Bessie Philip was both staff and instructor at the Macdonald College of Household Science. She became an instructor in 1914, and then served as the Head of the School from 1920 to 1939. The School was created to promote good homemaking practice in agricultural communities, with only women being admitted. During Philip’s tenure, the School moved toward a more technical and professional orientation with a Bachelor of Household Science degree in 1929, with all courses held at the college.
She worked tirelessly for “the benefit of her students, her friends, and her community.” (Macdonald Yearbook, 1941). When she retired in 1939, it marked the end of an era, and students relayed “it was with great regret that the class witnessed the retirement of Miss Philip…” (Macdonald Yearbook, 1940).
Students often returned after graduation to thank her for guidance, and those who knew her could not overemphasize the “debt of gratitude” owed to her by the College, the province and even more broadly, the cause of household science (Macdonald Yearbook, 1941). To celebrate a life that cherished the beauty of Saint Anne and believed in the potential of Macdonald College, “it was a fitting feature of her funeral that on a day of unclouded sunshine her body [was] borne through the College grounds decked in the spring beauty of fresh grass …, and melodious with the voices of the birds” (Macdonald Yearbook, 1941).