LHSQ/Morrin Centre Receives Grant

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Photo: Patrick Donovan

During the cocktail party before the Literary Feast held at the Morrin Centre last Tuesday, Madame Christine St. Pierre, Minister of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women presented LHSQ President David Blair with a cheque in the amount of $136,000.  The funds are to be used for the ongoing restoration work of the Morrin Centre.   

During the cocktail party before the Literary Feast held at the Morrin Centre last Tuesday, Madame Christine St. Pierre, Minister of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women presented LHSQ President David Blair with a cheque in the amount of $136,000.  The funds are to be used for the ongoing restoration work of the Morrin Centre.  
  
Before the Literary Feast began, Madame St. Pierre was given a tour of the Library and College Hall and she was delighted to discover that this was where the first women in Quebec had been awarded university level degrees.

The following is an excerpt from a supervised research project by Patrick Donovan, former Director of Programmes of the Morrin Centre, which he prepared for the Université de Montréal in 2004.

QUEBEC CITY'S FIRST ANGLOPHONE COLLEGE
WOMEN ADMITTED TO B.A. PROGRAM

A significant development in the 1880s was the admission of women to B.A. programs in Anglophone universities throughout the country. Universities in the Maritimes were the first to admit women as students: Mount Allison started early in 1862, followed by Acadia University in 1880, and Dalhousie University in 1881.

Morrin College started admitting women to the B.A. program in the school year 1885-86. This occurred only one year after McGill University accepted female students, and many years before Laval or any of the Francophone universities did the same. The first woman to graduate with a B.A. from Laval was in 1910.

There are records of women students at Morrin College before 1885-86, but they could only be admitted as "partial" students. Special ladies classes in Physical Geography, History, and English Literature are recorded as early as 1872, a year in which they attracted 66 students.  However, 1885 was the first year women were allowed to go through the full four-year program and obtain a degree.

Morrin College was also a pioneer in that these classes were co-ed from the very start. At McGill, women were grouped together in a building separate from the men. The apparent progressiveness of the small Quebec City institution was probably due more to the fact that its small size made co-ed classes inevitable rather than because of a ground-breaking liberal streak among the governors of the College.

The first year opened with two women students, hardly enough to warrant separate classes. The first two women graduated in 1889. In total, the College produced seven women graduates, representing over a third of the total during the institution's last ten years.