Anneliese E. M. Bode
by Rebecca St. Pierre
Professor Anne Bode has had the distinction of being addressed; Professor Emeritus, Sub-Warden, housemother and Associate Dean throughout her career. Her journey began at then Huron College, and after accepting an invitation to cross Western Road, continued on Western’s main campus in the Mathematics Department. In looking back on her years at Western, she remarks, “There’s not much I haven’t done.”
Born in Saskatchewan on April 23, 1935, she shares her birthday with “…St. George, Shakespeare and Lester Pearson...” At an early age Anneliese Eva Marie was abbreviated to Anne, a name she shares with a fictional character she is very fond of, Anne of Green Gables.
Graduating with an MA in Mathematics from the University of Saskatchewan in 1959, she accepted a three year contract position the following year at Huron College. Her role was twofold; mathematics lecturer and Sub-Warden of twenty young women in Brough Hall, one of three women’s residences. Within the first year she was offered a position to teach mathematics on main campus by the head of the department, Gordon Magee. Her response was “Well Gordon, I would love to do that. I don’t like just teaching first year courses and first year students. I would like something a little more.” For the next two years she lectured on main campus and continued as housemother, a title preferred by the young women to Sub-Warden. “I had breakfast with the Huron students. I’d have lunch on main campus. I’d have dinner, maybe back at Huron, and would have the young women in my house.”
Promoted to Assistant Professor in 1965 and to Associate Professor in 1969, Professor Bode continued teaching while starting what would be thirty-four years of membership on numerous Western committees, including the Senate. “Then before I knew it Gordon had me helping doing administrative work in the department. He discovered I was pretty good at that.” She balanced her lecturing, usually one course each year, such as Introductory Calculus and Linear Algebra, with her committee involvement, serving on twelve in the year 1974 to 1975.
Professor Bode was asked to be Assistant to the Dean in the Faculty of Science in 1973. She was surprised but pleased when in 1975 she was promoted to Assistant Dean for a five year term. “You need a people person in the front office. So I did all those things… I sort of fell into it.” Professor Bode believes she was one of the first women to have a position as Associate Dean, a position offered to her in 1981. “I enjoyed the committee work; I enjoyed the administration, because I was working with people.” She recalls a time that predates email, where staff in the Deans' Offices of arts, social science, science and the registrar would meet every other month. “We would close our offices at four o’clock and we had a tea party... Well, that way we got to know one another. Not just on the telephone or a meeting over a problem student….” She discovered the meetings over tea assisted the counseling offices in working better with one another, now that there was a face associated with the voice on the phone. Her challenges few, she discovered that interacting with people was relatively easy for her. Her motto for the difficult moments, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
With her time so heavily involved in teaching and administration, Professor Bode declined pursuing mathematical research. “… I became too involved all around within the University. I was on so many department committees and then so many Faculty committees and I was on Senate committees. I like to have my finger in the pie. You know that’s where the excitement is, to see how things are developing.” Although she did not pursue a Ph.D., “I didn’t have time. I was doing other things. You know I was having more fun,” Professor Bode is the only woman in the mathematics department that was tenure tracked or tenured in her thirty-nine years at Western. Her advice for women interested in becoming involved in science or academia; “I think the word is get involved…a lot of things fell into my lap, but one can’t expect that to happen. The opportunities are there, and I think for women there are more opportunities now, and for women faculty members I think it is somewhat easier now than it was when I started.”
In honour of her contribution to Huron College, her name can be found on a scroll in their Student Activity Centre. “I liked so much about the life that I had at Western, and I still have a good and friendly contact with Huron College and that’s forty-eight years ago.”
Retired as of 2000, Professor Bode, although no longer a housemother, is now a great aunt to a niece and nephew. When asked of career highlights, “There were too many… I had a career that I enjoyed. I did things I liked to do. I met a lot of interesting people.”