(Class of '51) Joan (Fraser) Ivory - Community Service and Philanthropy
The Winner of the 2015 Judy Elder Alumna Award is Joan (Fraser) Ivory '51
Joan attended The Study from 1939 to 1945, but graduated from Netherwood School, an all-girls’ boarding school,in Rothesay, New Brunswick. At that time Netherwood was a popular choice for girls who transferred to boarding schools and was where many Study girls attended.
When Joan returned to Montreal, she attended McGill University and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Sociology and English. During her university days, Joan joined The Junior League of Montreal, an organization that trained young women for effective volunteerism in the community. This translated into her life-long career as a professional volunteer, working tirelessly and contributing actively to numerous community organizations.
After graduation, Joan enrolled in a diploma course for university graduates at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, School of Art and Design. Following her studies she became an assistant librarian of the undergraduate library at McGill University, a job she loved for the next three years. All the while, Joan had also been volunteering at the Royal Victoria Hospital until she became ill with a severe pneumonia. As a result of her hospital stay, she ended her career as a librarian. While recuperating at her summer cottage in Nova Scotia, Joan met Neil Ivory. They married in 1959 and started a family, with the birth of Sarah in 1961, and Andrew in 1964.
Joan continued her volunteer requirements of the Junior League Board becoming a board member and eventually its President. At that time, the League (with over 400 members) created a slide library for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. When Joan’s term ended, she joined the Museum Ladies’ Committee, now called the Volunteer Associates, to which she still belongs, having organized many trips to Europe for Museum members.
Joan’s interest in the Royal Victoria Hospital continued. She served on the Board of the Auxiliary until the early 1970s when her focus switched. Having had pneumonia and an interest in respirology, Joan became a volunteer at the Royal Edward Hospital, later called the Montreal Chest Hospital, now part of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) at the Glen. It turned out the switch to what is affectionately known as “The Chest” was a good move for Joan. She served as the President of the Auxiliary, on the Hospital Center Board, and was Chairman of the Foundation. Joan was there through it all, including all three of its name changes, and is still considered its spokesperson for non-healthcare matters.
Shortly after her husband’s death in 1988, Joan joined to the Board of the National Ballet of Canada, travelling to Toronto every month for meetings and performances, for the next seven years, and still attends performances in Toronto. She then joined the Faculty Advisory Board of McGill’s Schulich School of Music where today she remains involved with faculty, students, and the visiting artists who give master classes, some of whom have even stayed with her as her house guests. Thinking about the many people and organizations Joan has become involved with during her career in volunteering, including The Study School Foundation, she feels rewarded with the social life volunteering provides as well as the exposure to new interests. Today Joan is happily surrounded by her children and four grandchildren; Caroline, Charlie, Nigel and Winston, and knows that her life has been deeply enriched by her volunteer work in healthcare, education and the arts. Her contributions have not gone without recognition. In 2014 she was made a member of the Order of Canada, and The Study recognizes the great impact of Joan’s years of volunteer service, by celebrating her as the 2015 Judy Elder Alumna Award Recipient.