UPEI honours Dr. Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Epperly through plaza dedication

Posted: 
Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The University of Prince Edward Island today honoured its fourth, and first female president, Dr. Elizabeth ‘Betsy' Epperly, Professor Emerita, by dedicating Epperly Plaza- located at the south entrance to the Robertson Library-in her name. Dr. Epperly served as president from 1995-98.

Dr. Epperly's commitment to UPEI dates back to when she was a student-the first to register at the newly created University of Prince Edward Island in 1969. Originally from the United States, Epperly moved to Canada because of her love of the writing of PEI's own Lucy Maud Montgomery.

'On behalf of the students, staff, and faculty of UPEI, I thank Dr. Epperly for her years of service to the University,' said UPEI President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz. 'They, along with visitors to campus, will now have a record-through this lovely plaza-of the mark she has made at UPEI.'

June 20 is a special day for Epperly, not only because of her plaza dedication, but because it is also the day on which Lucy Maud Montgomery received her first copy of Anne of Green Gables from her publisher in 1908. Canada Post also chose June 20, in 2008, to launch a commemorative 'Anne' stamp in Cavendish, PEI.

Epperly is the author of many books and dozens of articles, and has curated four Montgomery exhibitions. Founder and first chair of the L.M. Montgomery Institute (LMMI), she serves on the board of the Anne of Green Gables Licensing Authority and the International Advisory Board of the LMMI.

Epperly still spends a great deal of time devoted to her research on Montgomery. 'Even though I can't always be here on the Island, when Lucy Maud Montgomery is the inspiration, you're always home. You're always on Prince Edward Island.'

Plantings around the Epperly Plaza reflect Betsy's lifelong passion, as they include flora that appear in Montgomery's writings, such as: lilacs, roses, lilies, and silken poppies.

'People want to be proud of the University and feel that it is a beautiful place,' said Epperly. 'I'm so thrilled that UPEI continues to beautify this campus, it's just gorgeous.'

The dedication ceremony featured a fanfare, 'Epperly Salute,' composed by retired UPEI music professor, Bert Tersteeg; special remarks by master of ceremonies and librarian Simon Lloyd, President and Vice-Chancellor Abd-El-Aziz, and Epperly herself; and the unveiling of the plaque, which is mounted on granite, near the library entrance.

To honour the presidents of the University, space has been allocated within the campus plan to create plazas conducive to the enjoyment of the University grounds. Three plazas were unveiled in 2008 honouring UPEI's first three presidents Drs. Ronald J. Baker, Peter P. M. Meincke, and C.W.J. Eliot.

Sheila Kerry
Media Relations and Communications Officer
Department: 
Integrated Communications
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