U of S celebrates 100th anniversary of first female Aboriginal graduate

As the first Métis and Aboriginal woman to graduate from the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), Annie Maude (Nan) McKay helped pave the way for the more than 360 Métis and First Nation students who will walk across the stage this spring to receive their degree at the U of S.

By James Shewaga
"The story of Nan McKay reminds us all that the participation of Aboriginal people is a long-standing tradition at the University of Saskatchewan," said Candace Wasacase-Lafferty, director of First Nation and Métis engagement at the U of S. "Aboriginal people have contributed to the university's sense of identity and cultural groundings."

McKay was born in 1892 at Fort à la Corne, Sask., and began her education at home and later at St. Alban's Ladies' College in Prince Albert where she was awarded a $200 entrance scholarship to the U of S. She was active in the student body, serving as staff artist for The Sheaf, a member of the Students Representative Council, vice-president of the sorority Pente Kai Deka, secretary of the campus YWCA and corresponding secretary of the Literacy Society.

After graduating with a BA in 1915, McKay was hired as an assistant librarian at the University Library where she worked in numerous roles until her retirement in 1959. During the flu epidemic of 1918, she worked as a volunteer nurse and is honoured on a commemorative plaque in a stairwell in the Peter MacKinnon Building.

"I am certain that the legacy of Nan McKay will continue to inspire the next 100 years of Aboriginal student success," said Wasacase-Lafferty.

In 2007, McKay was selected as one of the University of Saskatchewan's 100 Alumni of Influence.

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For more information, contact:
James Shewaga
Media Relations Specialist
University of Saskatchewan
(306) 966-1851