Ritchie, Judith Anne

Degree conferred: Doctor of Science (D.Sc.)

Orator: Patterson, Stephen E.

L to R: Dr. James Downey, Judith Anne Ritchie
Source: Joe Stone fonds-UA RG340, 1989 (#13904B)
to be Doctor of Science

Dr. Judith Ritchie is one of Canada’s leading research scholars in the field of nursing, and -- we might add with more than a touch of pride -- she is a native of New Brunswick and a graduate of this University.

Born in Saint John, Judith Ritchie entered the nursing program at UNB when, under the careful direction of Katherine MacLaggan, it was in its infancy. She was a good student, but more than this -- if we may judge from the number of smiling pictures of her in the 1965 Yearbook -- she was an energetic and well-rounded student. She was president of her house, Lady Dunn, a member of the Amateur Athletic Association, and a varsity swimmer.

But her powerful sense of direction also showed clearly through in her student days. She had always been interested in the nursing care of children, and even as an undergraduate she served as camp nurse for the Rotary Camp for Handicapped Children at Grand Lake. She received her B.N. in 1965 and for a year worked as a general staff nurse at the Montreal Children’s Hospital before returning to UNB as a Lecturer. In 1968, she returned to full-time study at the University of Pittsburgh where she received her M.N. in 1969 and her Ph.D. in 1975, both in the Nursing of Children.

In 1974, she resumed her teaching career at UNB and for four years she assumed primary responsibility for teaching the nursing of children components of third year courses and the research component of third and fourth year courses. In 1978, she went to Dalhousie University as an Associate Professor and she has been there ever since, becoming in due course a full professor and as a joint appointment, the Director of Nursing Research at the Isaac Walton Killam Hospital for Children. Besides her own personal research into the problems children have of coping in hospitals, she is primarily engaged in the master’s program in nursing at Dalhousie.

The richness of her background and her commitment to research together have thrust her into the national limelight. The Canadian Nursing Association invited her to become a member of their Committee on Nursing Research in 1978 and she has remained ever since, serving on two occasions as chair. By 1986, she was recognized as a leader in her profession when she was elected as President-Elect of the C.N.A. and assumed the numerous committee responsibilities that office entails. She is now President of the 100,000-member Canadian Nurses Association, Canada’s leading nurse so to speak, to say nothing of her continuing prominent role at Dalhousie University where she serves on Senate, the Board of Governors, and numerous university-level committees.

How does she do it all? How has she managed to do it and yet remain an active publishing scholar with several research and clinical papers to her credit? Clearly she is a woman of immense energy and commitment. Clearly also her achievements bring honour to this her alma mater and in our own small way we return the compliment by awarding her this second UNB degree in honoris causa.

From: Honoris Causa - UA Case 70, Box 2

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