2005 Mary J. Coyle, BA '78, MA '85 | Alumni | University of Guelph

2005 Mary J. Coyle, BA '78, MA '85

Judy Maddren

Mary J. Coyle
BA '78, MA '85

Mary first came to Guelph to complete an undergraduate degree in languages. Soon after graduation she went to Botswana as a CUSO co-operant with her husband and young children. She later returned to Guelph and completed a master's degree in rural planning in 1984. She has nurtured three wonderful daughters and has welcomed many students and international visitors to their home. The Coyle family also spent two years in Indonesia, where Mary served as rural development adviser for the Sulawesi Regional Development Project.

After returning to Canada, she joined the Calmeadow Foundation as program director, but quickly advanced to the position of executive director with responsibility for both international and domestic programs, including the First People's Fund, which supports small business ventures.

Mary moved to Nova Scotia in 1997 as director of the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University. She has led the institute through eight years of intense expansion, increasing the number of Canada-based programs and intensifying collaborative work with overseas partners. The Coady Institute has graduates and partners in 130 countries, and Mary has helped raise its profile as a leader in sustainable development work. Her role at St. Francis Xavier expanded in 2001 when she was named a university vice-president with responsibility for all local and international community outreach and education work.  

Mary is a founding director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation and sits on the boards of the North South Institute, the International Development Research Centre, the Indian School of Micro Finance for Women and St. Francis Xavier University. Most recently, she was appointed to the chair's advisory group of the Canadian Judicial Council.

Still a young educator herself, Mary has inspired many others with her enthusiasm and leadership style. A positive attitude and the ability to draw out the strengths of others has enabled her to collaborate effectively with people from all walks of life and ideological persuasions. She is generous and effective leader and has motivated many others to share her commitment to the world's disadvantaged people. During Alumni Weekend 2005, the University of Guelph Alumni Association will present her with the Alumna of Honour Award in recognition of her many accomplishments.


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