A Round Peg profiles Margaret Fulton

Margaret Fulton, former Dean of Women at UBC, is the subject of the television documentary, A Round Peg, airing on the Knowledge Network Jan. 22 and 26.

An educator and social activist, Fulton was Dean of Women from 1974 to 1977 and later served as president of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. She now lives on Saltspring Island.

The documentary was written, produced and directed by UBC theatre alumna Michelle Bjornson, whose previous documentaries include It Will Not Last the Night and The Mailboat Doesn't Stop Here Any More, and was co-produced by UBC Film Prof. Ray Hall.

Born in Birtle, Manitoba in 1922, Fulton taught in high schools in Manitoba and Ontario from 1942 to 1953 and completed a BA at the University of Manitoba in 1955.

From 1957 to 1960 she was a graduate student, teaching fellow and lecturer at UBC. She received her MA from the university in 1960 and PhD from the University of Toronto in 1969. Prior to coming to UBC in 1974, Fulton taught at the Collegiate Institute in Fort William, Ont., York University, the University of Toronto and Wilfred Laurier University.

Bjornson met Fulton at the University of Toronto in 1964 while she was studying for a BA and Fulton was a doctoral student and residence don.

"She was quite a strong force in the residence," said Bjornson. "And I think she saw her role being not so much to administer our curfew as to inspire us to be rebels in a way, to challenge the system. She tried to make sure that she was passing on the baton.

"She has always been able to create visions in people's minds of what is possible, or what they can do. She was the reason that I came out west to do my master's. She treated us as though we were all capable of doing master's degrees."

In making the film, which received financial support from UBC and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Bjornson travelled with Fulton in 1995 and 1996 as she received awards and attended meetings in Norway, Switzerland and eastern Canada.

The program will air on Wed., Jan. 22 at 9 p.m., and will be rebroadcast on Sun., Jan. 26 at 11 p.m. on the Knowledge Network.