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UNB alumni establish scholarship in late mother’s name

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Sep 16, 2020

Category: UNB Saint John , UNB Fredericton

J. Audrey (Robertson) MacKinnon

When brothers and UNB alumni William and Graeme MacKinnon decided to honour their late mother Audrey, they knew it had to be in support of students.

Audrey did not attend university herself, though she had very much wanted to. When she graduated from Plaster Rock Superior School in 1942, the eldest of seven children, she knew that university would place too much financial hardship on her parents. Instead, she enrolled in secretarial school and learned skills that would prove vital in her later work life, alongside her husband Bill in the forest products business W.R. MacKinnon Ltd., and Doaktown’s Stedman’s Store.

A dedicated community volunteer, Audrey spent decades in service to her adopted home of Doaktown. While her volunteer activities were many and varied, she is perhaps best known for her work with the Central Miramichi Historical Society. As a founding member of the society, she played a pivotal role in the restoration of the Nelson Hollow Covered Bridge, the establishment of the Doak House as a Provincial Heritage Site, and the creation and ongoing support of the Atlantic Salmon Museum. In 2013 she was honoured at a dinner and fundraiser, entitled “Just for Audrey,” in recognition of her many years of community service. Over the course of their 72-year marriage, she and Bill financially contributed to a number of initiatives, including scholarships for students from the Doaktown area, a testament to their belief in the value of education.

This appreciation of education is why her sons chose to honour her memory with a scholarship.

“Our mom knew that education is key to success,” says Graeme, “and we can think of no better way to honour her legacy.” William agrees, saying their mother “always had a place in her heart for the people of the Tobique, so it’s fitting to offer support to university students in a way that was not available to her 75 years ago.”

The J. Audrey (Robertson) MacKinnon Scholarship will be awarded each year to a student from Tobique Valley High School entering an undergraduate degree program at UNB. Renewable for four years and awarded to a new high school graduate each year, the scholarship will ultimately support four students concurrently.

The first recipient of the J. Audrey (Robertson) MacKinnon Scholarship, Dara Stiles of Tilley, N.B., began the bachelor of arts program at UNB’s Fredericton campus in September.

President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Paul Mazerolle expressed gratitude to the MacKinnon family for this remembrance of Audrey with a scholarship.

“I am honoured that a family with such strong UNB connections has decided to carry on Audrey’s legacy in this way,” says Dr. Mazerolle.

Media contact: Kelsey Pye

Photo credit: The MacKinnon family