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In Memory of Doris Dyke: Trailblazer

Nov. 09, 2021

It is with sadness that Emmanuel College announces the passing of Dr. Doris Jean (Scott) Dyke on October 8, 2021. Dr. Dyke joined the College in 1977 where she taught Christian education until her retirement in 1995. Not only was she the first woman to join the faculty of a theological college of the United Church of Canada but she was the first woman appointed full-professor at a protestant seminary in Canada. Prior to Emmanuel, Dyke studied at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University. Her first teaching appointments were at the University of Saskatchewan and St. Andrew’s.

As an educator, Dyke loved to share her expertise in the areas of educational ministry, faith, and the arts and feminist theology. Her love of art was brought to the fore when she was a member of Bloor Street Church. She was on its worship and arts committees, and was instrumental in bringing the Crucified Woman sculpture to Bloor Street in 1979. And then, as a member of Victoria University’s art committee, she encouraged the committee to accept an offer of this sculpture by artist Almuth Lutkenhaus. The sculpture is on display it outside of Emmanuel’s back entrance. The installation was not without controversy but Dyke strongly believed art can open up new ways to see the world.

Dyke’s colleague and friend, Joan Wyatt Emm 8T6, tells an anecdote that shows off Dyke’s personality. Says Wyatt, “Upon joining Emmanuel College, Doris was welcomed by the president of Victoria University. He told her that there were no faculty washrooms for women at Emmanuel College and that she would have to walk over to Old Vic. Doris, likely, fixed the president with her penetrating, most thoughtful gaze, took an intake of breath, raised an eyebrow and observed, ‘But the faculty washroom, in the faculty lounge right next door to my office, is just a single is it not? And it has a lock does it not?’

The president conceded both points. Then, no doubt flashing her characteristically warm and gracious smile, Doris cheerfully said, ‘Oh well, that’s fine. I’m happy to use the Emmanuel College faculty washroom.’ And she did.

And so began Doris’ time of stirring things up as the first female faculty member at Emmanuel College.”

If you would like to make a donation in memory of Doris Jean visit Dr. Doris Jean Dyke Scholarship. The scholarship provides support to students interested in advancing knowledge about the arts as an expression of faith. 

Doris Dyke

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