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Trent University Saddened to Learn of the Passing of Bernard Blishen

Professor Blishen worked at Trent from 1964 to 1973 and was founder and chair of Trent’s Department of Sociology

The Trent University community was saddened to learn of the passing of Professor Bernard Blishen on February 11, 2017.

Prof. Blishen was at Trent from its inception in 1964 until 1973. He helped develop the institution’s academic curriculum as a member of the Trent University Planning Committee from 1963 to 1964 and served as founder and chair of Trent University’s Department of Sociology from 1964 to 1967. He was also the dean of Graduate Studies from 1967 to 1973 and the Ashley Fellow from 1990 to 1991.

In honour of Prof. Blishen’s distinguished career and the significant contributions he made to Canadian sociology, the Blishen family established the Bernard Blishen Prize in Canadian Sociology at Trent University in 2011. That same year, Prof. Blishen was awarded the Order of Canada, recognized for his contribution in advancing sociology as an academic discipline in Canada.

Below is an excerpt from his obituary notice:

Bernard Russell Blishen died in his 98th year surrounded by his family…After receiving his MA, Bernard's work as a sociologist took the family to Ottawa, New York, Vancouver, and finally to Peterborough, where he was founding chair of the Sociology Department at Trent University. In 2011, Bernard was honoured with the Order of Canada. The citation summarised his achievements: 'As one of the leading sociologists of his time, Bernard Blishen was instrumental in advancing sociology as an academic discipline in Canada... (He) was responsible for the development of a socio-economic index, now widely known as the 'Blishen Scale.' Among his many achievements, he was research director for the Royal Commission on Health Services that, in 1964, provided a plan for the national Medicare program. He later played a key role in the development of the sociology of medicine.' Friends are invited to visit at the St. Laurent Chapel of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, 1200 Ogilvie Road (at Aviation Parkway) on Saturday, February 11, 2017 from 4:00p.m. until - 6:00p.m. and on Sunday, February 12 from 12:00 noon until 1:00p.m. A Celebration of Life will be held in the Chapel at 1:00p.m. with a Reception to follow. Read the full obituary here.

The University extends heartfelt sympathies to Prof. Blishen’s family and friends, and to all who knew him at Trent University. 

Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2017.

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