“It’s incredibly gratifying to know that something I’ve done can live on.”

16 April 2024

After a fulfilling career in the Canadian textile and fashion industry, Marilyn McNeil-Morin, ’77 BSc(HEc) is committing herself to helping the next generation of students and textile researchers.

She has set up a bequest in her Will to further support the Marilyn McNeil-Morin Graduate Research Scholarship in Textile Sciences at the University of Alberta.

Marilyn wants to see more research and development in Canada on fibre  crops – such as linen and hemp – and use of agricultural by-products and wood materials as sources for materials in the Canadian textile industry.  

She is also dedicated to addressing sustainability concerns. 

“Textiles are the largest growing waste stream. Recycling technology exists, but it’s not really mainstream. There’s a lot of work to be done,” she says.

As retired Director of Toronto’s George Brown College Fashion Exchange, Marilyn strived to help decrease fashion’s environmental footprint, while growing its social and economic benefits. 

Supporting graduate students is one way for Marilyn to ensure that her passion for textiles and sustainability lives on. As she says, “This is an area that affects all of our lives.”

She adds, “I don’t have children, so for me, a legacy can be something that goes to support the next generation of students.”

Marilyn knows firsthand how helpful scholarships are as she benefited from them during her time at the U of A.

Growing up on a farm in rural, central Alberta, she was inspired by the work being done by the home economists in today’s Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation.

This led her to the U of A for a bachelor of science in home economics with a specialization in clothing and textiles, where she developed her passion for textiles. “I found I loved chemistry—the underlying chemistry behind textiles and food.” 

She followed her dream of working in the ministry, eventually changing careers after moving to Saskatchewan and then Ontario. 

Marilyn remains grateful to the faculty members she met while studying at the U of A. 

“They were so instrumental to me. We had a culture of learning and a pretty amazing faculty. I felt honoured to be part of it and to have the opportunity to learn with them.” 

Supporting students at the U of A is a meaningful and impactful way to pay her gratitude forward. 

"Our graduate program in textile and apparel science has been growing and the research focus has been increasingly centered on issues related to the environmental and social impact of the clothing and textiles industry. Marilyn’s impact will continue through supporting the training of the next generation of Canadian textile professionals."

—Rachel McQueen, PhD, MSc, Associate Professor, Textile Science