Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Storydello: AP Knight & the Women's Medical College

Archie never stopped learning. While serving as the headmaster of the Collegiate Institute, he published a high school chemistry textbook, and started taking medical courses at Queen's. He smoothed the way for the first women students to attend the medical college at Queen's, and stood up for them when they were harrassed by male students and professors.

In 1883 he led a meeting at Kingston City Hall, arguing eloquently that Canadian women should not be obliged to go to Britain or the United States to get their medical degrees. He proposed that a Women's Medical College be set up in Kingston. This was a daring idea in those days, but it was unanimously accepted, and Archie agreed to serve as registrar of the new college.

In the Spring of 1884 the first four women graduated. It was the first class of Canadian-born-and-educated women to graduate from a Canadian university. They were "capped and hooded 'midst much applause." Archie played down his role in their success, but the women would always remember him for his support and his "chivalrous and kindly respect for women."

Posted today on Storydello.