Looking back on a chemistry trailblazer
The Parker Building on the Fort Garry campus is named after Dr. Matthew Archibald Parker, who died 60 years ago.
As the Manitoba Historical Society notes, Parker was born in Scotland in 1871 and he and his family moved to Winnipeg in 1904. In 1911, Parker became Professor of Chemistry at the University of Manitoba, making him one of the first six science professors hired by the University (the others were Frank Allen, Physics; Gordon Bell, Bacteriology; Reginald Buller, Botany & Geology; Robert Rutherford Cochrane, Mathematics; and Swale Vincent, Physiology and Zoology).
For many years Parker was not only the sole chemistry lecturer at the U of M, he was also the only trained chemist in Manitoba at the time. As such, Parker served as the Provincial Analyst for a number of years and toured the province lecturing on the subject.
A founding member of the Scientific Club of Winnipeg and the Canadian Institute of Chemistry, Parker received an honorary degree from the University of Manitoba in 1924. He retired in 1937 and died in Winnipeg in 1953.