Recognizing female strength and achievement

Recognizing female strength and achievement

By Dana Mitchell, Intern, Division of Student Affairs

May 8, 2019


The Ban Righ Foundation recognized the achievements of 12 mature female students at Queen’s at it's annual Spring Celebration on Saturday, April 27.

The Ban Righ Centre is an on-campus space that supports the academic pursuits of women from diverse backgrounds – many who have children -  who have returned to their studies after a break. Each year, the Spring Celebration honours the commitment of mature female students who are working to reach their professional and personal goals, and who foster growth and success on campus and in the community.

The centre, part of the Division of Student Affairs, recently welcomed a new director. Susan Belyea spent time writing at the house on Bader Lane as a mature student through her PhD studies. She completed her degree after 17 years as a small business owner in Kingston, and co-founding Loving Spoonful, a charitable organization that works to meet the needs of food insecure populations in Kingston. 

“I’m thrilled to work alongside such talented and inspiring women,” Belyea says. “The Spring Celebration is an extraordinary opportunity to honour female achievement, and I would like to congratulate all of this year’s award recipients and give special thanks to the donors who make this event possible.”

One of this year’s recipients is Chris Pardy, a single mother of three who is attaining prerequisites for her master’s degree in physiotherapy. Pardy was presented with the Janet Bilton-Holst Citation, which recognizes a mature student for her continued dedication to making the Ban Righ Centre a welcoming and enriching place for others.

While Pardy has contributed to the centre through her constant generosity and openness to sharing resources and knowledge with her peers, she says it is the support of the Ban Righ Centre staff that helped ease the transition back to school.

“I have loved the Ban Righ Centre from the first day of class,” she says.  “The staff are extraordinarily adept at cultivating an environment of support and a feeling of belonging. Going back to school can be difficult, and the initial discomfort of entering into a new experience was immediately dissipated through the Ban Righ Centre. It’s a pleasure and an honour to be a part of the community and to receive this award.”

This annual event brings together student award recipients and their families, staff, faculty members, donors, and community members.

“The Spring Celebration highlights and celebrates the remarkable achievements of mature women students at Queen’s,” says Nilita Sood, co-chair of the Ban Righ Foundation. “Balancing life and school as a mature student is tough, and this event helps us recognize our student’s persistence while supporting them achieve success both in their academic and life journeys.”

The Ban Righ Centre was founded in 1974 by women graduates of Queen’s with funds earned and invested by alumnae who built and managed the Ban Righ Hall womens’ residence. To learn more about the centre, its services and supports for mature female students, visit