Denise and Brian (BBA ’78) Johnson love living in Fredericton and are committed to supporting community development and programs that enhance their city and province. They are fiercely loyal to UNB and in the past year, three of their children have graduated from the university.
Now, the couple has ensured they will forever make a difference at UNB by establishing the Brian and Denise Johnson Scholarship, which they started with an initial gift and will continue in perpetuity through a bequest. The scholarship, valued at the cost of tuition, will be awarded for the first time this fall to an undergraduate student who is a member of the UNB men’s hockey team.
Choosing hockey was a natural fit, considering their extensive involvement in volunteering and sponsoring the Varsity Reds hockey program. Brian, who has supported UNB athletics for 23 years, serves as hockey team president, sat on an organizing committee for the CIS University Cup held at UNB, hosts an annual banquet for graduating players and supports the team in many other ways. They are both huge fans who attend all the games.
Brian credits his friendship and respect for UNB hockey coach Gardiner MacDougall, citing the coach’s enthusiasm and passion which ultimately transfers to players, volunteers and the community.
“He is such a positive motivator, such an inspiration,” Brian said. “He has built a national program based on developing the best student athletes.”
The Johnsons are leaders in the business community, where they own Kingswood Park and are no strangers to philanthropy and helping students achieve more. Kingwood’s annual Turnaround Achievement Awards have provided 880 students with $370,000 in post-secondary support over 23 years. They also led the 2004 Friendship Series, held in conjunction with the University Cup at UNB, that was inspired by the outrage at the negative experience a peewee team from Massachusetts experienced during a hockey tournament in Canada. The Friendship Series generated positive international headlines and eventually was made into a CTV movie.
It’s easy to make an impact: A $25,000 bequest in your will creates a $1,000 scholarship for students forever.