2023 Fredericton Encaenia - Ceremony A

Dr. Mary Conley

Doctor of Science (D.Sc.)



Dr. Mary Conley will receive an honorary doctorate of science on the Fredericton campus on Wednesday, May 17. Dr. Conley holds a Bachelor of Science from The University of New Brunswick (1966) and a Doctor of Medicine from The University of British Columbia (1975).

A retired family physician, Dr. Conley is a lifelong political activist for abortion rights, an educator, and an accomplished artist. Through her tenacity, she achieved distinction in each of these areas.

Dr. Conley trained with Dr. Morgentaler in Montreal in 1980, the first doctor outside of Quebec to do so. She worked tirelessly, and under great personal risk to her life, to ensure access to safe abortion services was available on Vancouver Island. In 1984, she was a member of the Physicians for Social Responsibility when the peace organization won the Nobel Prize. She received the Reproductive Health Award from the national organization of women doctors - Federation of Medical Women - in 2011.

In 1996, Dr. Conley won the Victoria YM-YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Health for volunteer service to the community. Two years later, she was voted as a leader by her peers at the University of British Columbia for her influence in the field of education. Teaching has always been one of her passions, and she has taught interns about contraception and gave lectures about women’s health at Camosun College, the University of Victoria, and at community centres. At UNB, she established the Dr. Mary Conley Scholarship, awarded annually to a student entering the Bachelor of Science in Environment and Natural Resources program. In 2014, she received the Proudly UNB Alumni Award of Distinction.

In 2008, Dr. Conley was profiled in Eileen Nason Cambon’s book, Uppity Women We Are: 100-year History of Medical Women in British Columbia (1893-1993). A dedicated author herself, she has written six books - illustrating two of them - The Artistry of Art Deco an illustrated selection of buildings in Greater Victoria is one example, and it won the Hallmark Heritage Award in 2020.

In addition to being an extraordinary physician, Dr. Conley is an accomplished artist.

She attended the Honolulu Academy in Hawaii, the Vancouver School of Art and the Victoria College of Art. Her paintings, sculpture, calligraphy and paper art, for which she received awards and accolades, have been the subject of numerous exhibits and media stories.

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