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Helen Glass

Helen Glass

Remembering Helen Glass

February 17, 2015 — 

Dr. Helen Preston Glass, in whose honour the Helen Glass Centre for Nursing was named because of her dedication and pioneering role in advancing the nursing profession, passed away on Saturday, February 14, 2015, at the age of 98.

“I know I speak for all of us at the University of Manitoba when I express my sadness at the passing of Dr. Helen Glass,” says Dr. David Barnard, University of Manitoba president and vice-chancellor.

“She was a true pioneer and inspired many to achieve the highest standards within the nursing and health care professions. She will be greatly missed, but her legacy and vision for the nursing profession will continue to make a difference as a result of her contributions and dedication.”

Born in Regina, Dr. Glass earned her diploma in nursing and her Registered Nurse (RN) designation from Montreal’s Royal Victoria Hospital School of Nursing in 1939. Then, as a single mother, she was determined to forge a better and new life so she moved to Winnipeg where she received a Certificate in Teaching and Supervision from the University of Manitoba and taught at the nursing school in Victoria Hospital. She then traveled to Columbia University where she received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees and returned to Winnipeg where she began teaching in the University of Manitoba School of Nursing. She later went back to Columbia University for her Masters and Doctorate Degrees in nursing education.

Dr. Glass was named director of the School of Nursing in 1972, a position she held until 1979. She was instrumental in establishing a graduate program in nursing at the University and also in creating the Manitoba Nursing Research Institute. Dr. Glass later became President of the Canadian Nurses Association, and had a great influence on the wording and scope of the Canada Health Act (1984), working for the inclusion of nursing and allied health professionals alongside physicians in the delivery of primary care services.

During her many years as a nursing and administrative professional, Dr. Glass lent her expertise to the development of new policies as the concept of health care shifts from institutional care to community-based health promotion strategies. Her commitment and experience in health care policy development and nursing education and research is recognized internationally.

Some of the many honours and distinctions Dr. Glass has received over the course of her career include the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal (1977), YWCA Woman of the Year Award for Education (1979), Member of the Order of the Buffalo Hunt (1987), City of Winnipeg Community Service Award for outstanding contribution to the City, and Officer of the Order of Canada (1989).

In 1999, the Helen Glass Centre for Nursing at the Fort Garry Campus was dedicated in her honour, a recognition for which she was humbled and very moved.

Most recently, Dr. Glass was the recipient of the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba’s Centennial Award in 2013.


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4 comments on “Remembering Helen Glass

  1. Archie Cooper

    Iam saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Helen Glass. In additon to her outstanding leadership of the nursing profession, she was an inspiration to young women faculty members at the University of Manitoba. I admired her grit, tenacity and utter dedication to the academic unit that now bears her name and to our university.

  2. Shake Ketefian

    I am very sad to learn of Helen’s passing. she was a wonderful professional, a great person and friend. we have continued our association and friendship since our days together in the EdD program. the world has lost a great lady. She was much admired by all who knew her. to borrow a phrase, “we shall not see her like again.”

  3. Louise Fitzpatrick

    Helen was my doctoral classmate and friend, although 26 years my senior. She had already accomplished much when we studied for the doctorate. She became a professional role model and her international interests stimulated mine. In addition to her many contirubtions to nursing, she was an elegant
    and gracious person and exemplar.

  4. Pat Nielsen (Fleming)

    Helen Glass was my first year nursing instructor in 1971 prior to her becoming dean. Her inspiration led me to devoting 40+ years to nursing. I am sorry to hear she has passed on but I will continue to remember her.

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