A Unique Installation Celebrating Women

As Canada’s leading university dedicated to advancing the education and leadership of women, the Margaret Norrie McCain Centre for Teaching, Learning and Research is the only building on a Canadian university campus dedicate to celebrating the accomplishments of women. At the heart of the McCain Centre is the Inspiring Women initiative, a permanent instillation located in the Elizabeth and Fred Fountain Atrium of the McCain Centre. It will showcase the stories of eighteen women who have made significant contributions to their communities, professions, and families. The installation has been made possible by generous donors, each choosing to recognize a woman who has inspired them. 


Sisters of CharitySisters of Charity - Halifax
The Sisters of Charity established Mount Saint Vincent Academy and College, and continue to be strong supporters of the University (the Mount). Four Sisters first arrived in Halifax in 1849 to teach in a Catholic school. Within the year, they had doubled the school’s enrolment to 400 and turned their convent into an orphanage for 20 children. Thus began their service to the people of Halifax. The congregation traces its roots to Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, born in New York in 1774. As a young widow and mother, Elizabeth founded a small community of women who dedicated their lives to teaching and reaching out to the poor. She was canonized in 1975. Elizabeth’s legacy lives on in the Sisters of Charity–Halifax, now an international organization that has made a difference in the lives of thousands around the world.



Aldéa Landry, CM, PC, QC
Politician, lawyer, businesswoman and public servant, Aldéa Landry has been an instrumental force advancing issues in her home province of New Brunswick and beyond. She was the first Acadian woman to be appointed to the Cabinet of the Province of New Brunswick and served as Deputy Premier. Increasing the level of education in the Acadian Peninsula and in her province has been one of her greatest passions. Ms. Landry was also the first woman to chair the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council and, in addition to being president of a consulting firm specializing in economic and community development, she is a shareholder and director of several private companies.

Sponsored by The John and Judy Bragg Family Foundation

Annette Verschuren

Annette Verschuren, OC 
Businesswoman and champion of corporate social responsibility, Annette Verschuren applies her vast experience and skills in finance, operations and leadership to public, private and non-profit ventures. A high-energy executive now developing sustainable solutions in energy storage as Chair and CEO of NRStor Inc., she's also a past leader of major Canadian and international retailers including The Home Depot Canada and Asia, and Michaels of Canada. Her personable leadership style and reputation for fairness are well known, and her many awards include induction into Canada’s Marketing Hall of Legends.

Sponsored by Beatrice and Purdy Crawford, OC; Elizabeth Parr-Johnston, CM; and John McLennan


Belle MacDonald
Daughter of a lobster fisherman, Belle MacDonald was born on a remote island off Newfoundland. As there was no formal school there, she studied independently and passed Grade 12 by correspondence. After moving to St. John's, she became a registered nurse. Upon immigrating to Canada in 1945, she took charge of the neonatal unit at the Halifax Infirmary, restoring life and health to thousands of premature infants. She rarely took a day off, returning to work for modest wages soon after each of her own seven children were born. She lived by example until her death at age 83, demonstrating to those fortunate enough to know her the value of hard work, honesty and love of family

Sponsored by her children: Jack, Judi, Colin, Ann, Ricky, Mickey and Michelle

Dale GodsoeDale Godsoe, CM
Community volunteer, board member and women's advocate, Dale Godsoe brings tireless commitment to creating positive change. Her work in direct community service, education, arts, media and business always includes a feminist perspective. After spending a decade as Vice-President External at Dalhousie University, she returned to her community endeavours with recharged enthusiasm. She currently chairs the University of King's College, the Symphony Nova Scotia Foundation and Waterfront Development Corporation, and is incoming chair of the QEII Foundation board.

Sponsored by The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, CC, ONB; John Risley, OC; friends and family

Daureen LewisDaurene Lewis, CM
A former Executive Director of the Centre for Women in Business at Mount Saint Vincent University (the Mount), Daurene E. Lewis was an accomplished politician, nurse, educator, administrator, textile artist and volunteer. A native of Annapolis Royal, N.S., she was a descendant of Black Loyalists and the seventh generation of her family to be born there. She joined town council in 1979 and was elected mayor of Annapolis Royal in 1984, becoming the first black female mayor in Canada. She went on to lead several higher education institutions in the Halifax region. An inspiring trailblazer, she is remembered for her great sense of fun and style, and her extraordinary dedication as a community advocate.

Sponsored by Dale Godsoe, CM; friends and family

Eleanor Norrie

Eleanor Norrie
For decades, Eleanor Norrie has served her Nova Scotia community as teacher, business owner and politician. Together with her husband, she was a restaurant owner and manager in the Truro, N.S., area for more than 20 years. She was educated at Colchester County Academy and the Provincial Normal School (later called the Nova Scotia Teachers College). She was elected Member of the Legislative Assembly for Truro-Bible Hill in 1993. There, she served on the executive council as Minister of Human Resources from 1993 to 1995 and as Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs from 1995 to 1996. A dedicated and insightful member of her community, Ms. Norrie always brings passion and purpose to her roles as businesswoman, community leader, volunteer and elected public official.

Sponsored by The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, CC, ONB


Elizabeth Parr-JohnstonDr. Elizabeth Parr-Johnston, CM
From often being the sole woman at the corporate board table to paving the way for countless women to pursue governance roles, Dr. Elizabeth Parr-Johnston is an inspiration. From 1991 to 1996, Dr. Parr-Johnston was the eighth President and Vice-Chancellor of Mount Saint Vincent University. Today, the Mount has an endowed scholarship in her name and her impact continues to be felt on campus. She was also President of the University of New Brunswick from 1996 to 2002, where she was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2004. Dr. Parr-Johnston is highly respected for creating increased opportunities for women, notably by mentoring female faculty and making education more accessible to women.

Sponsored by Emera Inc.


janet websiteJanet MacMillan, APR, Fellow CPRS
Janet MacMillan, public relations trailblazer, consummate volunteer and community leader was a member of the first public relations class at Mount Saint Vincent University (the Mount). Since graduating in 1981, she has served the Mount as mentor, guest lecturer and longstanding board of governors member, culminating in her role as board chair from 2007 to 2009. She is a partner with NATIONAL Public Relations and was formerly co-owner and partner of MT&L Public Relations. Ms. MacMillan's leadership as a businesswoman and her generosity of spirit inspire others, particularly up-and-coming public relations professionals.

Sponsored by Elizabeth and Fred Fountain, CM


Joanne McCrae_2870_5x7 (2) - Nov 2012Joanne McCrea 
Selfless community member and the backbone of her family, Joanne McCrea always puts the needs of others before her own. Growing up in Moncton, N.B., she was active in her church and its choir. Her past position on the board of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia and volunteerism with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, MS Society and United Way inspired a strong work ethic in her children. Directly serving the people in her community has long been a priority for Ms. McCrea. A humble woman considered a quiet champion of family and community values, Ms. McCrea lives by example, providing unending support and strength to all who know her.

Sponsored by her late husband Armour (Ben) McCrea, and their children: Scott, Alison, Janice and Stuart


Margaret Rosamond FawcettSenator Margaret Fawcett Norrie
Farmer, biologist and public servant, Margaret Fawcett Norrie was born in Upper Sackville, N.B., in 1905. When she was 27 years old and an assistant instructor in biology and Assistant Dean of Women at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., she accompanied her students to the gold fields of Quebec where she met her husband, mining engineer J.P. Norrie. Their marriage lasted 12 years until J.P.'s death, leaving her on her own in Truro, N.S., raising four children, including daughter Margaret Norrie McCain. Her new life saw her balancing multiple roles: mother, dairy farmer and politician. She was the first woman appointed to the Senate from Nova Scotia and only the fifth woman senator in Canada. Her family, friends and constituents regarded her as a role model, trailblazer and inspiration.

Sponsored by The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, CC, ONB


martha head shot finalDr. Martha Jodrey, OC
As an educator, activist, volunteer and philanthropist, it has been Dr. Martha Jodrey's passion to ensure that all students from primary to PhD level have equal opportunity to advance their education and skills. Dr. Jodrey established academic supports for Nova Scotia students with learning disabilities at the primary, secondary and university levels. A persuasive and determined fundraiser, Dr. Jodrey has also been involved in numerous capital campaigns, raising millions of dollars to support schools, hospitals, museums, art galleries and community groups.

Sponsored by Bruce Jodrey


Myra FreemanThe Honourable Myra A. Freeman, CM, ONS, MSM
Educator and former Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, The Honourable Myra Freeman has demonstrated lifelong commitment to community service. In 2000, Ms. Freeman was installed as the 30th lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia since Confederation, becoming the first woman to hold the position in its 400-year history and the first Jewish lieutenant governor in Canada. During six years in that role, she was passionate about encouraging youth to be active in Canadian heritage, volunteerism, leadership and public service. Besides emphasizing that Government House is open to people of all ages and cultures, she inspired volunteers with her enthusiasm for community service.

Sponsored by The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, CC, ONB; Annette Verschuren, OC; Larry Freeman, QC; friends and family

Nancy RuthSenator Nancy Ruth, CM
The Honourable Sen. Nancy Ruth, feminist philanthropist, systemic change-maker and politician, is gender inequality’s worst nightmare. Her relentless and spirited advocacy has changed Canada by increasing legal, social and economic equality for women and girls. In concert with friends, she launched groundbreaking initiatives, including the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, the Linden School, and www.section15.ca. The Canadian Women’s Foundation, which she co-founded in 1991 to stamp out sexism, remains a unique and formidable force. As senator, she has inserted women, age and disability into the genocide section of the criminal code; inspired the Auditor General to conduct Canada’s first gender-based analysis on government ministries; and introduced a bill on physician-assisted death.

Sponsored by Dr. E. Margaret Fulton OC; Annette Verschuren, OC; Gail Asper, OC, OM; Hal Jackman Foundation; Dr. Ramona Lumpkin, CM; friends and family

Rita JoeRita Joe, PC, CM, LLD
Considered the poet laureate of Mi'kmaq people, Rita Joe wrote stories about Aboriginal Canadians in poetry and prose. Ms. Joe overcame childhood poverty and prejudice to write about her people's history and culture, and counter negative stereotyping. She began writing in the early 1970s, and early in her career she interviewed many elders, retold their tales and relayed information about natural medicines and treatment. She served as ambassador for her people, promoting native art and culture across Canada and in the United States. Ms. Joe's poetry and activism make her a symbol of native pride.

Sponsored by BMO Financial Group

 Rose cropped

Rose Schwartz 
Born in Russia in 1900, Rose Schwartz emigrated from Russia to Canada with her Jewish family when she was 13 years old and settled in New Waterford, N.S. Once in Canada, she learned English and assisted as clerk and bookkeeper for her father in the small candy store he was running. Her work in retail continued after she married Abraham Schwartz, also a shopkeeper. When Abraham died suddenly in 1932, Rose Schwartz became the sole caregiver for her six children, including daughter Ruth Goldbloom. Until her death in 1993, she inspired them, as well as those in the tightly knit Cape Breton community she loved, with her work ethic and generosity.

Sponsored by friends and family of Ruth Goldbloom, OC, ONS

Ruth GoldbloomRuth Goldbloom, OC, ONS
Ruth Goldbloom made unparalleled contributions to Atlantic Canadian communities. Ruth's gratitude for the wonderful life Canada offered her Russian immigrant parents, and her belief in tolerance and diversity, led her to the successful completion of a $16-million campaign to fund the opening of Pier 21 in Halifax. She also campaigned for healthcare, education, arts and Jewish charities, raising millions of dollars. She was the first woman to chair the United Way campaign for Halifax. At Mount Saint Vincent University (the Mount), her volunteer leadership spanned more than three decades. During her life and since her death in 2012, she has inspired countless volunteers to make a difference in their communities.

Sponsored by Wadih Fares, CM; Colin MacDonald; Mickey MacDonald; Diane and Harold Schwartz; Beatrice and Purdy Crawford, OC; Karen and Howard Conter; Deborah Conter; Haynes Connell Foundation; The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, CC, ONB; Dr. Richard B. Goldbloom, OC, ONS; friends and family


Susan Apostle ClerkDr. Susan Apostle-Clark
Dr. Susan Apostle Clark joined the sociology department at Mount Saint Vincent University (the Mount) in 1972 as the second wave of feminism was gathering momentum. Dr. Apostle Clark’s research on family and work policies that particularly affect women underlines her commitment to enable women’s full participation in all aspects of Canadian society. This commitment has made her an advocate for women in universities and informed her volunteer work with professional associations and organizations such as the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women and the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund.

Sponsored by Senator Nancy Ruth, CM