Teresa Sarah MacNeil

Cape Breton University is honoured to celebrate the distinguished career of Teresa MacNeil, an adult educator, and advocate for community economic development who is a well-respected leader throughout the country.

Teresa MacNeil was born and raised in Johnstown, Nova Scotia. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Francis Xavier University and Master’s and PhD degrees in educational policy studies from the University of Wisconsin.

For over 35 years, Ms MacNeil worked at St. FX as a professor and founder of that University’s Master of Adult Education program. . From 1982 through 1994, she was Director of Extension. Although retired since 1996, Ms MacNeil remains an ardent promoter of lifelong learning. She is a founding member of the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education and was a member of the board of directors of the Canadian Association for Adult Education, serving that organization as President for four years.

Known for her fairness and common sense, Ms MacNeil’s wisdom and experience are sought after throughout the country. She chaired a task force on behalf of the governments of Nova Scotia and Canada to make recommendations to improve the economy of Cape Breton. She was Chair of the Cape Breton Development Corporation and Sydney Steel. In 2001, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board appointed Ms MacNeil as a one-person Commissioner to conduct a public review of the potential effects of offshore oil and gas exploration in the Sydney Bight and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.

In addition to these notable appointments, she also served as an adjudicator for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, chaired the project selection committee on rural policy for Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada and was a member of the board of the Canadian Cooperative Association. She holds an honorary degree from the Open University of British Columbia and is an inductee in the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame.

In recognition for her outstanding accomplishments and contributions throughout her life and career, in 2004, Ms MacNeil was named a member of the Order of Canada.

Ms MacNeil resides with her husband, Luke Batdorf, in Johnstown, NS.

Today, Cape Breton University confers the degree Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, on a woman who has a passion for education, the community and the economic future of Cape Breton and is a leader, advocate, tireless volunteer and unfailing promoter of the potential of Cape Breton Island, Teresa Sarah MacNeil.