Alumni of Honour Award: Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) McGregor | Alumni | University of Guelph

Alumni of Honour Award: Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) McGregor

Mark Lautens

Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) McGregor, C.M.
DVM '87

Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) McGregor is an internationally recognized woman in science and champion of gender analysis, diversity and ethics in science and leadership. Graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) in 1987, Betsy founded the World Women’s Veterinary Association sponsoring field projects supporting rural women and children globally and illustrating the power of indigenous and local knowledge systems.

Overseas, Betsy worked in Asia and Europe with the UN-FAO. At Industry Canada and Agriculture Canada, she focused on food safety, food security and ethics in biotechnology. Her work culminated in the Head of Public Service Award and a Fellowship in Ethics, Science and Governance at Harvard Medical School.  

Betsy’s expertise was highlighted in UNESCO’s World Science Report as a co-author of its inaugural chapter, “The Gender Dimension of Science”. She wrote a Commonwealth Secretariat “Guidebook on Mainstreaming Gender” and was Director of Studies for the UN Commission on Science and Technology Gender Working Group, tabling its declaration at the UN Fourth World Conference in Beijing. In Canada, Betsy served as Deputy Director of The Gender Institute at Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Betsy – and athlete – has summited two of the world’s Seven Summits, walked El Camino and, closer to home, coached Special Olympics Soccer in Peterborough, Ontario. An advocate of diversity in leadership, Betsy founded the APEC Women Leader’s Network, served on Harvard Kennedy School Women’s Leadership Board, SHAD Board and ran twice for Parliament. To inspire, equip and empower future leaders, Betsy interviewed 95 pathbreakers for her book “Women on the Ballot: Pathways to Political Power” featuring former Prime Minister Kim Campbell, the Honorable Flora MacDonald, and powerful personal stories across party lines at all political levels including Indigenous leaders.

In December 2021, Dr. McGregor – a trailblazer for women in public service and veterinary medicine – was awarded the Order of Canada in recognition of her promotion of women in science and for her commitment to nurturing Canada’s next generation of health leaders. While Betsy’s years of impressive accomplishments undoubtedly secured her as the 2022 University of Guelph Alumni Association’s Alumni of Honour, it is her integrity, abiding belief in the good of others and love of her family and country that solidified Betsy’s legacy as an inspiration to us all.



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