The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain

Doctor of Letters, honoris causa

Today, Cape Breton University confers the degree Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, on a true Canadian icon who has given time, treasure and talent to many organizations and charities across the country and who has dedicated her life’s work to the education, music and arts sector, The Honourable Margaret McCain.

Biography

Photo of The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain

The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain was born October 1, 1934, in northern Quebec. Her father was a prominent mining engineer in the early days of the Quebec gold mining industry, and her mother was Senator Margaret Norrie of Truro, Nova Scotia.

Mrs. McCain received her early education in public and private schools in Quebec, Nova Scotia and Ontario. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours in History from Mount Allison University, Sackville, N.B., and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Toronto. She has been presented with Honorary Degrees from a number of prominent Canadian universities.

Throughout her career, Mrs. McCain has been active in organizations that promote education, music and the arts at the provincial and national levels. She was a member of the Mount Allison University Board of Regents from 1974-1994 and served as Chancellor of the University from 1986-1994. She is a founding member of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation in New Brunswick, which is devoted to the elimination of family violence through public education and research.  Mrs. McCain chaired its capital campaign to endow a Family Violence Research Centre in partnership with the University of New Brunswick.

In 1955, she married entrepreneur Wallace F. McCain of Florenceville, N.B., who died in 2011. They have four children and nine grandchildren.

On April 28, 1994, Margaret Norrie McCain was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of New Brunswick – the first female to hold this position. She served in that role until April 1997. At that time, she moved to Toronto to re-join her family.

Margaret McCain was a member of the Board of the National Ballet School for 18 years serving as Board Chair from 1998 to 2000. She then went on to Chair the school’s successful $100 million fundraising campaign. She is currently Chair of the Margaret & Wallace McCain Family Foundation. The mission of this Foundation is to champion effective early childhood programs across Canada; programs that provide equal opportunities for all children, align with the school system and operate within a provincial or territorial framework.

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