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Authority record
Corporate body · 1930-2000, predominant 1958-1999

Home Economics at Mount Saint Vincent University began as a Diploma in 1925, and later became a four year Household Science degree in 1928. An exhaustive study of Textiles and courses in Nutritional Physiology, Bacteriology, Organic Chemistry, Child Care, and Sociology, as applied to the home, all formed a part of the course which led to the degree of Bachelor of Household Science. The degree also offered a following two year certificate program which allowed students to pursue careers as teachers of Domestic Science in elementary schools; or, after six months of hospital training, as a hospital dietitian. At this time, domestic science was being taught in many elementary schools and teachers of Domestic Science were needed all over Canada.

Plans for the Household Science program began in 1927 when Sister Mary Evaristus Moran requested that Sister Irene Marie Keegan develop plans for a home economics department and program at the Mount. Soon plans for a spacious foods laboratory and clothing room were under way. The laboratory, designed to accommodate 16 students, consisted of four laboratory tables, three gas stoves, one electric stove, one refrigerator, two large sinks, one small hand sink, two supply tables, and a portable blackboard. Sister Keegan was the director and teacher of all the courses except for clothing, which was taught by Sister Elizabeth Clare. The first year of the program saw one student enrol, and the next year saw three students enroll. Enrolment in the program increased dramatically in the 1970's, with a peak enrolment of 212 students in 1975; the highest enrolment in any undergraduate home economics program east of Guelph, Ontario. The degree later became known as the Bachelor of Science Home Economics prior to 1945. The name change was influenced by a previous conference in New York in 1902, where leading figures in the field determined that home economics was better suited to describe the discipline which was so closely associated with women's work.

In 1938, Sister Keegan was transferred to the Halifax Infirmary as head dietitian. By the time she returned to the Home Economics Department at the Mount in 1949, Sister Keegan had obtained a Masters degree in nutrition from Simmons College in Boston and had also chaired the student training committee of the Canadian Dietetic Association. Founded in 1935, the CDA (now Dietitians of Canada) was the governing body of professional competence in dietetics as it was determined and warranted by certification and registration by nationally affiliated provincial associations. In 1950, thanks to Sister Keegan's efforts to adapt the best in all the hospitals and schools she had visited over the past years to suit the Mount's Home Economics program, the Mount was admitted as a member into the Canadian Dietetic Association. Later that year, in April, the Maritime Home Economics Association annual meeting was hosted by Mount Saint Vincent College, thus introducing the College as a provincial member of the home economics field.
In 1951 a devastating fire destroyed the entire Mount Saint Vincent Mother-house, which housed most of the classrooms and residences for the Academy, College, and Novitiate. Thankfully, not one student or faculty was injured and plans for a new home economics department were under way as part of a new building development which had already begun construction in 1949. Completed in 1952, the new College building, Evaristus Hall, enabled the home economics department to expand and accommodate more than 100 students. In the same year, Dr. Alleyne Murphy joined the Home Economics Department at MSVC as the first non-Catholic, or lay, faculty member. Dr. Alleyne Murphy was an active member of the CDA, as well as other influential organisations like the Canadian Home Economics Association and the Nova Scotia Dietetics Association. Her considerable involvement in these organisations was invaluable to the Mount's success in the Home Economic and Dietetic fields.

In 1969, two years after receiving a University charter, the Mount established a graduate program in home economics to offer their students an improved professional program more suited to their career paths. In the same year, Dr. Mary Morley joined the home economics department and conducted an intensive three year study of all home economics programs at Canadian and American universities. The study led to the development of new programs in family and consumer studies and home economics education. As a result, in 1972 the Senate of MSVU was asked to approve alterations to the foods and nutrition major to include specialisation in the areas of nutrition, nutrition and administration, and food services administration. Advances in nutrition and medical science meant that students pursuing dietetics required a greater understanding of biochemistry, physiology, cellular and clinical nutrition. At the same time, the Senate was also asked to give approval of the Bachelor of Home Economics degree with specialisation in clothing and textiles, consumer studies, family studies, and home economics education, thus making the distinction between home economics education and scientific food study.
The 1980’s saw an increase in international projects for MSVU with the establishment of the Canadian International Development Association and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. The first international project for the Home Economics department at MSVC was a nutrition and rehabilitation project in the Dominican Republic, which was followed by an outreach to populations in the Canadian North. Mount Saint Vincent followed these projects under the direction of Dr. Marilyn McDowell who joined the Mount Home Economics faculty in the 1979-1980 academic year, with links to the Universities of Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia in Africa, as well as with Universities and Home Economics departments in Malaysia and Pakistan. The Mount assisted these Universities with the establishment of home economics departments and faculty training.
In January 1989, Dr. Alleyne Murphy, Chair of the Home Economics Department, wrote a proposal to students of the Mount suggesting a name change from Home Economics to Human Ecology. The impetus for this name change stemmed from several studies which indicated that Home Economics students tended to be stereotyped with outdated images of the profession, and had also been a topic of debate for many years within the department. In the academic calendar year of 1991-1992, the Mount officially changed the name to Human Ecology and made changes to the program. Prominent changes included the removal of specialisation in Housing and Facility Management and Consumer Studies and the transition of the Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology to Nutrition & Dietetics from Foods & Nutrition. While some of the same courses were still offered under the new name, most of the courses originally taught under the HOM (Home Economics discipline) were removed or merged into other areas of study such as family studies and institutional management.

In 1996, the Bachelor of Science Human Ecology program received accreditation from the Dietitians of Canada (formerly CDA), thus increasing internship opportunities for graduates of the Nutrition and Dietetics program.

In January of 1998, faculty members aligned with the Nutrition and Dietetics program submitted a proposal to the Dean to establish a Department of Applied Human Nutrition. In September of 1998, the Departments of Gerontology and Human Ecology submitted a proposal to establish a Bachelor of Applied Arts within a new Department of Gerontology and Family Studies at the Mount. These decisions were made based on a number of factors such as: diminished enrolment for Human Ecology programs; a historical, but informal, relationship between the Departments of Gerontology and Human Ecology; the impetus within the University to merge small departments into larger units where it is philosophically and academically logical to do so; and many Human Ecology programs in North America had realigned with such programs as Gerontology. In the fall of 1999, the Human Ecology Department was absorbed into the Gerontology and Family Studies Department, while other faculty from the Nutrition and Dietetics program were merged into the Department of Applied Human Nutrition.

Corporate body · 1873 -

Mount Saint Vincent University had its origins as an academy for young girls established by the Sisters of Charity in Rockingham (present day Halifax) in 1873. The original purpose of the academy was to train novices and young sisters as teachers, but the Sisters also recognised a need to educate other young women and therefore opened the academy to young women who lived in the city of Halifax. In 1925 the Nova Scotia Legislature passed a bill granting a charter to Mount Saint Vincent College empowering it to grant its own degrees. With that, Mount Saint Vincent College became the only independent women’s college in the British Commonwealth. It offered degrees in Education, Nursing and Arts.

The College continued to grow until 1966, when a new government charter was granted and the College became Mount Saint Vincent University, a co-educational institution. The Mount is a primarily undergraduate public university that offer programs in Arts, Education, Science, and Professional Studies.

Wills, Dorothy
AR-006 · Person · 1933-

Born in Dominica, Dr. Dorothy Abike Wills (Green), B.Sc., M.S.W., M.A., PhD., LL.D.,DHL (Honoris Causa), C.M., graduated from Mount Saint Vincent College in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science, later obtaining additional degrees at McGill University, Concordia University, and California's Pacific Western University. Dr. Wills went on to become a social worker and educator and spent much of her career dedicated to social justice for racial minorities.
In June 2000, she retired as the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Technologies at Vanier College, Quebec. She served as a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Convention Refugee Determination Division, for six years. An Educator in the areas of Business Education, Social Work, and Andragogy (the method by which adults learn), she has taught at the High School, CEGEP and University levels. She has been named to Federal, Provincial and Municipal Committees; and has had extensive involvement in various Black Community organizations. She is the recipient of several awards, including the Mount Saint Vincent University Alumni Jubilee Award of Distinction, an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from both Concordia University (1989) Dalhousie University (1996), an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Mount Saint Vincent University (2007), the Order of Canada (1989), the Martin Luther King Junior Award of Excellence, the Ministers Award for Excellence in Race Relations, and, has been named Woman of the Year by Salon de la Femme du Quebec.

LeBlanc, Suzanne
AR-014 · Person · 1956-

Suzanne LeBlanc was born in Moncton, N.B. in 1956 to an Acadian father and American mother with ties to Aberdeen, Scotland. She completed her primary education in French and her high school education in English. In September 1974, Suzanne began her studies at Mount Saint Vincent University where she majored in English and minored in History and French. While at the Mount, Suzanne was the secretary for the university choir, led by Sister Margaret Young. Suzanne remained the choir secretary until she graduated in 1977 but continued to have a life-long passion for classical music.

Suzanne continued her studies at McGill University, graduating with a Master’s in Library Science in 1979. Soon afterwards, she was hired by the Bank of Canada in Ottawa, working primarily in the library but eventually on specific projects concentrating on metadata and digital information in the organization. The metadata standard she created is still largely used at the organization to this day. She had a long and illustrious career with the Bank of Canada, retiring in 2012.

AR-016 · Corporate body · 1980-1987

The Humanities Committee met to study the structure of the Bachelor of Arts, to discuss the value of Humanities within the BA, to discuss courses at Mount Saint Vincent University related to the Humanities, and to investigate how these courses interacted with other disciplines in the University, among other things. This Committee also wrote the introduction and did any revisions to the Humanities section of the MSVU course calendar.

Inter-University Committee
AR-017 · Corporate body · 1970-1971, 1973, 1982

The Inter-University Committee met to discuss cooperative ventures between Mount Saint Vincent University and other universities and colleges in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

AR-020 · Corporate body · 1968-1981

The President's Advisory Committee, known at one time as the Administrative Committee of Mount Saint Vincent University, discussed and provided for the ordinary administration of University affairs, recommended guidelines for administrative procedures, formulated general administrative policies, and provided for exchange of information among administrative personnel regarding matters or events pertaining to the University community. The Administrative Committee met once a week. Membership consisted of the President, the Academic Dean, the Registrar, the Director of Student Affairs, the Executive Assistant, the Comptroller, and the Director of Public Relations and Development.

Crowe, Michal
AR-027 · Person · 1973-1983

Michal Alexis (Rankin) Crowe was born in Toronto, Ontario and grew up in Bermuda, England, and Newfoundland. In 1967 she moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she worked as an Administrative Assistant for the Atlantic Institute of Education. While living in Halifax she also attended Mount Saint Vincent University where she graduated in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction in Sociology. While attending Mount Saint
Vincent University she was a member of the Senate Committee on Continuing Education and received several merit scholarships. Upon graduating she was hired as the Alumnae Officer (1977-1982), where she was responsible for facilitating programs, projects, and policies with the Alumnae Association, initiating and maintaining student alumnae liaison programs, producing a quarterly newsletter, and co-ordinating an annual fund raising drive.

AR-031 · Corporate body · 1974-1976

The University/Congregation Committee is a committee formed by the Board of Governors of Mount Saint Vincent University to investigate acquiring the University from the Sisters of Charity. It was formed in 1973. The efforts of this committee culminated in the Downie Report, presented to the Board in 1973.

AR-033 · Corporate body · 1955-1959

Mount Saint Vincent College (MSVC) grew out of Mount Saint Vincent Academy, a private school established by the Sisters of Charity at Rockingham, Nova Scotia in 1873.
MSVC was first given degree-granting status in 1925 under its first Charter. Until 1941 Dalhousie University had a contract with MSVC to provide some of the services and
classes for the students. The College building burned to the ground in 1951, but luckily the cornerstone to a new building, Evaristus Hall, had been laid in 1950, and the building was completed and used by MSVC after the fire. Courses of study were offered leading to Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Secretarial Studies, diplomas in elementary education and radiological technology, and masters degrees in English and Education. In 1966 a new charter was approved by the Nova Scotia legislature which changed the name from Mount Saint Vincent College to Mount Saint Vincent University.