Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour: Her Vision, Leadership and Legacy
With great sadness, the WinSETT Centre announces the passing of its Chair, Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour on May 25, 2019 in Edmonton. Dr. Armour was a great inspiration to girls and women in science, engineering, trades and technology, and she has left us with a strong foundation of work to continue.
For almost forty years, Dr. Armour has been Canada’s premier ambassador of women in science, volunteering tirelessly to raise national awareness among school-age girls, students, educators, parents and employers of the importance of encouraging women to enter science and engineering.
Dr. Armour was born in Scotland and received her BSc and MSc from Edinburgh University. In 1970, she graduated from the University of Alberta with a PhD in physical organic chemistry. She joined the University of Alberta’s Chemistry faculty in 1979 and has been Associate Dean of Science for Diversity since 2005. Her contributions to science in the handling, recycling and disposing of hazardous chemical waste are well known around the world.
As one of the few women in her discipline, she was struck by the need to encourage more women to become involved, not just to change the discipline but also to open the range of opportunities available to them. In 1981, she founded Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology (WISEST) at the University of Alberta.
In 2009, Dr. Armour led a group of women to found the Canadian Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology (WinSETT Centre). WinSETT Centre takes a national focus on advocating for women’s full inclusion in science, engineering, trades and technology workplaces and fosters links between academic, industry, governments, associations, unions, and non-governmental organizations.
In recognition of her numerous outreach and leadership activities, Dr. Armour has received many awards. In 1994, she was recognized with the McNeil Medal of the Royal Society of Canada. In 1996 she was honoured with the 3M Teaching Fellowship, Canada’s premier award for undergraduate teaching. In 2002 she received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. In 2005 Dr. Armour received the Montreal Medal, Chemical Institute of Canada. In 2006 she was named a member of the Order of Canada. In 2011, she was honoured with the Innovator Award at the APEC Summit on Women in the Economy. She has received the Alberta Science and Technology Leadership Awards Foundation Special Award. On May 22, 2018, Dr. Armour was presented with the Chemistry Institute of Canada 2018 Chemistry Education Award.
In 2003, Maclean’s Magazine named Dr. Armour one of Ten Canadians Making a Difference and she was twice named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network. During Edmonton’s centenary celebrations, Dr. Armour was named one of the 100 Edmontonians of the Century.
Dr. Armour holds Honourary Doctorate in Science degrees from the University of British Columbia (2008), University of Alberta (2013), Memorial University of Newfoundland (2015), and her alma mater the University of Edinburgh (2016), and an Honourary Doctorate in Law from Concordia University of Edmonton (2019). She received an Honourary B.Tech. Degree from NAIT in 2011 and an Honourary B.A. and a Distinguished Citizen Award from MacEwan University in 2012. Dr. Armour was a 2004 recipient of the University of Alberta Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Dr. Armour was the Honourary Chair of CCWESTT 2018 – the biennial conference of the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology – in Edmonton where she was also presented with an Honourary Life Membership in CCWESTT .
As Associate Dean of Diversity for the University of Alberta Faculty of Science, Dr. Armour developed and implemented Project Catalyst, a series of actions to increase the percentage of women in faculty positions in the Faculty of Science. Based on her work, both the University of Western Ontario and the University of British Columbia have instituted similar programs.
In recognition of Dr. Armour’s exemplary contributions to the community and lifelong dedication to learning, the Edmonton Public School Board bestowed its highest honour on her, naming one of its newest schools in her honour. The Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour School opened in 2016 in Edmonton’s Ambleside community to serve students in kindergarten through grade 9, and was named to serve as inspiration for the 600 students and teachers who will roam its halls.