Tribute to Professor Ellen Aitken

Foundation Update

Tribute to Professor Ellen Aitken

18 Jun 2014

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death of Professor Ellen Aitken, Dean of the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University.

The Faculty of Religious Studies, through the leadership of Dean Aitken, pioneered the Religion and Globalisation Initiative at McGill. An ordained Anglican Church/Episcopalian Minister, Ellen was dedicated to furthering understanding of religion's impact on the world and was committed to developing and improving this burgeoning academic field. She used her scholarly background in early Christianity and the early Church to help us frame the lessons of globalisation and religion today.

Ellen ensured that McGill became a leading international university in this field both through the pursuit of the academic course, as well using her enormous entrepreneurial spirit to reach beyond the academy into the public policy realm.

Charlotte Keenan, Chief Executive of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, said:

"Ellen was a passionate and dedicated scholar, teacher and pioneer. Above all, she was a true friend to the Foundation. She helped us create and define our work in Religion and Globalisation, which is now present in over thirty universities world-wide, and constantly challenged us to take it further. I will miss her sense of mischief and love of life. She will be sorely missed by all at the Foundation and in our global Faith and Globalisation Network. My thoughts and prayers are with her husband, Bill Porter, and her many colleagues and friends at McGill."

Tony Blair, Patron of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, said:

"Ellen was an outstanding academic but also a lovely, warm and generous spirited person with a huge heart as well as an exceptional mind. We enjoyed immensely our collaboration together. I am very sad. "