Wendy Bedingfield

2016wendyHailing from Newfoundland, Wendy Bedingfield first appeared at Acadia in 1970 as a lecturer, volleyball and basketball coach. She later earned her PhD and, in 1976, joined the faculty at the University of Alberta where she ran a highly productive sport biomechanics lab. Her understanding of the role of universities, leadership, and sport developed, and Wendy’s contribution to sport development was initiated in 1981 when she, with a group of dedicated sportswomen, established the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport.

In 1986, following the death of James Bayer, Wendy was asked to serve as Acting Director of the School of Physical Education and Recreation at Acadia. The School, which evolved out of the Department of Athletics, was slated for closure by the University Senate. She was tasked with determining whether it could transition into an academic program. At the time, Varsity Athletics was separated from the academic program and Wendy worked closely with the late Don Wells, Acadia’s Athletic Director, to ensure that both units could not only survive, but thrive.

Wendy remained at Acadia as a professor and administrator for 26 years until her retirement in 2012. Her interest in sport, leadership, and gender equity was reflected in her teaching, as well as in her work with provincial, national and international sport organizations.

In the early ‘90s, Wendy was part of a small group that changed the Board structures of university sport to ensure women were included in decision-making. This led to positive change relative to the varsity sport experience throughout the country.

While serving as CIS President, Wendy took on the highly controversial issue of athletic scholarships and worked to make them acceptable within Canadian university sport. This marked a huge change accompanied by an effort to direct scholarship money to both women and men. Some of her other contributions included serving as the first Chair of the Coaching Association of Canada’s Research Committee, which led to the development of a network of nearly 100 scholars whose work contributes to coach development. She also contributed to the International Council on Coach Education, led Canada’s National Coach Certification Council, and represented Canada on the World University Games Council.

Since retiring from academic life, Wendy’s passion for increasing high quality opportunities for sport has continued. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Soccer Association, which hosted the Women’s World Cup this summer. For the past three years, Wendy has led a process to establish a new provincial organization in Nova Scotia – WomenActive-NS – that will work to enhance the experiences of girls and women in sport and recreation.

Wendy has motivated and inspired a generation of professionals in the sport and recreation field to be leaders and agents for change, working to improve access for all, especially girls and women. Acadia has certainly benefited from having such a prominent builder of sport in Canada as Dr. Wendy Bedingfield, and we are delighted to welcome her into Acadia’s Sports Hall of Fame.