Remembering Isabel Auld, first female Chancellor
Dr. Auld became the University of Manitoba’s first female Chancellor in 1977
The University of Manitoba is sad to announce the passing of Isabel Auld, a true daughter of the Canadian Prairies. Dr. Auld became the University of Manitoba’s first female Chancellor in 1977, the University’s centennial year, a position she held until 1986.
“Dr. Isabel Auld was more than just a Chancellor of the University of Manitoba,” said President David Barnard. “She was the embodiment of the values and service of the University in the broader community, representing us well both within this institution on the Board of Governors, but also across Winnipeg as she was involved with many organizations, making a real difference in our society.”
Dr. Auld was born in Winnipeg to Scottish immigrants C.G. and Mrs. Hutcheson, and later moved with her family to Regina, Saskatchewan. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Master of Science in genetics from the University of Saskatchewan. Very gifted academically, she was awarded a National Research Council scholarship for post-graduate research in cytogenetics at McGill University before accepting a post at the Rust Research Laboratory of the Federal Department of Agriculture on the University of Manitoba Fort Garry Campus. In 1941, she was conducting advanced work in biotechnology before the word was even coined.
She married W. Murray Auld in 1942 and chose to stay home and raise three children, beginning a long career of volunteer work dedicated to the welfare of others, serving numerous organizations involved in education, health, consumer and social services. The calibre of her work was so high, especially her voluntarism with the Consumers Association of Canada and the Family Bureau of Winnipeg, she was recognized nationally with a Canada Centennial Medal in 1967.
In 1968, Dr. Auld was appointed to the Board of Governors of the University of Manitoba, beginning what was to be become a long-term commitment to post-secondary education. She served four of those years as the Board’s representative on the Senate and on its Executive, gaining the respect of all for her balanced judgement and wholesome concern for all University constituents. While serving on the Board of Governors, Dr. Auld continued to work closely with community programs and social services, honoured by all with whom she worked and essentially becoming the University’s unofficial agent of goodwill throughout Winnipeg.
In 1977, the role was made official. Dr. Auld was appointed to her first of three terms as Chancellor of the University of Manitoba. As titular head of the University, she made it her mission to interpret the needs of the community which she knew so well through concurrent service on the Social Planning Council, the Board of the Health Sciences Centre and other agencies such as Canada World Youth.
Dr. Auld remained a member of the Board of Governors and Senate for fourteen years and Chancellor for nine. Her many honours included honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Saskatchewan (1979) and Manitoba (1986), Member of the Order of Canada (1989), inclusion in Winnipeg’s Citizens’ Hall of Fame (1993) and she was named Chancellor Emeritus in 2004. During the almost 30 years since she completed her service as Chancellor, Dr. Auld remained an active and engaged member of the University community and a life-long true friend of the University.