Built for women
The Mount’s new McCain Centre will be dedicated to women
November 3, 2014, 12:00 PM AST
Last updated November 17, 2014, 1:56 PM AST
Mount Saint Vincent University’s newest building will be the first on a Canadian campus dedicated to honouring the achievements of women.
“At its very essence, it’s getting back to our roots in celebrating women,” says Cheryl Stewart-Walsh, the associate vice president for advancement at the Mount.
The Margaret Norrie McCain Centre for Teaching, Learning and Research is set to be finished in May. The four-story building will provide almost 50,000 square feet of learning space.
It’s named after the first female lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, who is a member of the McCain foods family. She is an advocate for early learning and her contribution of more than $2.5 million to the project makes her the largest single donor in the Mount’s history.
“This is a transformational gift for the Mount,” says Stewart-Walsh. “And it is one we feel so fortunate to not only have the investment from Margaret Norrie McCain, but also to pay tribute to her by naming the building after her.”
The facility will have an art installation featuring 18 women from Nova Scotia that will include businesswomen, politicians, artists and advocates. A virtual wall with their stories will be installed in the lobby. People wishing to honour a woman in their lives can do so by donating $1,200 to put her name on the Women’s Wall of Honour, located at the entrance.
The facility will be home to:
- Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender and Social Justice
- Rosemarie Sampson Centre on Aging
- Centre for Women in Business
- Co-Operative Education Centre
- Department of Communication Studies, including Public Relations
- Department of Business Administration and Tourism and Hospitality Management
- Department of Women’s Studies, including the appointee to the Nancy’s Chair, which brings scholars and activists for women’s rights to the university
“The Mount itself is known as being women-friendly,” says Meredith Ralston, the chair of women’s studies. About 75 per cent of the student body, as well as the president and vice president, are female.
“There is a great deal support for women and women’s studies at the Mount. People choose to come here, even if it is a joint program with Saint Mary’s, they come here because they know it’s sympathetic and inviting for women.”
Professors in the women’s studies department welcome the new building, not only for its dedication to women. It will give the department a home.
The old department building was torn down in November 2013, due to its age and the impending move. Many faculty members are cross-appointed with other departments, so their offices were located elsewhere. However, that still left several members without a space to call their own.
“I moved here a year ago and the Nancy’s Chair is down the hall with her assistant,” says Ralston. “So the three of us … we were in the house.”
The McCain will be the first new academic building at the Mount in 40 years. There have been renovations to keep the facilities up to date, with the last new building, Westwood Residence, being built in 2003. It has cost $19.4 million to build, with over $12 million raised through fundraising.