The Rita Friendly Kaufman Memorial Award

In 2006, the family of Rita Friendly Kaufman, along with members of Queen's Women's Association, established this award in her memory.

Rita was born in Shawinigan, Quebec in 1918. In that era, women only made up a minority of university students and it was a particularly rare thing for small-town girls from families of modest means. And so, although she herself never had that opportunity, she was a self-taught person and very well read. She was an enthusiastic learner with a broad range of knowledge, a love of the arts, a delight in life, and a deep sense of fairness.

When she lived in the southern US during the era of the Civil Rights movement, she volunteered in a literacy program. In the US and Canada, she'd welcome students, often complete strangers, into her home for dinner.

In the years when her husband, Nathan, was teaching at the medical school and, later, in their retirement, Rita was a strong supporter of the Queen's Women's Association, serving at one point as its President. We established this award in her memory to assist young women like yourself (who have shown academic achievement, who face financial challenges, and whose parents didn't attend university) to pursue a Bachelor's degree. Because Rita Friendly Kaufman didn't have the chance herself to go to university, it would put a smile on her face to know that you have this opportunity to pursue a higher education.