ALES mourns loss of former dean

(Edmonton) A teacher, mentor and guide to many, Doris Badir, former dean of the Faculty of Home Economics, died June 7 at the age of 87.

An expert in home and family issues who extended her care to everyone around her, Badir was born in Dominion City, Manitoba, in 1924. She attended the University of Manitoba and received a degree in home economics. She went on to earn a master’s degree in education from Syracuse University, as well as a master’s in home economics from the London School of Economics.

Badir spent 20 years at the  U of A, starting out as a sessional instructor in 1967 and eventually becoming dean.

“She was very well respected as a dean by all of us,” said Nancy Kerr, one of Badir’s many colleagues who held her in high regard. “She was fair and treated us with respect.”

Kerr first met Badir when she attended the University of Guelph, where Badir was the Dean of Women and a lecturer in child development and family life. Little did Kerr know that the two of them would meet again and be working together many years later at the U of A.

In 1986, Badir left her post as dean to be a special assistant on employment equity to then-president Myer Horowitz.

“I believe she had a real impact on equity issues,” said Betty Crown, who served as Badir’s associate dean for two years. “Without her influence we would not have the level of equality that we do at the U of A.”

Crown remembered her colleague and friend as always being “very understanding of people, well-spoken, and just very, very caring.”

“Doris was very active. As a leader, she always has been. Always wanting to help women and family and children have as good a life as possible,” Kerr said, referring to her many roles outside of the academic world.

Badir was the president of the Canadian Home Economics Association for two years, as well as the International Federation for Home Economics for four. She also spent two years in Cairo working as a home economics expert for the UN, where she met her husband Magdy.

She earned multiple honorary degrees from several Canadian institutions, and an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the University of Helsinki, showing that her influence had no bounds. As a result of her efforts with the UN, 1994 was designated as the International Year of the Family.