Gillian Thompson   2006 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Professor Gillian Thompson joined the University of New Brunswick in 1972, as the first woman appointed to the Department of History in Fredericton.  She has been actively involved in University affairs, serving as Resident Fellow in the women's residences and Chair of the History Department from 1996 to 2002, and at various times holding membership on the Board of Governors, the Senate, Executive Committee of the Graduate School, and many advisory and search committees at the Faculty and University level.  She retired in 2004.

A distinguished social historian of early modern Europe, Dr. Thompson's scholarly research and publications focussed on the Jesuit religious order in 18th century France.  She has carried out detailed quantitative analyses of the Order's finances, membership, recruitment patterns and teaching activities prior to its suppression by the French state in the 1760s.  Her work clarified many former misconceptions of Jesuit history, and sets the suppression of the French Jesuits into the larger history of modern political and religious persecutions.

Professor Thompson has also worked tirelessly to promote gender equity in the University.  She co-authored the first Status of Women Report, served as Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on the Status of Women at UNB, Advisor to the President on the Status of Women, and acted as Co-Founder and long-time supporter of the Women Studies Program.  She was a central figure in the initiatives that led to the founding of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence research at UNB.  A natural facilitator who prefers consenses to confrontation and example to exhortation, she has provided outstanding service to the University in tirelessly promoting the cause of gender equity and respect for the rights of all.