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Obituary / Howard McCurdy 1932­–2018

Obituary / Howard McCurdy 1932­–2018

Howard McCurdy, longtime Member of Parliament and former president of CAUT (1967–1968), died Feb. 20 at age 85. McCurdy studied at the University of Western Ontario, Assumption University, and Michigan State University, earning a PhD in micro­biology and chemistry. He joined the University of Windsor’s science department in 1959, and became the first African-Canadian tenured university professor in the country. He later rose to head the department. In 1962, he co-founded the Guardian Club, a civil rights organization dedicated to fighting racial discrimination in Windsor. He was also a founding member and the first president of the National Black Coalition of Canada, which formed in 1969 shortly after the computer centre occupation at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) in Montreal. He served as president of the University of Windsor Faculty Association (1965), during its developmental stages before certification as a union. His academic career included more than 50 scientific papers and positions with several scientific associations and editorial boards. McCurdy launched his political career by winning election to city council in 1979. He was re-elected in 1982. He was elected to represent Windsor ridings for the New Democratic Party from 1984 to 1993 — the party’s first African-Canadian MP and the second African-Canadian to be elected to the Canadian Parliament. Among the many awards and accolades McCurdy received for lifetime achievements in science, civil rights, community service and politics were the Canadian Centennial Medal, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal, the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada.

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