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Beaverbrook Scholarship recipients

The first female Beaverbrook Scholar and one of Canada’s first female psychologists, Florence Thompson Snodgrass had a remarkable academic career that spanned more than five decades, beginning and ending at the University of New Brunswick.

Born in Young’s Cove, NB, in 1902, Florence arrived at UNB in 1920 as one of the first cohort of four Beaverbrook Scholarship recipients. Without the scholarship, which she considered to be a “fluke” in a time when women were not encouraged to attend university, she later said that she would not have considered pursuing a degree.

Florence excelled as a UNB student, winning the Governor General’s Gold medal and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1924. While her intention was to teach school after graduation – which she did for several years – it was a course taught by Dr. Wilfred Keirstead that inspired in her a lifelong passion for the study of psychology.

After teaching high school mathematics in Michigan and New York, Florence earned a Master’s in Education from Harvard University in 1927, having filled her course roster with as much psychology as the education curriculum would allow. She soon accepted a position in the department of psychology and education at Washington College in Maryland. Unwilling to give up a paid career during the Depression in order to further her studies in psychology, she stayed at Washington College for twelve years, pursuing graduate studies on weekends at nearby Johns Hopkins University. In the early 1940s, she enrolled in a doctoral program in psychology at Yale University. Although her studies were interrupted by five years spent in New Brunswick caring for ailing parents, she earned a PhD in psychology from Yale in 1949.

Keirstead Hall

In 1950, Dr. Snodgrass returned to UNB as Head of the Department of Psychology. Under her leadership, the department saw tremendous growth – introductory psychology enrolment, for instance, grew from fewer than 20 people to more than 450. During her 17-year tenure, she faced significant resistance from a university administration reluctant to provide funding and research space to the emerging field of psychology. Despite many obstacles and great difficulty in attracting high-quality scholars, she persevered – and succeeded in establishing a modern department with an excellent reputation. With her direction, the psychology department gained a new, state-of-the-art home in Keirstead Hall in 1968.

Florence Snodgrass was named UNB’s first female Professor Emerita in 1974. UNB is home to several bursaries and awards established by and in honour of Dr. Snodgrass; among these is a fund established by Dr. Snodgrass in support of New Brunswick students in need, to which she left what was, at that point, the University’s largest-ever bequest by a faculty member. In 1991, a newly renovated lounge in Keirstead Hall was dedicated to her.

Florence Snodgrass died in 1997 at the age of 94, having set a high bar for generations of Beaverbrook Scholars to follow.


The founders of the Beaverbrook Scholars Award

As early as 1958, Dr. Uffe Blok-Andersen set a goal to establish a scholarship, administered by those who had "benefitted by Lord Beaverbrook’s generosity.” More than 20 years later, a group of his fellow Beaverbrook Scholars joined him in establishing the Beaverbrook Scholars Award.

Founding member of the Beaverbrook Scholars Award

The driving force behind the Beaverbrook Scholars Award was Dr. Uffe Blok-Andersen (BSc 1945, LLD 1990). Born in Denmark, Uffe’s family immigrated to rural New Brunswick when he was four years old, and like many, they struggled to make ends meet throughout the 1930s. Uffe came to UNB in 1941 as a Beaverbrook Entrance Scholar. The student body was small during the war years, but Uffe was an active part of campus life – he worked on the Brunswickan, played interclass hockey and varsity football, served as president of the chemical society, and edited the yearbook.

After graduation, Uffe’s degree in chemistry served him well as he worked first for Dow Chemical and later established his own successful business, UBA Chemical Limited, based in Toronto. Ever grateful to UNB and to Lord Beaverbrook for the opportunities he received early on, Uffe set about trying to establish a scholarship – the goal being, in his words, “to provide unto others a scholarship by those who earlier had benefited by Lord Beaverbrook’s generosity.” That award ultimately became the Beaverbrook Scholars Award.


Founding member of the Beaverbrook Scholars Award

John Bliss, 1950 Beaverbrook Entrance Scholar, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1955. John had a long and successful engineering career until his retirement in 1998 as City Engineer for Fredericton. In 2008, the E. John Bliss Water Treatment Plant was named in his honour.

John was a well-known philanthropist beyond his efforts co-founding the Beaverbrook Scholars Award. Along with funding scholarships at UNB, he gave generously of both time and money to such organizations as Theatre New Brunswick, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton YMCA and the Fredericton Community Foundation. In 2008, he was recognized by his alma mater with the Alumni Award of Honour.


Founding member of the Beaverbrook Scholars Award

Ray W. Dixon, Q.C. was a 1955 Beaverbrook Entrance Scholar who went on to complete three degrees at UNB: a BA in 1960, BEd in 1961, and a Bachelor of Common Law in 1965.

Like many other recipients, Ray has credited Lord Beaverbrook and the Beaverbrook Scholarship with allowing him to attend university. Ray was 16 when his father died, leaving his mother to raise five children on a potato farm in Victoria County, New Brunswick. At UNB, he made lifelong friendships within the Lady Beaverbrook Residence – in fact, his first date with Dorothy, his wife of sixty years, was at the residence’s Fall Prom. He went on to a successful career in the law, practicing for a remarkable 46 years until his retirement in 2011. Today, he and Dorothy live in Fredericton, N.B.


Founding member of the Beaverbrook Scholars Award

Harold Gunter came to UNB from Saint John as a Beaverbrook Entrance Scholar in 1949. He was active in many campus activities during his time at UNB, including the motorcycle club, engineering society, and the radio club.

After graduating in 1954 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Electrical Engineering), Harold went on to a long and distinguished engineering career. Today, Harold Gunter is retired and lives in Bath, Maine.


Founding member of the Beaverbrook Scholars Award

UNB Professor Emeritus Dr. Arnold (Arnie) L. McAllister (BSc 1943) was born in Petitcodiac, N.B., in 1921. He came to UNB as a Beaverbrook Entrance Scholar in 1939 and graduated as Valedictorian and gold medalist for varsity sports.

After serving overseas until the end of the war, Arnie went on to McGill University as a Sir James Dunn Scholar, graduating with a PhD in Geology in 1950. After two years working as a research scientist for International Nickel in Sudbury, Arnie and his growing family returned to UNB, and there he stayed until his retirement in 1984. Arnie is remembered as an international leader in geological research, a beloved professor, and a loyal fan of the UNB Red Devils hockey team.


Founding member of the Beaverbrook Scholars Award

Dr. Barb Pepperdene came to UNB in 1955 as a Beaverbrook Entrance Scholar and graduated in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts. She is believed to have been the first UNB student to pursue Honours in Sociology, which shared a department with Anthropology at that time. After receiving her PhD in Occupational Sociology, Barb returned to UNB, and here she spent the majority of her teaching career.

Along with her generosity in helping to establish the Beaverbrook Scholars Award, Barb established two prizes at UNB. She is remembered as an insightful and engaging teacher who cared deeply about her students.


Founding member of the Beaverbrook Scholars Award

Dr. Harold W. Touchie was born in Renous, N.B. and grew up in Moncton. Like many of his fellow Scholars, he was able to attend university thanks to the funding he received from the Beaverbrook Entrance Scholarship. After he attained a Bachelor of Science in 1962, he went on to graduate from Dalhousie Medical School in 1967.

After practicing in Saint John and moving to Vancouver to complete a specialization in orthopaedic surgery, Harold returned to New Brunswick, settling in Fredericton with his wife and five children. A prominent and active community member, he supplemented his clinical practice with research and teaching, and took pride in being a life-long learner. In 2012, he was awarded Life Membership in the New Brunswick Medical Society. Dr. Harold Touchie lives in Fredericton.


Beaverbrook Scholars Award recipients

 

When Lianne Smith-Stow arrived at UNB in 1981 as the first Beaverbrook Scholars Award recipient, she was also the first in her family to attend university.

Receiving the BSA allowed Lianne to focus fully on her studies and ultimately graduate debt-free with a Bachelor of Business Administration.

While at UNB, Lianne had the opportunity to meet the founders and benefactors of the BSA. She enjoyed learning about Lord Beaverbrook through their stories and felt honoured to have been chosen by them for the inaugural award. “I remember looking forward to the annual dinner for Beaverbrook Scholars, which made me feel special and encouraged me to keep striving for academic excellence,” she said.

Lianne has fond memories of her time at UNB. “Attending UNB broadened my horizons and allowed me to interact with people from other cultures and other parts of Canada I previously had no exposure to,” she said, adding that she credits her UNB experience with instilling a lifelong passion for travel and experiencing new cultures.

A campus job fair led to a job with NBTel in Saint John for two years after graduation. She then attended Queen’s University, graduating with an MBA specializing in Corporate Finance and attaining her professional accounting designation.

Early in her career, Lianne married an air force pilot and spent several years moving around Canada and the US, followed by a six-year stint travelling the world working in corporate finance for McCain Foods. In 1998, Lianne and her husband settled in Barrie, Ontario. There, she changed careers yet again and became a professor, teaching accounting, finance and taxation courses, most recently at Georgian College.

Lianne shared a “full circle” experience connecting her teaching career to her time at UNB: “It was a unique moment for me when I shared with my first-year university Accounting students that the book they were learning from was written by my first Accounting Prof from UNB – Barbara Trenholm!”

Lianne and her husband are recently retired and have three grown sons. That love of travel ignited as a UNB student continues today, with cycling holidays being the couple’s favourite way to travel. To date, they have had cycling adventures in Switzerland, the Greek Islands, Italy, Croatia, Holland and Belgium, with more adventures to come as travel restrictions ease in the coming months. And when they are not travelling, they look forward to spending their summers at their Miramichi cottage, back home in New Brunswick.