The Legacy of Giving

Nobleman scholarships offer tremendous opportunity for young historians


Written by Janet Walker

Posted April 9, 2018

We first met Dorothy Hollingsworth when she contacted Canada’s History Society in response to a reception we were hosting in Toronto in the spring of 2017.

Dorothy’s husband, Bill Nobleman, was a founder of Canada’s National History Society and served on its inaugural board of directors.

When Bill died in October 2016, Dorothy became the keeper of years and years of The Beaver magazine (which was rechristened Canada’s History in 2010).

Dorothy kept the issues on shelves in her basement, and she wondered whether we might find a use for them if they migrated to our offices in Winnipeg.

“Come and have a look,” she said.

Louise Humeniuk, our major gifts associate, was greeted warmly by Dorothy and shown more than two decades worth of neatly stacked magazines that, collectively, had for years faithfully documented Canada’s past.

In a constantly changing world, it’s the connections we make that build bridges between people, communities, and countries.

We learned about Bill’s past, too, as well as his passion for bringing together people in the spirit of collaboration.

He was part of a visionary group that recognized that history is a critical national resource and that believed The Beaver provided a platform to share stories that helped to build greater understanding among Canadians.

A scholar, intellectual, and pragmatist with a gift for mathematics and English, Bill contributed enormously to the work of the History Society and was instrumental in establishing the first national award for history teachers, today known as the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching.

He was passionate about the power of education, and he shared this passion throughout his career, first as a teacher and principal, then as a school trustee and vice-chair of the Scarborough Board of Education, and later as publisher of two national magazines, Saturday Night and Monday Morning.

As the director of policy and research for the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, and as a senior advisor to Prime Minister Joe Clark, he helped to forge closer relationships between Canada and the international community.

Later, as a co-founder, tour director, and general manager of Know the World Tour Organizers Inc., Bill regularly amazed clients with his vast knowledge of the interplay between world and Canadian history, especially military history.

In a constantly changing world, it’s the connections we make that build bridges between people, communities, and countries. As an alumna of Western University, Dorothy has arranged to establish an extraordinary endowed fund, the first for Canada’s History. This new program, to be known as the Nobleman Scholars, will provide one paid internship annually for graduate students from Western University to gain career experience at Canada’s History Society.

The first Nobleman Scholar will begin this spring. By honouring her husband’s past, Dorothy Hollingsworth is offering a future to others and celebrating Bill Nobleman’s lifelong intent: to keep and to remember our history.

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This article originally appeared in the April-May 2018 issue of Canada’s History magazine.

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