Sue Mulcahy – 100 years young! Happy Birthday Sue!
Lucille (Sue) Mulcahy, stalwart member of our community, turns 100 on March 14th!
OMAH and Lakehead University join together to honour Sue and to celebrate her many accomplishments and contributions over those years, that have so enriched the fabric of Orillia. A supporter of the Orillia Museum of Art & History since its inception, she has made an immeasurable mark on the preservation of our heritage. Sue and her family have been unwavering contributors to the Orillia Museum of Art & History and Sue continues to generously support our museum, as well as many other organizations in Orillia.
Sue grew up in Orillia on Brant Street, where she still lives today. She has had a remarkable life.
A non-traditional career
Sue’s life has been a road map of breaking ground in non-traditional roles for women. After completing secretarial school in Toronto, Sue eventually joined her father’s real estate insurance business in 1954. Even though this was not a traditional role for women at the time, she forged, ahead making her mark. Sue joined the male-dominated Real Estate Board in 1955 (there was only one other woman on the board.) She not only joined the board, but in 1968 she became the board’s first female president. When her father died in 1972, Sue took over the business and ran the firm until her retirement in 1997.
A woman in the political arena
Sue recognized that students from Orillia and surrounding area were leaving our community for post secondary education. Sue had a vision of setting up a university in Orillia. This vision spearheaded Sue’s foray into the political arena in an effort to make that happen. In 1963, Sue ran for Orillia’s Town Council, becoming the third woman to serve as an Orillia councillor. She held the position for two terms.
Her University Vision
Sue spearheaded this initiative. During her two terms on council, Sue helped raise funds and lobby the provincial government to establish Simcoe College, a proposed satellite campus of Waterloo Lutheran University in Orillia. In 1965, she left council to chair the Simcoe College Foundation which raised $235,000 to buy 228 acres of land for the proposed campus. Although the university did not come to fruition as government funding fell through, Sue was ahead of her time in knowing the contribution that an institution such as this would make in our community. She planted the seed for the future.
Sue continues to support students in Orillia through a scholarship she sponsors at Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School and a ‘Study Abroad Scholarship’ at Lakehead University that supports students study abroad, expanding their global perspective.
Her Dedication to Our Heritage and it’s preservation
To contribute to keeping our local history front and centre, Sue spent twenty years as a member of the Orillia Historical Society.
For the next 20 years, Sue has been one of the main supporters of OMAH. She is a “big fan of OMAH”! In June 2017, Sue commented at a Recognition Tea held at OMAH “Over the years, I have enjoyed being involved with the Orillia Museum of Art & History as it has become better known to Orillians and many friends throughout Canada and the United States. I am passionate about everyone having the opportunity to visit the museum to see and enjoy this fabulous home of art and historical donations."
Sue is passionate about OMAH. Her belief is that those in the community should have the opportunity to be enriched by this institution. She and her family are valued by OMAH and community for the support given over the many years.
She not only provided financial support. Ninette Gyorody, Executive Director, commented about Sue: “I cannot imagine where we would be without her outstanding assistance in so many ways. Her encouragement, her words of wisdom, and her knowledge of this area is priceless.”
Support for other organizations
Sue has made a difference in her unwavering support for many organizations in Orillia. She was involved in the restoration of the Leacock Boathouse, helping to preserve it for future generations. She has contributed to Orillia's community as a board member of the Orillia Hall of Fame, supporter of Streets Alive! in our downtown, to name a few. Her contributions showcase her giving nature and passion for our city.
OMAH Legacy Award
At OMAH's 20th Anniversary celebrations, Sue was presented with the first OMAH Legacy Award. This award was in recognition of Sue Mulcahy and the Mulcahy family's philanthropic giving and the incomparable impact that she continues to make at the Orillia Museum of Art & History.
Mulcahy Family Gallery
If you visit OMAH, you will see OMAH’s first floor gallery space, named the Mulcahy Family Gallery in recognition of the contributions by Sue and her family to OMAH.
Sue was included in an exhibit ‘HerStory’ held in 2016, honouring, showcasing and celebrating local women and their remarkable lives and the impact they have made on their communities.
Civitas Award from Lakehead University
At the first convocation at Lakehead University in 2008, Sue was presented with its first Civitas Award, which recognizes Simcoe County residents for community engagement of significance to Lakehead University’s Orillia Campus. Sue was given the honour for her vision and leadership in bringing a university campus to Orillia
Sue still ‘keeps her eye’ on her hometown. Thank You Sue for your tireless belief in our hometown and in our museum!