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Giving to UNB

About Richard J. Currie

Richard J. Currie

“Like that other renowned New Brunswick philanthropist before him, Lord Beaverbrook, Currie is leaving a sizable legacy of donations, endowments, chairs and other acts of generosity." - Chris Morris, The Telegraph Journal, July 2010

Richard Currie, O.C., O.N.B., C.B.H.F., M.B.A., LL.D., P.Eng., was born in Saint John, N.B. In 1955, he began his studies in chemical engineering as a Beaverbrook Scholar at the University of New Brunswick.

After graduation, he became the refining superintendent for the Atlantic Sugar Refineries in Saint John. He left to complete his MBA at Harvard, and in 1972 joined Loblaw Companies. He became president of the company in 1976, and, over the next 25 years, grew the company over 350-fold to a market value of $15 billion. Dr. Currie was then named president of George Weston Limited, Loblaws’ parent company, and during his six-year tenure increased the company’s share price more than seven-fold.

Dr. Currie has acted as a corporate director for many of Canada’s most prominent organizations, and, in 2002, Bell Canada Enterprises named him chair of its board of directors. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and in 2003 he was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. Dr. Currie’s contributions to the economic and social well-being of Canadians go far beyond his professional career - most especially his outstanding support of and advocacy for the University of New Brunswick.

In May 2003, he became UNB’s fifth modern-day Chancellor. That same year, he enhanced the Blake-Kirkpatrick renewable undergraduate scholarships (now called the Currie Scholarships) he established in 1998, making them among Canada’s most valuable.

In July 2008, Dr. Currie’s patronage created the single largest capital building project in the university’s history: the Richard J. CURRIE CENTER. This gift transformed not only the physical landscape of the campus, but also provided a renewed vision of wellness and excellence. Adjacent to the Currie Center is the new Kinesiology Building, which opened in August 2018 with leadership support from Dr. Currie. This furthers his legacy of support for UNB.

The May 2013 convocation ceremonies saw Dr. Currie honoured as chancellor emeritus at the University of New Brunswick and in 2017, he was named to the Order of New Brunswick.

Dr. Currie currently resides in Toronto, ON, and Rothesay, NB, with his wife Beth.

UNB staff asked Dr. Currie to talk about his life and why he established the Currie Undergraduate Scholarships. Watch the video to hear it in his words: