Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Helen Preston Glass (1917-2015)

Nurse, educator.

Born at Regina, Saskatchewan on 24 October 1917, daughter of Harold Preston and Mildred Landon, she received a Diploma in Nursing (1939) from the Royal Victoria Hospital School of Nursing in Montreal. After working as a nurse for a time, she began a career in nursing education in 1953 at the Holy Family School of Nursing, at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. After moving to Winnipeg in 1955, she earned a certificate in teaching and supervision from the University of Manitoba in 1958. In 1960, she received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Columbia University and a Master of Arts in 1961. She earned a Master of Education (1970) and a Doctor of Education (Nursing) (1971), also from Columbia.

In 1962, she started teaching at the University of Manitoba’s School of Nursing and served as its Director from 1972 to 1979. She played an important role in establishing a graduate program in nursing and in creating the Manitoba Nursing Research Institute. She was President of the Canadian Nurses Association and Manitoba Association of Registered Nurses. She also contributed to the wording and scope of the Canada Health Act in 1984.

In recognition of her contributions to the nursing discipline and the community at large, Glass was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt (1987), Order of Canada (1988) and Order of Manitoba (2008), and she received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977), Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012). She was inducted into the Teacher’s College Nursing Hall of Fame at Columbia University. She received honorary degrees from Memorial University (1983), University of Western Ontario (1986), St. Francis Xavier University (1991), Université de Montréal (1993), and McGill University (1995). The Helen Glass Centre for Nursing at the University of Manitoba is named for her.

She died at Winnipeg on 14 February 2015. A collection of her records are held at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections. She was selected posthumously as a Manitoba Women Trailblazer.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 17 February 2015, page C10.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 1 February 2021

Memorable Manitobans

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