John (Jack) Wagstaff   2008 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Presented to Mrs. Sally-Ann Wagstaff, widow of Dr. Wagstaff

I wish to nominate the late John (Jack) Wagstaff for a Service Award of the University of New Brunswick.

 If the University wishes to find someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the academic life of UNB in general and the Saint John campus in particular, then we have to look no further than Jack Wagstaff. 

Jack’s life was one of long term service and dedication both at UNB and in the wider world of education, family, and the community. Jack had two chemistry teaching careers that overlapped; at Saint John High School where he taught for 32 years, and at UNBSJ where he had taught as a stipendiary sessional lecturer since 1964.

 Jack was an exemplary teaching and mentor to his colleagues at UNBSJ. His teaching skills have been recognised by numerous honours and awards such as the Northern Telecom Science Teaching Award, the Manufacturing Chemists Association High School Teaching Award,  Fellowships of the Canadian College of Teachers, and of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK). In addition, Jack received the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa from UNB in recognition of his exceptional service to the teaching of High School science in New Brunswick .

 I have been at UNBSJ for almost 28 years and there has not been a year during that time when Jack has not been teaching a chemistry course to undergraduate classes in  engineering, and/or the health sciences, and/or nursing, and/or general science. As we are all sadly aware, Jack was again actively preparing to teach chemistry to the Health Science students in the upcoming Winter Term 2008, when Fate intervened.Jack had been teaching at UNBSJ for so long that he taught chemistry in Saint John for UNB before the actual establishment of UNBSJ.

 During the 1980’s he spearheaded the development and introduction of “Introductory Chemistry for the Health Sciences” which was tele-conferenced to numerous locations across New Brunswick in support of the UNB BN/RN programme. [which  latterly became part of the BHS programme, when Chemistry for the Health Sciences consisted of two term courses].

This was at a time that his stipendiary teaching load additionally included lectures, tutorials & laboratories in Introductory Chemistry for the Engineers. Over the years, Jack’s stipendiary course load lessened due in part to circumstance and increasing years, but he continued to be a constant presence both on the 3rd floor of Ganong Hall, and at lunch in the Faculty Room. 

The wording of the President’s Medals and Distinguished Service Awards is that they are “to recognize outstanding service to the university…….. over the span of a career”. Then in my estimation John Russell Wagstaff  must most certainly qualify for such recognition by the University of New Brunswick.  

Dr. R.E. Humphries


University of New Brunswick