When the history of Victoria University's second century is written, and a list is made of alumni who had the greates national impact, Pauline McGibbon will join Pearson and Frye near the top. An entire column in Who's Who is required to list her accomplishments, and "first woman" appears nine times - "first woman chancellor of U of T," "first woman director of IBM," and, of course, "first woman Lieutenant-Governor in the Commonwealth." Literary critic and long-time friend Northrup Frye once described McGibbon as "a precedent-breaker: her career is peppered with the phrase 'first woman,' as though she were Ontario's Eve."
In 1935, Pauline Mills (Vic 1933) married her childhood sweetheart, Donald McGibbon (Vic 1932). Like Don, Pauline volunteered for Victoria in numerous roles for over fifty years. She served as alumnae president in 1944 and, in 1986, was alumni co-chair for the Renewing the Heritage campaign. Despite her association with a wide variety of organizations, Victoria remained Pauline's first love. Two Vic scholarships and one bursary bear her name.
"In Pauline McGibbon, we had the supreme example of someone who was committed to voluntarism," commented her good friend, Victoria president emeritus, A.B.B. Moore. "Her voluntarism was an expression of loyalty, and whereever you look in the many-faceted life she lived, she gave herself with enthusiasm and grace, a supreme example of the volunteer spirit."
Ruth (Manning) Alexander (Vic 1950), former board of Regents chair, knew her as a pioneer, an example to the women of her generation. "She was always an inspiration, and also had the happy ability to make younger colleagues feel their contribution was worthwhile. That great big laugh, or the realy joy she showed when meeting an old acquaintance, made every encounter with her memorable."
In death, as in life, Pauline McGibbon probed to be a dedicated supporter of Victoria's future. McGibbon left her entire estate, valued at over $1 million, to the students of Victoria COllege. her far-sighted bequest will add to the extraordinary legacy that has been left to us by her life's work.