Impact of Giving

A lifetime of gratitude

Author: Development and Donor Relations

Posted on Jan 2, 2024

Category: Donor Stories

Bill Baker (BSc’55) has spent a lifetime feeling grateful for the opportunities opened up for him at UNB, and nearly 50 years giving back with an annual gift of a size he could afford.

“I’m not a famous grad or a distinguished grad,” Bill said, “I’m just a guy from Moncton who was really, really lucky and got to go to UNB on a Beaverbrook scholarship. I was grateful then, and I have been grateful every day since. It changed my life.”

In the summer of 1951, Bill had been accepted to UNB and had worked to save enough to cover his expenses until about January of the next year. In fact, he was at work that summer, digging ditches at Fundy National Park, when he was called to the park office for a long-distance phone call. It was his mother, telling him he had been awarded a Beaverbrook scholarship. “So, I was fixed,” he said.

At UNB, Bill studied math and physics and, among other activities, played hockey. He lived in the Lady Beaverbrook residence, which he called “a great experience for a 17-year-old from Moncton who had never been anywhere. It was wonderful.”

Bill met Lord Beaverbrook three times, and his benefactor made a great impression on him. “One of my colleagues asked, ‘what can we ever do to repay you?’ And his answer was very simple. He said, ‘don’t try to repay me. Help someone else,’” Bill said.

After graduating from UNB, Bill completed an MSc. at the University of Toronto and an MBA from New York University. He spent the bulk of his career in a combination of computers and publishing, he said, retiring as a vice-president of International Thomson Publishing in 1989.

Bill hopes other alumni will follow his example and give what they can. “There were a few years when I had to budget where my donations would go, and UNB was always at the top of that list,” he said. “When I graduated, I didn’t have much money, but I was debt free. And so, with that kind of gratitude, it’s not hard to see my way clear to make some kind of donation every year.”

Learn more about the Beaverbrook Scholarships. 

Read the full 2022-23 Donor Impact Report.