By: Florence Stevens, June 1987
Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Margaret Fulton, an academic and educator who has worked tirelessly to promote peace, to improve the lot of women and to serve her community.
Dr. Fulton's career has been marked by her courageous commitment to women. In the early 70's, when she was Dean of Women at the University of British Columbia, she instituted services and counselling for women, and worked to abolish the pay differential then existing, which was as high as $3,000. Against strong conservative resistance, she also supported courses in women's studies.
Margaret Fulton began her career in education as a public school teacher in Manitoba, where she was born. It has been said that her upbringing gave her three advantages: as a member of a family of seven children, she learned to stand on her own; as a young child who had to call the gang in from the fields, she perfected what has been called a "reveille voice"; as a citizen in a small western community, she learned the tenets of independent agrarian radicalism, which were to influence her political thinking.
Throughout her career, she demonstrated excellent teaching and administrative abilities and became the first non-Roman Catholic President of Mount Saint-Vincent University in Halifax. At the Mount, she strove for academic excellence as well as practical skills. She once said, "We don't want to turn out graduates who know something well. When they leave, we want them to do something well, too." Her leadership in the field was rewarded when Mount Saint Vincent was granted the first Chair in Women's Sudies by the Office of the Secretary of State.
Margaret Fulton's personal philosophy embraces spiritual and moral values, and she applies these to all aspects of life. She has served in the larger community in a wide range of fields including distance education, science and technology, employment, and rent review. She believes in the integration of the humanities with pure science and technology if we are to exist happily in a shrinking world. As a feminist, she has said, "Power can corrupt women as easily as men, and female bonding on the old male system has no appeal for me at all." Her idealism inevitably has made her a staunch proponent of the Peace Movement. In quest of peace and to promote women's rights, she has travelled extensively. Her tireless efforts have won her many accolades, including the Order of Canada.
All her life, she has dared to look ahead instead of backward. The precepts of change and challenge characterize her outlook, which bears no trace of cynicism.
Mr. Chancellor, it is a privilege to present to you, on behalf of Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Margaret Fulton, so that you may confer on her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
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