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Xavier Magazine | July 26, 2017

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Profile: Anne Marie Bourgeois

Greg Schaber

Anne Marie Bourgeois
Bachelor of Science in psychology, 1969; Master of Arts in clinical psychology, 1975 | Psychologist, consultant, artist, Ottawa, Canada

Minority Opinion | Bourgeois was one of five women to graduate in 1969—the first class to include women attending day classes. She says being in the minority “was definitely positive, overall.” Despite some teasing, “my classmates and most of my professors treated me with great respect.”

Graduation Talk | Bourgeois doesn’t recall whether she was the first woman to walk at graduation. But she remembers the words of then-University President Paul J. O’Connor, S.J., as he handed her the diploma. “He said ‘Congratulations, Marie. I can’t believe you made it.’ I’m still not sure what he meant by that.”

Close to Home | Her father, Joseph E. Bourgeois, was a professor of modern languages at the University for 30 years, and the family lived on Dana Avenue in the building that now houses the University’s department of music. “My seven sibs and I spent hours climbing trees, roaming around the construction site of Alter Hall and watching the small campus evolve and grow around us.”

Inviting a Challenge | Bourgeois did not want to attend an all-women’s university because they seemed too insulated. “Xavier appeared to be more forward-thinking and a great environment for promoting social change. I spoke with Richard Deters, S.J. Thanks to his can-do attitude, encouragement and support, I was able to sign up for daytime classes as an evening college student.”

Native Psychology | As a psychologist, Bourgeois’ main focus is on children and families. But about eight years ago, she launched a unique treatment program in partnership with a Mohawk mental health team to offer Mohawk clients the best of Western psychology combined with ancient traditional native healing approaches. In the process, she was also inducted into the Turtle clan.

Second Calling | Bourgeois is also an avid artist. She was a political cartoonist for the Xavier News during her University days and once did a large mural for a Xavier fundraiser. Her paintings have appeared in a number of gallery shows and are included in several collections, and she often uses art in her clinical work with children.

Hindsight is 20/20 | “Despite my complaints at the time, I now appreciate the philosophy and theology courses we were required to take to graduate from the University.” She singles out Benjamin J. Urmston, S.J., John N. Felton, S.J., and Edward B. Brueggeman, S.J., among others as “a credit to the Jesuit community and to Xavier.”

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