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Human Ecology Faculty Marks Centennial In 2010

“Home economists and human ecologists have done some outstanding things through the years and have assisted and helped change society.”


Photos and stories are sought for the 2010 centennial

Any materials persons wish to submit can be mailed to: The Home Economics and Human Ecology 100th Anniversary, c/o 596 Patricia Avenue R3T 3A6 Winnipeg, Man. To register for the September 11 centennial kickoff, or for more information on centennial planning please log on to: telephone 204-474-7045 or e-mail [email protected]

Celebrations marking a century of home economics in Manitoba kick off this fall in a lead-up event to the next year’s faculty of human ecology’s 100th anniversary.

A centennial pathway of inscribed bricks and a banner will be unveiled Sept. 11 during a 5 p. m. to 8 p. m. evening event that also includes a presentation on the faculty’s history by Associate Dean Michael Eskin, a fashion show courtesy of the Costume Museum of Canada and samplings of made-in-Manitoba foods.

The University of Manitoba’s faculty of human ecology traces its beginnings to a diploma program offered in Household Sciences beginning in 1910 at the Manitoba Agricultural College.

It came about as women of the day demanded that they too should have opportunity for higher education, said Elaine Adam, a former faculty graduate now co-chairing the 2010 events committee.

As well, a 1900 royal commission under then Manitoba premier R. P. Roblin was, at that time, also calling for the creation of an agricultural college “to prepare men for agricultural pursuits” and for the education of young women as their “expert and competent helpmates.”

The first diploma courses were offered in household science at the Manitoba Agricultural College, and moved when it did in 1913 to its present-day location on the Fort Garry campus.

Name changes over the years meant graduates earned degrees variously in the division of home economics, the school of home economics, or departments of food and nutrition and clothing and textiles, until home economics was finally granted official faculty status in 1970. It became the present-day faculty of human ecology in 1981.

It is those thousands upon thousands of graduates they’re now hoping to reach and invite to attend both this fall’s kickoff and next year’s four-day centennial events, says Adam.

Next year’s celebrations, to be held September 23 to 26, will include campus tours, special receptions and events that honour and bring focus to the unique roles home economists played in the development of the province of Manitoba.

They want to give special recognition to those who worked for Manitoba Hydro over the years, said Adam.

“Many home economics graduates have worked for Hydro,” she added.


A book honouring this province’s extension home economists is also being prepared for 2010. It is being written by former director of extension with the Department of Agriculture, Betty Burwell, Adam noted. Hundreds of graduates were employed as District Home Economists with the former Department of Agriculture’s Extension Service during the last century, and their work with rural families and organizations was instrumental in rural community development.

These include the chapters of the Manitoba Women’s Institute, whose own history and evolution is closely tied to the faculty’s.

The Manitoba Women’s Institute was also founded in 1910 and its first chapters

called Household Science Associations, changing to Home Economics Societies, until 1918 when the MWI adopted its present-day name.

The MWI also plans centennial celebrations of its own for 2010. Special recognition will be given to MWI during their centennial, Adam noted.


Meanwhile, what they’re looking for right now are names of faculty graduates to honour next year too, Adam added.

They want to get nominations of 100 graduates to honour in a special presentation that will recognize the unique and outstanding contributions they have made over the years.

“Home economists and human ecologists have done some outstanding things through the years and have assisted and helped change society,” she said.

“We’re asking graduates to nominate someone who has made a major contribution.”

Home management practice house

Commemorations actually began this past week with an open house held July 24 at the former home management practice house of the faculty.

The house was in use until 1957, after which it became a private residence for university vice-presidents and administrative personnel, then later converted into office facilities.

“The House” is being torn down this summer to make room for the new Art Research Technology laboratories on the University of Manitoba’s campus.

Those attending the 2010 centennial will see a documentary now being prepared on the practice house, noted Adam.

“People are now being interviewed and they’re gathering together information and materials and pictures from the house for it,” she said.

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About the author


Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.



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