Sheila Barshay Goldbloom '47

Honorary Degree Citation

May 23, 2010

Sheila Barshay Goldbloom, class of 1947, your alma mater is pleased to honor you for your lifetime of tireless service to the people of Québec, especially in your adopted home of Montréal. After graduating from Mount Holyoke in 1947, you worked first for the League of Women Voters in New York, where you learned first-hand that individuals can make a difference in their communities. You and your husband Victor settled in Montréal shortly thereafter, where you went to work for the YWCA, addressing the problems faced by young women who had moved to the city from rural Québec. After three children, you returned to school at McGill School of Social Work and, on the award of your M.S.W., were invited to join the faculty, where you remained for the next 28 years. 

At McGill, you launched innovative courses in community organization and industrial social work, and were a model and guide to a generation of community activists. Your teaching and volunteer commitments with organizations like Centraide; the Red Feather Foundation; Big Brothers, Big Sisters; and Meals on Wheels have all focused on bridging social and ethnic differences--between English and French-speaking peoples, between Christians and Jews, and between the privileged and the poor. You were head of the Women's Commission of the International Council of Christians and Jews.

Québec’s government has long consulted you on policy matters involving social welfare. In 2007, you cochaired a commission to study the living conditions of seniors throughout the province. Thus, at the age of 81, you traveled across Québec to collect the testimonies of elderly citizens in order to support government actions to improve their lives. In recognition of your many accomplishments, you have received numerous awards, the most notable of which, in 2008, is the Order of Québec, the highest honor in the province. Sheila Barshay Goldbloom, in your lifelong dedication to purposeful engagement in the world, you are a true daughter of Mary Lyon. It is my pleasure to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.