Honorary degree citation - Agnes C. Higgins*
By: Muriel Arnstrong, November 1975
Mr. Vice-Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Mrs. Agnes C. Higgins, a distinguished nutritionist, who in her work at the Montreal Diet Dispensary has dedicated more than a quarter of a century to improving the welfare of the underprivileged of Montreal and the health of the country as a whole. Her diets, food lists, and budgets for people of all ages and in all income groups are circulated throughout the country and are widely used by government organizations, clinics and private groups.
Her major scientific work has been a ten year study that dentonstrated the benefits of good nutrition to expectant mothers and newborn babies. Her laboratory was a hospital clinic that served the poor and uneducated, the alcoholics and drug addicts. By a programme of counselling, carefully planned diets, and food supplements where necessary, this dynamic woman achieved remarkable results. A disadvantaged population that had a long history of weak, slow, often stillborn babies produced instead strong and healthy infants - children, Mrs. Higgins is convinced, who have the qualities needed to break the vicious cycle of poverty. Her published articles, seminars and speeches about her study have been widely acclaimed; and her methods and data have caught the attention of eminent scholars and researchers.
Mrs. Higgins has been the Executive Director of the Montreal Diet Dispensary for sixteen years. An indefatigable worker for many causes, she has been president of the Corporation of Dieticians of Quebec, Vice President, and Consultant to the Board of Directors of the Quebec branch of the Consumers' Association of Canada, and a member of a select task force of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States. Last year, she was appointed to the Canadian Consumer Council. Convinced of the need to influence government policies, she has presented numerous briefs on subjects ranging from the harmful effects of increases in milk prices to cost standards of goods and services for the elderly.
Because of her many contributions, Mrs. Higgins was appointed a Fellow of Britain's Royal Society of Health. Earlier this year she was made a Member of the Order of Canada, and was named by the YWCA of Montreal as a Woman of Achievement.
Mr. Vice Chancellor, I am honoured to present to you, on behalf of the University Senate, and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Mrs. Agnes C. Higgins, that you may confer on her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.