Saunders, Doris B.

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Saunders, Doris B.

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  • Saunders, Doris Boyce

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Doris Boyce Saunders was born in Winnipeg on November 16th, 1901. She graduated from Kelvin High School in 1917. Saunders then enrolled at the University of Manitoba. In 1921, she graduated with Gold Medals in both Philosophy and English. Upon graduation, she began teaching at a rural elementary school before heading to the University of Oxford. After graduating from Oxford with a Diploma of Education in 1923, she taught at both Machray Junior High and Kelvin High School. In 1925, while still teaching, she completed a Master of Arts degree at the University of Manitoba.

The next year, Saunders headed back to the University of Oxford on a Canadian Federation of University Women Traveling Fellowship, intending to enroll in a PhD program. At the time, however, Oxford did not permit women to enter doctorate programs. Undaunted, she enrolled in the Bachelor of Letters program, completing a thesis entitled “Dr. Johnson’s Knowledge of the English of the English Writers Before 1600, Excluding Shakespeare.”

In 1928, Saunders became the first female appointed to the Department of English at the University of Manitoba. In 1941, she was promoted to Assistant Professor and in 1959 became the first female full professor in the Faculty of Arts.

Professor Saunders' involvement in University life did not end in the classroom. From 1933 to 1945 she was the Dean of Junior Women and was the Registrar of University College from 1964 to when she retired in 1968. She was also the guest editor of the 1970 Manitoba Centennial Issue of Mosaic, the interdisciplinary journal published by the University.

Saunders was a long time member of the University Women’s Club and served as its president from 1943 to 1945. In 1957, she received an honourary LL.D from the University of British Columbia. The University of Manitoba also conferred an honourary LL.D upon Professor Saunders in 1994. Doris Saunders passed away in Winnipeg on May 3, 2001.


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Created by Leah Morton (August 2003). Revised by N. Courrier (September 2019).




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