Lady Dunn

Lady Dunn and Salvador Dali

In July 1909, Lady Dunn was born Marcia Anastasia Christoforides in Sutton, Surrey, England, to parents John Christoforides and Mildred Nightingale- Boyes. In 1942, she married Canadian financier James Hamet Dunn, 1st Baronet. In the late 1940s, Lady Dunn and her husband developed a friendship with the Spanish artist Salvador Dali who painted several portraits of them, notably Equestrian Fantasy – Portrait of Lady Dunn.

Lady Dunn/Beaverbrook was a prominent philanthropist in Canada. The Sir James Dunn Foundation, which she directed during her lifetime, continues to this day and has funded a number of projects at UNB including a wildlife research centre, a residence at UNB Saint John and a Chair in Interprofessional and Family-Centred Care. She died in October 1994 at the age of 85.

History of women’s residences at UNB

From its earliest days, the Associated Alumnae Society (formed in 1910), dreamed of opening a women’s residence, as propriety prevented out-of- town girls from attending UNB unless they could live with relatives.

The group’s chance came in April 1949, when Lord Beaverbrook offered them the house that he had recently purchased on the corner of Charlotte and Church streets, on the condition that they could raise the funds to alter and equip it by the end of the year.

Determined not to lose this opportunity, Muriel Farris Baird, Class of 1927, led the charge. The society secured a hefty $55,000 from various sources, including Lord Beaverbrook himself, between May and September of 1949, and the 21-bed women’s residence opened ahead of schedule that fall. The residence later became co-ed in 1979 and was reopened in 2000 as the home of Renaissance College while it continued to act as a student residence under the name, Maggie Jean Chestnut House.

Lady Dunn Hall opened in 1963, becoming the first on-campus accommodation for women at UNB. Lord Beaverbrook decided to name the residence in honour of his second wife and Sir James Dunn’s widow, Lady Dunn.



1. Lady Dunn and Salvador Dali. Photo provided by and used with the permission of the archive of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

2. Lady Dunn Hall (later to be Joy W. Kidd House). Photo provided by and used with the permission of the UNB Archives & Special Collections.

3. Maggie Jean Chestnut House. Photo provided by and used with the permission of the UNB Archives & Special Collections.