Leaders of the Antigonish Movement

The Antigonish Movement included many able men and women committed to eliminating economic inequalities and forging new bonds of cooperation. While Dr. Moses Coady and Father Jimmy Tompkins are rightly assigned primary roles, a strong supporting cast was at work even years before Extension was created in 1928 and for many decades afterwards. Rev. Michael Gillis and Rev. Dr. Hugh (“Little Doc Hugh”) MacPherson, two men born and raised in the farming country of late 19th century northeastern Nova Scotia, feared their culture was witnessing rapid socio-economic decline and responded with innovative ideas and action during the pre-World War I period. Over the years, a new generation of men and women, such as A.B. MacDonald, A.S. MacIntyre, Rev. George Topshee and Msgr. Francis Smyth, stepped into leadership roles and built new institutions, such as the Coady International Institute, that extended the pioneers’ vision with new types of action and into the international arena. From their beginnings and into the 21st century, the Extension Department and the Coady International Institute have been blessed with inspirational leaders who modeled new ways and encouraged men and women around the world to seek and find the good and abundant life for everyone.