Professor Emeritus in History
Convocation: Oct. 21, 2001
Ernest Forbes is widely recognized as this country's leading interpreter of 20th-century Maritime provinces history.
Over the past 30 years, his numerous books, articles, essays and lectures have challenged existing historical stereotypes about the Maritime provinces and introduced Canadians to the special strengths and weaknesses of the regional identity.
His prize-winning book on the Maritime Rights Movement is considered a model study of regionalism within the Canadian community, and no account of Canadian politics is complete without reference to his continuing work on the constitutional relationship between the central government and the provinces.
Moreover, his investigations in the social history of the region have introduced audiences to the history of progressive reform, early feminism and much else in the forgotten history of the Maritimes.
As the leader of a network of regional scholars at several universities, Dr. Forbes was instrumental in producing the first modern general history of the Atlantic provinces, published in 1993 under the title The Atlantic Provinces in Confederation.
Since the time of his appointment at the University of New Brunswick in 1974, several generations of students have appreciated his close and caring attention to their progress.
Dr. Forbes has supervised more than 30 dissertations and has had a major influence on the training of graduate students, especially in the areas of Maritime provinces and New Brunswick history.
No one who has worked with "Ernie" Forbes can fail to appreciate the dedication, discipline and commitment he has brought to researching, teaching and writing the history of his home region.