Arthur & Jack Irving families give $3 million to UNB Saint John

Top left:  Interior of the newly-named Hans W. Klohn Commons building Top right: Lino Celeste, Dr. Hans W. Klohn and Pat Darrah at the naming announcment Bottom:  Artist's rendition of the Hans W. Klohn Commons buildingIn honour of their business associate and friend, Hans W. Klohn, the families of Arthur Irving and Jack Irving have donated $3-million to the University of New Brunswick, Saint John Campus for the new University Commons—a major facility currently under construction.  Hans W. Klohn is well known for his many contributions to the steel fabrication and construction industry in Atlantic Canada, New England and beyond, his support of community projects and his dedication to excellence.  The new building will be known as the Hans W. Klohn Commons.

“The Arthur & Jack Irving families have been great supporters of education in our province,” said Eddy Campbell, President and Vice-Chancellor of UNB.  “It is tremendously important to us to have these kinds of prominent reminders to our students that they can be successful while ensuring opportunities for themselves and for others.”

The $25-million Commons, with its innovative and modern design, will stand as a testament to the accomplishments of Hans W. Klohn and bring a new energy to UNB’s Saint John campus.  Part of the Tucker Park enhancement project, which includes the refurbishment of the Canada Games Stadium, the new Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick facility, and the New Brunswick Community College’s Allied Health building, the Commons will become the essential gathering place for a bustling campus.

As part of the implementation of UNB’s new strategic plan, the Commons will offer students the latest in technology, writing and library services as well as high-quality learning and research facilities.  It will be UNB’s first green building, having been designed and constructed to a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver standard.

“The Commons is more than a building; it’s a vision, an opportunity and aspiration,” said Robert MacKinnon, vice-president of UNB Saint John. “It is the cornerstone of a renewed University of New Brunswick in Saint John, offering our students the space and services they need to thrive in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world.”

Described by those who know him as a modest man, Hans W. Klohn was born in Kiel, Germany.  After earning a Technical Certificate in Engineering, he worked for a steel company until 1952, when he immigrated to New Brunswick to take part in the Irving Pulp and Paper Mill expansion.  Mr. Klohn was noticed by K. C. Irving and promoted to construction manager of the project, thus beginning a new chapter in his life.

In 1955, K.C. Irving and Hans W. Klohn started a new construction company called Ocean Steel & Construction, with Mr. Klohn serving as its first president.  He was named an Honorary Life Member of the Saint John Construction Association, selected as a ‘Titan of the Precast Concrete Industry’ and, awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from UNB on May 20, 2011, in recognition of his efforts and influence in the construction industry and the community at large.

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