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UNB and McKenna Institute announce Barrett Chair in Entrepreneurship for Digital Transformation

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on May 17, 2022

Category: UNB Fredericton

This photo was taken off-campus. All site-specific masking protocols have been followed.

The McKenna Institute and the University of New Brunswick are pleased to announce the launch of the Barrett Chair in Entrepreneurship for Digital Transformation, funded by a $2.5-million commitment from Edward (Ed) and William (Bill) Barrett.

Based within UNB Fredericton’s faculty of computer science, the Barrett Chair in Entrepreneurship for Digital Transformation will further the mission of UNB’s McKenna Institute to drive digital progress and prosperity in New Brunswick.

In addition to leading the faculty of computer science’s entrepreneurship activities, the chair will coordinate applied research groups; create new experiential learning opportunities focused on innovation and entrepreneurship; contribute to the faculty’s business development activities; and coordinate with other entrepreneurship centres across UNB.

Bill and Ed Barrett are longstanding pillars of entrepreneurship in New Brunswick. Co-CEOs of Barrett Corporation, they are key players in the service, telecommunications and distribution industries throughout North America. Chief among their many achievements is the co-founding of Xplornet Communications Inc., Canada’s largest provider of high-speed internet to rural Canadians.

“On behalf of the McKenna Institute and UNB’s faculty of computer science, I would like to thank Ed and Bill Barrett for this generous investment in the future of entrepreneurship in New Brunswick,” said UNB’s president and vice-chancellor, Dr. Paul J. Mazerolle. “UNB is committed to providing students with transformative, innovative educational opportunities. By fostering the next generation of innovators, this chair will help propel New Brunswick forward.”

“We are pleased to join forces with the University of New Brunswick and the McKenna Institute in establishing this chair,” said Bill and Ed Barrett. “It is vital that we work to grow New Brunswick’s already thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, keeping talent, enthusiasm and skill at home in our province. This chair will provide opportunities for students and companies to scale their ideas and create jobs, securing New Brunswick’s place as a leader in the digital economy.”

Founded in 2021, the McKenna Institute builds upon the life’s work of its benefactor, The Honourable Frank McKenna, PC, OC, ONB, QC, serving as a catalyst and a connector for academia, industry and government to foster a globally competitive digital economy and society.

Media contact: Kelsey Pye

Photo: (L-R): Bill Barrett, Hon. Frank McKenna, Ed Barrett, Adrienne O’Pray, director of the McKenna Institute, and Dr. Paul J. Mazerolle. Credit: UNB Media Services