Jennifer MacLeod

King’s Alumni executive

Bachelor of Arts, English, 1978

I like to tell people that I’m in the third stage of my life, where opportunities abound.

Jennifer MacLeod had every intention of becoming a nurse. Both her parents were health professionals, so why not? She applied for the nursing program at Dalhousie.

“I was accepted by Dalhousie but they said I needed to do one year of undergrad first,” Jennifer explains. “So I took the Foundation Year Program (FYP) at King’s.”

It was life changing.

“FYP was so dynamic. It allowed me to broaden my horizons, which was exactly the reason I had enrolled in university. It showed me there was a whole, big world outside of nursing.”

Jennifer went on to complete her BA and was thinking of an MA when a summer job as a receptionist turned into a full time job as an administrative assistant at Domtar. What followed from there was, well, life. She married, left Domtar and went to work at CIBC. When herhusband started a roofing company, Jennifer left CIBC to do the books and payroll. When that company folded, she went on to work as an administrative assistant in the Canadian Airlines sales office.

“I felt that I was making good use of my organizational skills. At the same time, I was being challenged day in and day out. Both Domtar and Canadian Airlines gave me new challenges every day.”

When two kids came along Jennifer turned her talents to volunteering—she volunteered at the school library, managed her sons’ sports teams and spearheaded their fundraising efforts.

As that chapter ended Jennifer looked for a new one. It was something that happened at university that helped to point her in a new direction—working with textiles.

“I actually got introduced to textiles at King’s in my first year. The don of the residence got us to do a tapestry, probably as a stress reliever. I still have that. We also did some screenprinting on t-shirts. Thirty years later I rediscovered textiles and started taking classes at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD). It was so much like King’s—with small classes and personal connections with the instructors. FYP had taught me critical thinking and honed my writing skills. So courses like colour theory and art history came easily.”

Jenifer earned her Visual Arts Certificate but wasn’t done yet. Between 2011 and 2016 she took more classes narrowing her focus to what is now her specialty, dyeing fabrics. Her work is rich and vibrant, much like her life journey has been.

“I like to tell people that I’m in the third stage of my life, where opportunities abound and I’m determined to take advantage of them. There’s no rule book for this part, just as children don’t come with instructions. We sometimes just have to trust our gut and follow where our inclinations lead us.”

Jennifer joined the King’s Alumni executive in 2015 and continues as a member. It is a way of finding her way back to the place that nurtured her when she first left home.

“My focus is making sure people don’t forget about King’s. Like me. I am getting more involved with King’s now and I wish that I had been better connected throughout my life. I think it is important to restore and maintain that sense of community that King’s gives you.”

Posted: November 2020