N.B.: The detail displayed about each honorary degree recipient varies, as
the database was compiled from a variety of sources. However, more information may
be available at the University Archives.
Convocation date: May 20, 1982
Discipline / contribution: community service
Citation / biographical information:
Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of the Council and Senate, I present to you a citation for Mrs. Jean Steer, who is unable to be present today due to illness and is represented here by her daughter, Susan Gibson, and her son, Ronald Steer.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Jean Battersby was born in Broderick, Saskatchewan in 1912, into a family descended from United Empire Loyalists. Six years later, they moved to Hawarden, Saskatchewan, where she received her elementary, secondary, and music education. In 1932, she graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a B.A. Honours degree in French and English and in the following year received her B.Ed. degree with distinction.
An educator in spirit and by vocation, she held teaching posts at Gull Lake, LIoydminster (where she married Paul Steer), and Luther College, Regina, and used her talents to revise the curriculum at her church school.
Leadership ability had manifest itself early in her life. As a student she was the Class of '32 vice-president, a contributor to the Sheaf, Social and Literary Directorate, and the Student Christian movement. In the summers of 1930 and '31, she travelled by family car across the rough roads of rural Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta to publicize and prepare tents for the travelling Chautauqua performances in the fine arts.
In 1939, she joined the University Women's Club, Regina branch, and was eventually its treasurer, vice-president, and president. Her commitment to University education led her to hold positions in the C.F.U.W. culminating in the presidency for the three years from 1976-79. During this time she was responsible for establishing a charitable fund to make secure scholarships, fellowships, and Creative Arts programs; used her ability in French to revitalize the Quebec branch and to consolidate it in the Federation; pursued the cause of Canadian unity relentlessly, presenting a brief to the Pepin-Robart Task Force; was a member of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, organizing the first Regina branch; was actively involved in the International Federation of University Women, strengthening ties with its American counterpart, leading a delegation to the conference in Scotland, and attending the council in Geneva, Switzerland.
Mrs. Steer has always been involved in community health, environmental, and cultural arts groups. Whatever activity engaged her interest received her strong, intelligent, and vigorous support. She served the Regina Symphony Orchestra as chairman of the Women's Association, vice-president for Administration and chairman of the Board of Directors, and she was responsible for raising funds to erase the organization's staggering debt.
The University of Saskatchewan is very dear to Mrs. Steer and she is very proud of the fact that she, her husband, her daughter, her son, her daughter-in-law, and her son-in-law, each hold two degrees from this University, a hope she cherishes for her grandson and granddaughter.
Mr. Chancellor, I present to you the representatives of Mrs. Jean Steer and ask that you confer on her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, in absentia.
Degree presented by: Isabelle Mills, professor of Music
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