Eric C. Garland
Associate Vice-President (Administration) Emeritus (deceased)
Encaenia Ceremony C: May 23, 1996
Eric Garland was the first administrator in the 210-year history of the University of New Brunswick to receive the distinction associate vice-president (administration) emeritus.
His citation, which follows, was prepared and delivered by James O'Sullivan, then UNB's vice-president (finance and administration). It is a testament to Dr. Garland's contributions to the university. Prof. Garland died Feb. 22, 1997.
Eric Garland has had many careers - all of them here at the University of New Brunswick. Over the course of more than 40 years, he has been an outstanding student, a student government leader, captain of the basketball team, manager of the rugby team, professor of engineering, president of every professional association and learned society he was eligible to join, and a member of both the University Senate and the Board of Governors. He has contributed in a major way to many community groups and outside organizations, including Theatre New Brunswick, the Pine Grove Nursing Home and the Chalmers Hospital Board, to name just a few. As former President Jim Downey has said: "Anyone who has lived in Fredericton during the past quarter century has been in some way a beneficiary of Eric Garland's commitment to community."
But Eric has had a dark side, too. He was for many years an ADMINISTRATOR! Most members of the university community, students and faculty alike, would consider the term administrator to be a black mark indeed.
The truth is that administrators serve to create the physical and organizational environment in which the core work of the university - learning, research and community service - can proceed productively. Outstanding administrators like Eric apply dedication, imagination and energy to their work, and make a real difference every day.
Beginning as assistant to the dean and acting dean of engineering, Eric became director of planning in 1970, and was appointed assistant vice-president (administration) in 1974. In recognition of his growing contributions, he was named associate vice-president in 1986.
Eric directed day-to-day operations on the Fredericton campus for more than two decades. His management responsibilities extended to the entire physical plant, security and traffic, audio-visual and graphic services, telephone and mail services, campus safety, the bookstore, the Student Union Building - and the
Aitken Centre, which he helped to design and guided for two decades in its role of serving not only the university but also as the home base for professional hockey, concerts, conventions and trade shows for the entire Fredericton community.
He has a special genius for seeing complex projects through to a successful conclusion. He played a leadership role in the development of the Hugh John Flemming Forestry Complex, which brings together in one space federal and provincial government research and administrative personnel, the Maritime Forest Ranger School and the university's own Tweeddale Centre in Industrial Forest Research.
Eric helped to plan and manage numerous other construction projects for both the Fredericton and Saint John campuses of the university: most recently the splendid Wu Conference Centre here in Fredericton. When Eric first came to UNB, there were only eight buildings - none of them in Saint John. By the time he retired, the university had expanded to include more than 70 different facilities, and Eric's personal touch is on many of them.
Eric worked with five different presidents, and each came quickly to recognize his special talents. The first, Colin Mackay, has called Eric a "classic example" of the kind of people you need to build and run a university: a person who "knows what UNB is, can and should be."
John Anderson, who appointed Eric to the position of assistant vice-president in the 1970s, has called him an absolute tower of strength. "He was able to keep an astonishing number of balls in the air. He was a great expediter, a personification of the adage, 'If you want something done, ask the busiest person around.'"
President, Robin Armstrong, has seen Eric as "part hospitality director, part motivational leader, part building contractor, part miracle worker."
Reflecting on his many careers, Eric himself has said: "The university came first. I always enjoyed coming to work."
UNB is a much richer place for Eric's many contributions, and all of us thank him for the inspiration and leadership he demonstrated day after day in keeping our eye on the ball. In many ways, he was always the captain of the team.