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Kathryn Bindon (1949-2020): ‘A driving force and a devoted friend’

The alumna and former principal of Concordia’s School of Community and Public Affairs left her mark on higher education across Canada and around the world
October 9, 2020
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By Howard Bokser

Women with blonde hair and blue eyes, wearing a wide-collar white shirt and pearls. Kathryn Bindon | Courtesy: Okanagan College

Kathryn Bindon (BA 71), former Concordia professor, administrator and principal of the School of Community and Public Affairs (SCPA), died in Kelowna, B.C., on September 9. She was 71.

“I was very sad to learn the news about Kathryn Bindon. She was much admired by her students and colleagues at Concordia, and accomplished many things in higher education internationally after she left the university.” says Concordia President Graham Carr.

“Katy had a hand in getting me the opportunity to interview for a limited-term appointment in the Department of History in 1983 and I’ll always thank her for that.”

A native of Toronto, Bindon earned a BA in history from Sir George Williams University, one of Concordia’s founding institutions, in 1971. She then headed to Queen’s University and completed her master’s degree in 1974 and PhD in 1979, also both in history.

Her doctoral research was on Canadian military history, which later resulted in the publication of More Than Patriotism, Canada At War 1914-1918 in 1979.

Bindon joined Concordia’s Department of History in 1978 and three years later became principal of the SCPA. She also served as executive assistant in the Office of the Rector from 1984 to 1986.

After Bindon departed from Concordia in 1986, over the next three decades she advanced to several senior university administrative positions in four other provinces across Canada. She went on to serve as president of Okanagan University College in B.C. from 1997 to 2004.

Bindon moved to Bahrain in 2006 to become president of the Royal University for Women and then advisor to the president and founding director at the Bahrain Teachers College at the University of Bahrain. In 2012, she became program director of the Takatuf Scholars Programme in Muscat, Oman, an initiative aimed at preparing young people for higher education.

Thanks to Bindon’s long involvement with the Canadian Forces, the Canadian Navy appointed her Honorary Captain in 1997.

Admired teacher and colleague

“Katy was highly respected and liked by her students,” says Perry Calce (BA 83, GrDip 90), coordinator of academic programs and curriculum development at the SCPA, where he has been as a student or staff member since 1980.

While a student, Calce took two courses with Bindon. “Katy brought energy and vigour to her classes,” he recalls. “She had a positive and warm rapport with her students. She was an amazing lecturer — she made history come alive. And the depth of her knowledge never ceased to amaze us.”

As president of the School of Community and Public Affairs Students’ Association, Calce was involved in the search to find a new principal for the SCPA in 1981.

“We were very fortunate to recruit Katy,” he says. “As principal, she put the school into a position to do well — which is true 40 years later — due to the fabulous work she did.”

Hilal Al Mamari is academic head of the Takatuf Scholars Programme. “The loss of Katy was a real shock and saddened us all,” he says. “She was the real founder of the Takatuf Scholars Programme, which was and still is a unique scheme at the national level here in Oman. I was fortunate enough to work closely with Katy and have her as mentor for the past five years.”

Outside of academia, Bindon was an avid cook and a member of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international gastronomic society dedicated to fine cuisine.

“Katy’s extraordinary culinary talents were well known to her friends,” says Frederick Bode, Concordia professor emeritus of history. “While completing her graduate degree, she was co-owner and chef of a highly regarded restaurant in Kingston. No cuisine was foreign to her. She could whip up a multi-course meal for six or eight people at practically the last minute.”

Bode kept in touch with Bindon and they saw each other when his former colleague was in town. “During her regular visits to Montreal, it was always a treat to learn about Katy’s latest adventure or project or where in the world she had been travelling, speaking and mentoring her students,” he says.

“After flying from halfway around the world, she could go far into the evening sharing her deep knowledge of and insights into the politics and societies of the Gulf Region. She was unique, a driving force and a devoted friend.”



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