In Memory of the Women Who Would Have Been Alumni

To celebrate Victoria’s 175th anniversary, I’d like to honour my Great-Great-Great-Grandmother who should have been a graduate of Victoria University. Here is an excerpt from Ann Eliza McClatchie’s autobiography:

“Hoarded earnings for more education and I resolved to accompany my brother Alfred to Cobourg, whither he was going to take an Arts course at Victoria College, and where I also expected to attend the same college... Accordingly we two started out together on the morning of Aug. 23, 1857, a distance of 250 miles. On the evening of the same day reached our destination in safety. Imagine my feelings of disappointment on being told that the Halls of Victoria College were closed to lady students.”

One hundred twenty-six years later, in 1983, I enrolled in Victoria University, not giving a second thought to the fact that, as a woman, I had the right to a higher education.

Without the benefit of a university degree, Ann Eliza McClatchie went on to become a teacher at a schoolhouse just outside of Cobourg. She then married teacher and farmer, Levi Massey (a first cousin of Hart Massey, a graduate of Victoria College in 1844, and for whom Hart House was named). Ann Eliza and Levi Massey raised five children, on a farm near Belleville.

This is for all the women, like my Great-Great-Great-Grandmother, who, had they lived in another era, would be counted among Victoria’s alumni.

Story submitted by: Anne Adair 8T7

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