This International Women’s Day, Mount Saint Vincent University is proud to announce that it has joined the prestigious Women’s College Coalition (WCC) – a network of colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada committed to fostering educational opportunities for women.
MSVU is only the second Canadian institution to join the Coalition.
MSVU was founded almost 150 years ago as a place of higher learning for young women and has emphasized the advancement of women and girls ever since. Today, the university is home to a diverse student body and has as its purpose to foster the education of women and other engaged thinkers, while committing to social justice and to an equitable, diverse, inclusive and accessible community.
Membership in the WCC will provide MSVU with partnership opportunities on key events, enable sharing of online feminist and other resources, and facilitate presidential/leadership connection and knowledge sharing.
“Fostering educational opportunity plays a critical role in the advancement of women which is, in turn, paramount to a successful society,” said Dr. Mary Bluechardt, President and Vice-Chancellor. “Through membership in the Women’s College Coalition, we are delighted to be uniting with leading institutions across the US and Canada that share in our commitment to the empowerment of women.”
Dr. Emerald Archer, Executive Director of the Women’s College Coalition said, “We are thrilled to welcome Mount Saint Vincent University into the Coalition. A core part of our shared mission is to facilitate the development of strong and effective leaders. When women understand their potential, and the responsibility that comes along with being a leader, they take it very seriously and they don’t stop after leaving our campuses. This is why the work of the WCC member institutions is so important, especially during this moment in history.”
Highlights of MSVU’s programs/features focused on the advancement of women and girls:
- MSVU is home to the first Women’s Studies department at a Canadian university.
- The Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender and Social Justice at MSVU aims to achieve equity and improve lives through feminist initiatives that extend knowledge and understanding of issues related to women, girls, gender, and social justice for the Mount community and beyond.
- The Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies was established at MSVU in the mid-1980s. Endowed by well-known Toronto-based feminist and philanthropist Nancy Ruth, the Chair raises awareness of women’s issues by bringing to MSVU distinguished scholars in women’s studies and activists who have contributed to the advancement of women.
- MSVU’s Margaret Norrie McCain Centre for Teaching, Learning and Research is the first building on a Canadian university campus dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of women.
- The Inspiring Women installation – a collection of tapestries, with photos and biographies displayed below them, located in the Elizabeth and Fred Fountain atrium of the McCain Centre – showcases the stories of 18 women who have made significant contributions to their communities, professions and families.
- The only one of its kind in Canada, the Riva Spatz Women’s Wall of Honour at MSVU is a celebration of extraordinary women from all walks of life.
- MSVU is home to the NSERC Women in Science and Engineering Atlantic Chair, Dr. Tamara Franz-Odendaal (one of only five such Chairs in the country). Dr. Franz-Odendaal seeks to connect girls to STEM role models through mentorship, workshops, camps and videos, and support Atlantic Canadian female professionals in science and engineering through networking and professional development opportunities.
- MSVU is home to the only university-based business development centre for women in Canada: the Centre for Women in Business.
- MSVU’s annual Girls’ Conference (held each March) and International Day of the Girl celebration (held mid-October) are the Maritime region’s most popular empowerment events for young girls.
- Also of note: MSVU’s 8th President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Elizabeth Parr-Johnston, is a graduate of Wellesley College, another member WCC member institution. During her tenure at MSVU, Dr. Johnston bestowed an honorary doctorate on fellow Wellesley alum Hillary Clinton.
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