lumpkin, President & Vice-Chancellor, the Mount; Sylvia Hamilton, 8th Nancy’s Chair; Senator Nancy Ruth; Dr. Susan Apostle-Clark (former Mount faculty member who was integral in securing the endowment); Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell, current Nancy’s Chair; Prof. Sharon Batt, 7th Nancy’s Chair; and Dr. Margaret Conrad, 6th Nancy’s Chair.
On Sunday, March 6, the Mount celebrated the 25th Anniversary of its Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies with the Honorable Senator Nancy Ruth, C.M. as its guest of honour. Established in the mid 1980’s, Nancy’s Chair was made possible through the generosity of the Canadian feminist and philanthropist.
The Chair raises awareness of women’s issues by bringing to campus distinguished scholars in women’s studies, and activists who have contributed to the advancement of women. The presence of the Chair adds substantially to the intellectual strength of Women’s Studies at the Mount and in the Atlantic Region. The Chair is also engaged in research, teaching and public presentations on campus and around the Atlantic Provinces.
“Twenty-five years after endowing a Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University, I’m delighted to see that the Chair continues to bring in strong feminist scholars and activists,” says Hon. Senator Nancy Ruth. “They further our knowledge of issues critical to the advancement of women. In educating students to advance our human rights they give us hope for the future and I celebrate them all.”
The Mount also heard from three past Nancy’s Chairs on the contributions they were able to make during their tenure in the position. Film maker and 8th Nancy’s Chair, Sylvia Hamilton shared an excerpt of her documentary “The Little Black Schoolhouse,” which was initiated during her time as Nancy’s Chair and is a chronicle of Canada’s segregated schools. 7th Nancy’s Chair and activist Sharon Batt and 6th Nancy’s Chair and Women’s Historian, Dr. Margaret Conrad both shared what the Chair meant to them, and how it allowed them to advance their own personal missions and the status of women in our region.
“I have been at the Mount almost 18 years and I have had the pleasure of working with eight of the twelve Nancy’s Chairs,” says Dr. Meredith Ralston, Chair of the Women’s Studies Department at the Mount. “They have all made major contributions to our department through their scholarship, advocacy and personal relationships with us. They bring the important perspectives of outsiders to our department, and have always left the Mount a different, better place from what it was when they came,” she says.
As the first Canadian University to establish a department of Women’s Studies, the Mount is proud of the University-wide commitment it has to women’s education and resources. This anniversary is a time to celebrate the generosity of Senator Nancy Ruth, the contributions of past Chairs as well as the responsible fiscal management of the endowed chair over the past 25 years.
“In these days of cutbacks to public programs that deal with women’s and gender equity issues, we acknowledge the vibrant 25 years of contributions of Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies,” says current and 12th Nancy’s Chair, Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell. “The Mount’s Nancy’s Chair has become a model for similar Chairs across the country, thanks to past Chairs and the generosity of Senator Nancy Ruth.”