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Margaret Cathcart

Margaret Cathcart, BA'39, and her daughter Barbara Cathcart.
Margaret Cathcart, BA'39, MEd’73, and her daughter Barbara Cathcart.

Margaret Cathcart, BA’39, MEd’73, marks her 70th anniversary from McGill. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Margaret and her family moved to Montreal, where she later became one of the 200 women at McGill's Royal Victoria College. Since graduating, Margaret has been an active alumna, fraternity sister and loyal donor to McGill's Annual Fund.


"McGill has been a part of my whole life," explains Margaret, from her home in Toronto, where she now resides. "When we first moved to Montreal, we lived downtown and McGill became my playground. I would ski on the hill, skate at the rink and play at the tennis courts. In those days, you didn't move far from home."

As a student at McGill, she immersed herself into student life and became part of a tight knit community with the other women of RVC.

"There were just 200 of us and fraternities (now called sororities) were a big part of our life," recalls Margaret, saying she kept in touch with most of her fellow 'sisters' at the various McGill reunions over the course of the last seventy years.

Following graduation, Margaret accepted a position at the Bank of Montreal, where a shortage of men fighting in the Second World War meant temporary opportunities for women. She started her career as a filing clerk and quickly climbed the ranks to as high a position a woman could achieve in those days, which was advising on foreign exchange policies in Ottawa during the War. The Bank sent Margaret to London in 1946 and in 1948, after nine years as a career woman, she married. But when she returned from her honeymoon, Margaret was shocked to find her job of close to a decade had been given away.

"That's when I became a feminist," she says, matter-of-factly.

Margaret spent the next 11 years as a stay-at-home mom for her three children, but after speaking to an old classmate, she learned there was a shortage of school teachers for all the new babyboomers in Montreal. With her husband's encouragement, she returned to McGill to complete her Master’s in Education. After graduation, she took up her next career teaching 7th graders and eventually becoming head of the Guidance Department at a local high school.

Margaret cherishes her experience at McGill and to this day, continues to generously give back to the University.

The Faculty of Arts wishes to thank Mrs. Margaret Cathcart for her longstanding commitment to McGill over the years. Her leadership role has made a lasting impact on McGill’s capacity to shape the future of McGill University.