Elmira Minita Gordon
Elmira Minita Gordon
|1st Governor-General of Belize|
21 September 1981 – 17 November 1993
|Prime Minister||George Cadle Price|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Colville Young|
|Born||30 December 1930|
Belize City, British Honduras
|Died||1 January 2021 (aged 90)|
Inglewood, California, U.S.
|Education||University of Nottingham|
University of Birmingham
University of Calgary
University of Toronto
Dame Elmira Minita Gordon Belizean educator and psychologist who served as the first governor general of Belize from its independence in 1981 until 1993. She was also the first Belizean to receive a doctorate in psychology. She is one of the few "double dames", having received damehoods in two separate orders: the Order of St Michael and St George and the Royal Victorian Order.(30 December 1930 – 1 January 2021) was a
Elmira Minita Gordon was born 30 December 1930 in Belize City, British Honduras. Her parents, Frederick Gordon and May Dakers, had immigrated from Jamaica to Lucky Strike in the 1920s. Gordon had five siblings: Lincoln Coyi, Dorinda Henderson, Kelorah Franklin, Rolston Coyi, and Robert Reyes. She grew up in Belize City, attending St. John's Girls' School and St. Mary's Primary. Gordon was a member of the girl guides from 1946, and in 1970 became the District Commissioner of the Girl Guides for the Belize district.
Gordon continued her education at St. George's Teacher's College and furthered her studies through a correspondence course from the College of Preceptors, Oxford, England. She began teaching at an Anglican school and was a missionary throughout Belize between 1946 and 1958. From 1959 to 1969, she was a lecturer at the Belize Teacher's Training College, after which, from 1969 to 1981, she was a Government Education Officer.
Gordon completed her postgraduate education at the University of Nottingham and University of Birmingham in England and the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Between 1977 and 1980, Gordon was in Canada where she served on the Educational Psychology Programme Planning Committee and was a member of the Toronto Leather Craft Club. She earned her master's degree in educational psychology and then a doctorate in applied psychology from the University of Toronto, Canada, becoming the first trained Belizean psychologist.
She returned from her studies in 1980 and in 1981 was appointed Governor General of Belize. She succeeded James P. I. Hennessy, the last Governor of Belize, and became the first Governor-General of Belize upon Belize gaining independence.
She became a justice of the peace in 1974 and a senior Justice of the Peace in 1987. Gordon received a lifetime membership of the British Red Cross in 1975, and in the Belizean Red Cross in 1981. In addition to her public works, Gordon was a master leather crafts artisan, having won numerous prizes for her works.
Gordon stepped down as Governor-General in 1993, and was succeeded by Colville Young. In later years, poor health prompted her to move to the United States to live with her sister, Kelorah Franklin, in 2016. She died on 1 January 2021, in Inglewood, California.
- Honorary LL.D., University of Victoria (1984)
- Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (1984)
- Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (1985)
- Sleeman 2001, p. 210.
- "Dr. Dame Minita Gordon passes". Amandala Newspaper. 6 January 2021. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
- Alvarez, Vejea (4 January 2021). "Belize's First Woman Governor General Passes Away". LOVE FM (Belize). Retrieved 6 January 2021.
- "Belize's First Governor General is Trailblazer of the Week". The Guardian. Belize City, Belize. 4 September 2014. Archived from the original on 3 September 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
- "Belizean Biographies – Dame Elmira Minita Gordon". Belize National Library Service and Information System (BNLSIS). Belize City, Belize: Belize National Library Service. Archived from the original on 3 September 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
- "Women Governors-General 1945–2005". Terra España. 2001. Archived from the original on 29 August 2005. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
- Lentz 2014, p. 84.
- "Belize's First Governor General Passes". Great Belize Television. 4 January 2021. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
- "Dame Elmira Minita Gordon, trailblazing educator and first Governor-General, dead at 90". Breaking Belize News. 2 January 2021. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
- "UVic honorary degrees, 1961- - University of Victoria". www.uvic.ca. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
- "Honours and Awards" (49665). London, England: The London Gazette. 6 March 1984. p. 3253. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
- "Honours and Awards" (50333). London, UK: The London Gazette. 29 November 1985. p. 16780. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
- Lentz, Harris M. (2014). Heads of States and Governments Since 1945. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-26490-2.
- Sleeman, Elizabeth (2001). The International Who's Who of Women 2002. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-1-85743-122-3.
|New office|| Governor-General of Belize