LEC’s 50th Year

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Lady Eaton College under construction.

Being a Social Work student in second year, Lady Eaton College is my college of affiliation. After observing that the Social Work Program has its office there, I decided to make LEC my college! But who the heck was Lady Eaton anyways? I had to admit that I knew absolutely nothing about the woman for whom my college was named. I had a sneaking suspicion that she was related somehow to the now long-defunct legendary Canadian retail department giant of the same name.

As it turns out Flora McCrea Eaton was a pretty socially engaged woman in her day. According to the official Trent University website dedicated to her memory, she was born Flora McCrea in 1880 right close to Omemee, Ontario. She married John Craig Eaton, son of Timothy Eaton, the founder and President of the above-mentioned retail giant. Lady Eaton had been working as a nurse at the time at a private hospital called Rotherham House, which is where she met her future spouse.

Lady Eaton and her husband were involved in running the Eaton Company during WWI, and after the War, her husband got pneumonia and died in 1922. In his will he specifically named his wife to run the Eaton Company. This put Lady Eaton in a position way ahead of her time as a corporate executive.

She worked hard to improve company-employee relations as well as employee welfare and benefits, and stayed on the Board for 21 years. After her retirement, she continued to be involved in charitable works such as the Red Cross, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), and the Royal Winter Fair. When Trent opened the doors to LEC, Lady Eaton was not able to attend, but she did donate many artworks which are still on display to this day.

The art of education is alive and well at LEC with many academic departments and schools set up up shop at LEC, calling this august place of learning their home. Among them are, just to name a few: the Social Work Program, Philosophy, Gender and Women’s Studies, History, Modern Languages & Literature, Queens-Trent Concurrent Education, and Ancient History & Classics.

In addition to housing academic departments, the Multi-Faith-Space in LEC is also an open space for religious students to practice their faith. The space can be found in EC 202, and is open from 8 A.M. to 10 P.M.

Students can also check out the Pit, which is a comfy place to study or curl up and read a book. Visitors to LEC can also head for the Cafeteria for food and large tables to work on some group assignments. The Cafeteria is also home to an absolutely hideous photo of Lady Eaton herself.

There is also the Junior Common Room, where students can hang out, play ping pong, pool or air hockey with your buddies. LEC affiliated students are also entitled to a 10% discount at the Black Honey Café. The cards can be found at the LEC college office, which is just one short left from LEC’s main entrance.

And lastly, a hidden treasure at LEC is the Vaisey Music Library, which is a collection of books and sheet music donated by the musicologist and pianist William Vaisey. Some of the contents of the library are available for students to sign out. William Vaisey was a dedicated member of the Timothy United Church, which is why so many of his possessions belong to LEC.

LEC is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Students should take time to stroll through the halls founded in no small part from Flora Eaton.