University of New Brunswick est.1785

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“Our mom knew that education is key to success.”

Alumni News Magazine | Fall/Winter 2020

When brothers William (BA’74, MA’82) and Graeme (BBA’87) MacKinnon decided to honour their late mother Audrey, they knew it had to be in support of students – so they established a scholarship in her name.

The J. Audrey (Robertson) MacKinnon Scholarship, valued at $15,000 over four years, will be awarded each year to a student from Tobique Valley High School entering an undergraduate degree program at UNB. Thanks to a generous gift from William and Graeme, the scholarship will ultimately support four students concurrently.

Audrey MacKinnon 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 hardship on her parents. Instead, she enrolled in secretarial school, learning skills that would prove vital in her later work life alongside her husband Bill, in Doaktown Stedman’s Store and the forest products business, W.R. MacKinnon Ltd. 

A dedicated community volunteer, Audrey spent decades in service to her adopted home of Doaktown, NB. While her volunteer activities were many and varied, she is perhaps best known for her work as a founding member of the Central Miramichi Historical Society. Over the course of their 72-year marriage, she and Bill contributed financially 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 for education is why her sons chose to carry forward her memory with a scholarship. “Our mom knew that education is key to success,” said Graeme, “and we can think of no better way to honour her legacy.” William agreed, 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 seventy-five years ago.”

UNB President Paul Mazerolle encourages alumni and friends of UNB to consider memorializing their loved ones as the MacKinnon brothers have done. “A scholarship is a permanent legacy with the potential to change lives,” says Dr. Mazerolle. “When you establish a memorial scholarship, you honour a person’s unique mark on the world while carrying their legacy forward to future generations.”

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

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