Morag MacNeil Scholarship

Morag MacNeil

This scholarship was established in honour and memory of Morag MacNeil. It will be awarded annually to a third or fourth year Department of Psychology student who has financial need and academic ability. Morag was always an advocate for UVic students.

Morag Margaret MacNeil was born in Shanghai, China, on November 12, 1948. In 1949, fleeing the Communist takeover of Shanghai, her family emigrated to BC. Morag was proud of her Japanese, Swiss-French, Dutch and Scottish heritage. She had a very happy childhood in Vernon, where she had many friends, belonged to Brownies and Girl Guides, taught Sunday School, and excelled in school. Morag joined the McIntosh Girls Pipe Band, and so began her lifelong love affair with the bagpipes.

Morag enrolled at UVic in 1967, and with a group of friends took up residence in the SUB and majored in bridge. In keeping with the spirit of the time, she dropped out in 1970. She began working at UVic in 1971—the start of a 42-year career. Beginning as an antiquarian bibliographic checker, she then worked as a stenographer in the Department of Mathematics, then secretary to UVic’s first Law Librarian, Miss Diana Priestly. In 1980, she moved to the Department of Psychology, where she managed the office (and faculty!) for more than 20 years. Morag was often referred to as “Princess Quite A Lot,” because there wasn’t any problem she couldn’t solve. Her door was always open, and she took a special interest in helping Psychology students, many of whom became life-long friends.

Never one to leave a task unfinished, Morag resumed her UVic studies (while working full-time), and in 1994 was awarded a major in Psychology with distinction, a mere 27 years later.

Morag joined the Office of the University Secretary in 2005, serving as administrative manager for 10 years. She was active in many organizations on campus over the years, serving on committees such as Gender and Sexual Diversity, Strategic Planning, Bargaining, and Faculty and Executive Search Committees. She was a member of the University Club and the UVic Whisky Club, where she often piped in the haggis at the Robbie Burns supper. Morag was an active member of the UVic community; everybody at UVic knew her.

After she retired in 2016, Morag stayed busy: she was in book clubs; played in the Saanich Peninsula Pipe Band; sailed the BC coastal waters with her husband Stephen; played bridge; did yoga; skied; attended the opera, dance and theatre; travelled; and enjoyed cooking, sewing and gardening. She volunteered with a seniors support group, was a member of the Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club and belonged to the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society.

Throughout her life Morag had a boundless capacity for friendship. She was a tremendously empathic listener and accepted people as they were. She was also funny as hell, and a world-class laugher. Morag had endured cancer several times in her life, as far back as 1993. She was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer in February 2019, which progressed so quickly that many plans and dreams were left unaccomplished. Taken from us too soon, Morag died on April 27, 2019.

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