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UNB celebrates Beaverbook s legacy of generosity

Author: Communications

Posted on Oct 21, 2010

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Lord Beaverbrook's legacy of generosity to the University of New Brunswick, the City of Fredericton and the province began in 1920 and continues to this day.

On the occasion of UNB’s 225th anniversary, the university is proud to host Beaverbrook: A Celebration of Generosity.  The two-day commemoration will recognize some of Lord Beaverbrook’s most significant contributions and give others a unique opportunity to learn more about UNB’s first modern day Chancellor.

The events kick-off Thursday, Nov. 4, when the public can visit the Alumni Memorial Building between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to record their favourite stories and memories of the inimitable “Beaver” to videotape.  Appointments are required.

Then, join us at The Fredericton Playhouse at 1 p.m. for a showing of the National Film Board’s production Beaverbrook: The Various Lives of Max Aitken (2000).  Admission is free and open to the public.

From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. there will be a bus tour of properties donated to UNB and the City of Fredericton by Lord Beaverbrook, conducted by renowned heritage architect and historian John Leroux.  There is no charge, but seating is limited.  Please reserve in advance.

One of the highlight events is sure to be Thursday evening’s panel discussion, A Conversation:  Lord Beaverbrook's Legacy, taking place at 7:30 p.m. at The Fredericton Playhouse.  UNB historian Marg Conrad will moderate a lively discussion between acclaimed author David Adams Richards, historians Michael Bliss and Naomi Griffiths, and veteran journalist Jacques Poitras.  Admission is free and the public is encouraged to attend. 

UNB’s celebration of Sir Max Aitken (Lord Beaverbrook) wraps up on Friday, Nov. 5 with Celebrating the Spirit of Generosity: Lord Beaverbrook Luncheon.  UNB Chancellor, benefactor and Beaverbrook Scholar, Richard J. Currie, will be the guest speaker. The luncheon takes place at the Crowne Plaza Lord Beaverbrook Hotel.  Tickets are $40, including tax and gratuity.

UNB faculty and staff, students and alumni, and members of the general public are welcome to attend any of the above events.  All are free of charge, with the exception of the Beaverbrook Luncheon.  For more information, reservations, or to arrange interviews, please contact: Susan Montague, 506-440-2991.  Or visit //www.unb.ca/initiatives/225/events/beaverbrook.html.

William Maxwell Aitken was born May 25, 1879.  He was the son of a Scottish-born Presbyterian minister and grew up in Newcastle, N.B.  He published his first newspaper at age 13 and got his start in the financial field in Halifax in the early 1900s.  The young Aitken moved to England in 1910 and over the course of the next 30 years, became the biggest newspaper baron in the U.K.

Aitken also established himself as a politician, elected as a British MP in 1910 and knighted in 1911.  He used his connections in the business world to solicit contributions for UNB's ambitious building program in the 1950s and early 1960s, and his considerable influence with New Brunswick's governments came in handy when seeking operating funds for the rapid expansion that took place on campus during that period. 

Lord Beaverbrook was appointed Chancellor of UNB in 1947 and for the next 16 years, returned regularly to New Brunswick, usually for about six weeks every fall.  He died on June 9, 1964, at the age of 85.