Deans and Directors of Household Science and Home Economics

Ethel Rutter, PhB, MA (1929-1940)

Mrs. Ethel Rutter received the Gold Medal for proficiency in Household Science from Macdonald College, McGill University, in 1908. She went on to serve on the faculty of Macdonald College. In 1916, Mrs. Rutter joined the University of Saskatchewan to teach Household Science. Taking summers to study and a year’s leave, she earned the Bachelor of Philosophy degree from the University of Chicago and the Master of Arts degree from Columbia University. In 1928, the School of Household Science was established within the College of Arts and Science. Mrs. Rutter was instrumental in setting up the degree program, and in 1929 was named Head of the School. She taught classes in food and nutrition, family relations and methods of teaching. To quote from the Canadian Home Economics Journal of March 1955: “Students in Mrs. Rutter’s classes recalled her insistence on accuracy, her high standards of workmanship, her apt phrasing and, above all, her enthusiasm for her subject.” Outside of the University, she encouraged the study of home economics in women’s organizations and constantly stressed the need for employing trained dietitians in hospitals.

Upon her retirement in 1940, Professor Rutter was named Professor Emerita of the University of Saskatchewan. She was a Charter Member of the Canadian Dietetics Association (now Dietitians of Canada), Honorary Member of the Canadian Home Economics Association and Honorary Life Member of the McGill Graduate Society. The Rutter Prize was established in 1930 to recognize the most distinguished student in the graduating class of the College of Home Economics. The Rutter Medal now honours the most distinguished Bachelor of Science in Nutrition graduate. Ethel Rutter died in 1964.

Hope H. Hunt, BA(HSc), MSc, PhD, PDt (1940-1965)

Hope Hunt earned a BAHSc from the University of Toronto, MSc from Columbia University and PhD from the University of Minnesota, where she held a faculty position. In 1940, she accepted an appointment as Head of the School of Household Science at the University of Saskatchewan. In 1941, when the School became a College, Dr. Hunt became the first Dean of a College of Household Science in Canada. Her research involved the evaluation of cooking qualities of fruits and was conducted in conjunction with the Horticulture Department. Dr. Hunt was responsible for securing additional faculty members and introducing many important changes to the Home Economics curriculum, including new classes in Child Development, Family Relations, Community Nutrition, Household and Institution Management, Diet Therapy and History and Development of Home Economics. She was instrumental in changing the name to the College of Home Economics. She laid the groundwork for curricular revisions to establish a general course to meet the needs of teachers and five majors: Dietetics and Nutrition, Housing and Design, Food Science, Clothing and Textiles and Home Management. She convened a committee to plan a new home for Home Economics in the addition to the Chemistry Building.

Dr. Hunt retired in 1972 and was awarded the title of Dean Emerita by the University. The Hope Hunt Scholarship was established in her honour by alumna and friends. It is awarded annually to a graduate of Home Economics, Nutrition and Dietetics, Family Studies or Consumer Studies who is pursing graduate studies at the University. Dr. Hunt died in 1995.

Edith Rowles Simpson, BHSc, MSc, EdD, LLD, PDt (1965-1972)

Dr. Edith Rowles Simpson pursued teacher training in Saskatoon and taught in rural schools prior to attending the University of Saskatchewan. She graduated in 1932, receiving the Rutter Prize as the most distinguished graduate in Household Science. She went on to receive the MSc from the University of Wisconsin and a Doctor of Education from Columbia University. Her academic career at the University of Saskatchewan began in 1932 and included appointments in the Department of Women’s Work, the College of Agriculture, University Dean of Women and the College of Home Economics, first as lecturer in the 1930ies and then Assistant Professor in 1950. She became Dean in 1965. Dr. Simpson provided early leadership and guidance to Homemakers’ Clubs and 4-H Clubs and continued her service to Saskatchewan homes throughout her years as a faculty member. Her academic specialty was Food Science and she conducted research on the preservation and use of cultivated and native fruits of Saskatchewan, and the freezing of vegetables most suitable for prairie gardens. In 1964, she published the highly regarded book “Home Economics in Canada: Prologue to Change.” She received numerous honours and awards from the Canadian Home Economics Association, the Canadian Dietetic Association, the 4-H Council, and the College of Home Economics and was named a fellow of the Saskatchewan Home Economics Association.

At the time of Dr. Simpson’s retirement in 1972, the Edith Rowles Simpson Lecture was established in her honour by alumni, colleagues and friends, and she was awarded the title of Dean Emerita. Dr. Simpson was inducted into the Saskatchewan Agriculture Hall of Fame in 1981. In 1987, she was appointed a member of the Order of Canada, an honour which recognizes those who exemplify the highest qualities of citizenship and whose contributions enrich the lives of others. The University of Saskatchewan awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Laws in October 1993, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to homes, families and education in Saskatchewan. Dr. Simpson died in 1997.

Marjorie Guilford, BSc(HEc), MA (1972, 1974-1976)

Marjorie (Madge) Guildford studied at the University of Manitoba, where she received the Bachelor of Science degree and the Diploma of Education. She went on to Columbia University for the Master of Arts Degree. Prior to joining the College in 1956, she lectured in Home Economics at Macdonald Institute, Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph and at Macdonald College, McGill University. Her area of specialization was Clothing and Textiles, with a special interest in the history of costume. She taught a number of courses in these areas. Professor Guilford was an active member of professional associations, and served in many leadership capacities. She was Assistant Dean of the College, and then Acting Dean in 1972 and from 1974-76. This was a period of self-evaluation and change, and Professor Guilford’s warmth and dedication were of great help to many.

The College was saddened by Professor Guilford’s death in 1978 while on Sabbatical Leave in England. Colleagues, friends and students contributed to a fund in her memory, and two undergraduate Book Prizes and the Guildford Library of Historic Costume were established in her honour. The Guilford family contributed Madge’s historic costume collections of books and doll to the University. Please see Home Economics Alumni Contacts and Services for information on the collections.

Helen Abell, BA(HSc), MSc, PhD (1973-74)

Dr. Helen Abell was an internationally recognized rural sociologist. She studied at the Macdonald Institute, Ontario Agricultural College, and at the University of Toronto, from which she received the Bachelor of Household Science degree. She went on to Cornell University for the Master of Science degree in Home Economics and a PhD in rural sociology, with minors in agricultural economics and home economics education. Upon graduation, Dr. Abell moved back to Canada to head the Rural Sociology Research Unit for the federal Department of Agriculture. She later held teaching positions at the Ontario Agricultural College and the University of Waterloo. While working with the Department of Agriculture and various universities, she completed a number of overseas projects for the Canadian International Development Agency, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the Food and Agricultural Organization. She also spent four years with the Canadian Women’s Army Corps during World War II and a year as the Social Affairs Officer, Community Development Group for the United Nations. Dr Abell joined the University of Saskatchewan as Dean of Home Economics in 1973.

Dr. Abell left the University in 1974 to re-enter the international field, and led a two-year agricultural and economic project in Indonesia. She went on to publish numerous studies and was a well-known speaker and consultant. She passed away in 2005.

Douglas L. Gibson, MBE, BSA, MS, PhD (1976-81)

Dr. Gibson received the Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Manitoba and Master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Minnesota. He served in the Canadian Army as Nutrition Advisor and was honored with membership in the Order of the British Empire for his work on the development of a high protein milk supplement to increase protein intake of the injured. In 1946, Dr. Gibson joined the College of Agriculture. He served as head of the Dairy and Food Science Department from 1948-1976. His research resulted in the publication of more than 50 scientific papers. He was keenly interested in improving nutrition in developing countries. International work included service with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Canadian International Development Agency, working in India, Uganda, Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland. From 1970-1981, he was Technical Secretary for the International Dairy Education Centre in Copenhagen. He was Nutrition Advisor to the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association and produced the first comprehensive report on feeding in logging camps. He became Dean of Home Economics in 1976, and graduates recount with affection his support of students and student activities.

Dr. Gibson completed the term as Dean in 1981 and retired from the University in 1982. At the time of his death, that same year, he was working with a Canadian Executive Service Overseas project in Egypt. In 1983, the College recognized Dean Gibson’s commitment to students by establishing the Douglas L. Gibson Award. It was presented annually to the Home Economics student, and now Nutrition student, with the greatest academic improvement between second and third years.

Thomas J. Abernathy, BA, MA, PhD (1981-82)

Dr. Abernathy is a graduate of the University of Oregon, from which he received a Bachelor of Science degree in social psychology. He studied at Southern Oregon College, receiving a Master of Science degree in sociology, and at the University of Georgia from which he was awarded a PhD in social psychology. Prior to moving to the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Abernathy held academic positions at the University of Georgia, St. Bonaventure University, the University of Oregon and the University of British Columbia. He joined the College in 1980 to assist in developing a new program in family and consumer studies and to teach courses in these areas. He was appointed Dean in 1981.

Dr. Abernathy left the University in 1982 to accept a position in Alberta. He is currently Director of the Central West Health Planning Information Network, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and an Associate Professor in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster University. His research involves social structure and health, policy analysis and the social-psychology of health behaviour. He has carried out major longitudinal evaluations of the federal PAL smoking prevention program, a national HIV/AIDS prevention initiative among injection drug users, and the Ontario Tobacco Control Act.

Howard R. Nixon, BPE, MS, PED (1982)

Dr. Nixon received the BPE from the University of British Columbia, and Master’s and doctorate degrees from Indiana University. He returned to Saskatoon to join the School of Physical Education. He went on to become its Director and was instrumental in the formation of the College of Physical Education. He became the College’s first Acting Dean in 1972 and was Dean from 1974-77. Dr. Nixon served for one year as Acting Dean of the College of Home Economics in 1982. He provided valued support to the faculty and staff during this period of transition, and encouraged students to pursue enriching experiences.

Dr. Nixon returned to the College of Physical Education and went on to become Assistant Vice-President Student Affairs and Services. Dr. Nixon retired from the University in 1992 and was awarded the designation of Professor Emeritus. In 2000, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, in recognition of his outstanding achievements and service. The investiture citation reads: “He has dedicated his life to physical education and fitness for young Canadians. He has coached football, wrestling, swimming, volleyball, gymnastics and boxing at the community, high school and university levels. Deeply committed to Canada's young people, he was also one of the founders of Katimavik, a national youth program that encourages personal, social and professional development.” In 2000, Dr. Nixon was conferred Honorary Alumni Member of the University of Saskatchewan for the many positive contributions he has made.

Gwenna M. Moss, BScHEc, MS, PhD (1982-86)

Dr. Moss is a graduate of the College of Home Economics. Upon graduation she joined the staff of the University of Saskatchewan's Extension Department as an Extension Specialist doing 4-H Club Work for 7 years. After completing the MS and PhD degrees she rejoined the University, first as Professor of Extension and later as Professor of Continuing Education in the College of Education. She became Dean of Home Economics in 1982 and held this position until 1986. During her academic career, Dr. Moss taught graduate courses in adult and continuing education and research methods, and undergraduate courses in history, professional development and research methods in home economics. Her research and publications focussed on evaluation, needs assessment, women academics, distance education, and women in developing countries. She was appointed Associate Vice-President Academic in 1986 and Acting Vice-President Academic in 1990. She assumed responsibility for the University's instructional development program in 1992 and laid the foundation for the University’s Centre for Teaching Effectiveness. The Centre was renamed the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness in her honour. Dr. Moss retired from the University as Professor Emerita in 2004 and resides in Winnipeg.

Dr. Moss’s accomplishments and community service have been recognized with many awards, including the United Way's W.S. Milne Memorial Award for the Outstanding United Way Volunteer, University of Saskatchewan Alumni Association Award of Achievement and Saskatchewan Association for Lifelong Learning Roby Kidd Award. In 2007, as part of the University’s Centennial celebrations, she was named one of the 100 U of S alumni who have made “profound and lasting contributions to our University and the world in which we live.”

Eva Lee (Kwok), BSc, MSc (1986-88)

Eva Lee was born in Malaysia and received the BSc and MSc from the University of London, prior to moving to Canada to work as Chief Dietitian at the Trail Tadanac Hospital in British Columbia. She joined the College of Home Economics in 1968, and taught classes in basic and advanced nutrition, diet therapy and community nutrition. Her research interests and resulting publications included topics such as the role of nutrition in sports, additives in infant food, food fads and fallacies and strategies for teaching seniors about nutrition. She developed an audiovisual presentation and manual for SaskSport on the nutritional needs of athletes and originated the directed the very successful “Seniors Teaching Seniors.” This community project involved seniors instructing their peers about nutrition, the use of medications and consumer issues. Students greatly appreciated her spirited enthusiasm for her field and her work. She lectured and consulted widely. Professor Lee was appointed Dean of Home Economics in 1986 and during her tenure initiated a Community Nutrition Internship Program and an exchange program between the College and King’s College, University of London.

Dean Lee resigned from the University in 1988 to become Vice-President of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and later President and CEO of the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology. She is currently Chair and CEO of Amara International Investment Corp. in Vancouver and holds positions as director with a number of boards of national and international corporations.

Margaret Crowle, BSc(HEc), MSc (1988-1990)

Professor Crowle received the BSc in Home Economics and MSc in Nutrition from the University of Manitoba. She worked as a researcher, Dietitian, Extension specialist, freelance Home Economist and Sessional Lecturer in the College prior to joining the faculty in 1976. She taught in the areas of family finance and consumer studies and guided senior students in community field placements. She has over 40 papers and technical reports to her credit. An active leader with the Consumer’s Association of Canada, she received the 1982 Consumer Award of Merit from the Saskatchewan Government. Professor Crowle was appointed Dean of Home Economics in 1988 and shepherded the College and its students with care and consideration during the period prior to the closure in 1990.

Following her retirement from the University, Dean Crowle kept in touch with faculty, staff and graduates, contributing to University Homecomings and special events. She was an expert witness for Court of Queen’s Bench Saskatchewan and a bankruptcy counselor. She continued her active role with the Consumers’ Association of Canada and worked to draft legislation for new Consumer Protection and Funeral and Cremation Services Acts. She was board member with many advocacy, standards and government organizations, and served as Chair of the Postal Service Customer Council, charter member of the USA/Canada Association of Financial Counselling and Planning Education and Director of the Saskatchewan Better Business Bureau. Her outstanding contributions to the community, the province and her profession have been recognized through the Saskatchewan Centennial Leadership Award, Women’s Hall of Fame Award, Prime of Life Achievement Award and Canadian Home Economics Association Honour Award. In 2005, she moved to Sidney, BC.

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