Friday, April 26, 2013

Carrie Matilda Derick (1862 – 1941)

Carrie Matilda Derick was a Canadian botanist and the first female professor in a Canadian University.

Born in Clarenceville, Quebec on January 14th, Carrie was educated at the Clarenceville Academy and received her teacher training at the McGill Normal School. She was a school teacher in Clarenceville and Montreal. In 1890, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University, graduating at the top of her class in natural science with First Rank Honours. In 1896, she received a Master of Arts degree from McGill. She was then appointed as a full-time demonstrator at McGill, since the University refused to appoint her to the higher position of lecturer. She was the first female instructor at McGill.

In 1901, she attended the University of Bonn and completed the research required for a Ph.D. but was not awarded one since the University did not give Ph.D. degrees to women at the time. Derick also studied at Harvard, the Royal Academy of Science in England, and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts.

She was appointed a full professor by McGill in 1912, becoming the first woman in Canada to achieve university professorship. She introduced the teaching of evolution and genetics to McGill.

She was also a leader in early feminism, fighting for women's right, education, the vote, and work.

Derick died in 1941 in Montreal, Quebec.

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