Saint Mary’s University is celebrating the accomplishments of a prominent Halifax humanitarian and a prolific art curator and historian in the new year with honorary degrees to be conferred at the university’s Winter 2018 convocation ceremony.
Saint Mary’s is pleased to recognize the achievements of:
- Melvin Boutilier, incredible entrepreneur and trailblazer of social enterprise, whose commitment to community has helped two generations of those in need in the greater Halifax Regional Municipality
- Judith Dietz, curator, historian, and Saint Mary’s University alumna, BA’84, MA’07, whose discovery of the Salzinnes Antiphonal at Saint Mary’s Patrick Power Library made national and international headlines and brought a lost relic from over 450 years ago into the public eye.
“We are proud to honour Melvin Boutilier and Judith Dietz, two outstanding individuals who serve as exemplars to our students of how discovery, innovation and community engagement can lead to great accomplishments,” said Saint Mary’s University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray.
Melvin Boutilier was born in a rural community in Nova Scotia on January 29, 1928. He was one of ten children and felt early in life the pain of poverty. After a successful career in government and the construction industry, he took his retirement as an opportunity to fulfill his dream as a volunteer and focus on addressing challenges in the Halifax community. Mr. Boutilier would go on to found a series of successful projects such as the Community Care Network (commonly known as Parker Street Food Bank), the Metro Care and Share Society, a skills development centre, an emergency fund for families in need and the Halifax Scholars Program.
The daughter of the late Robert Dietz, the first director and curator of the Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery, Ms. Dietz was born into the arts. Her passion for art and history brought her to the Nova Scotia Museum of Fine Arts in 1973, the predecessor of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. She would go on to become the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s first Registrar and the Manager of Collections and Gallery Services. In 1999, Ms. Dietz discovered a book in Saint Mary’s Patrick Power Library’s rare book collection, catalogued as a “Roman Catholic Antiphonary.” In 2002, Ms. Dietz identified the book as the Salzinnes Antiphonal, a hand-scribed illuminated choir book dated 1554 and 1555, originating from the Cistercian Abbey of Salzinnes on the outskirts of Namur, Belgium. After its discovery, extensive conservation, and scholarly interpretation, the Antiphonal has become the subject of a major exhibition at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, attracting international audiences.