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Giving to UNB

A fitting tribute

From volunteering in Bangladesh to renewing their wedding vows, John and Suzanne Johnston celebrated their silver wedding anniversary with an unmistakable passion that saluted their love, life and family.

It was during this deeply personal period the University of New Brunswick graduates also made an important decision – to leave a bequest to the university honouring Suzanne’s mother, Marjorie Mackin, and John’s mother, Audrey Stephenson.

“Recognizing the importance of education and the opportunity to help people who might not have the resources available to pursue that was a key factor in our decision,” said Suzanne, who along with John, is a Northern Health executive in Prince George, British Columbia.

“It was important to recognize our mothers, their memory and the value they placed on getting an education.”

Suzanne earned a nursing degree from UNB Saint John in 1992 before completing her master’s degree on the Fredericton campus in 2000. John graduated from UNB with his electrical engineering degree in 1977.

In 2000, they moved west, where Suzanne based her PhD research. There, she learned of a colleague’s involvement in a Bangladesh-based nursing program at the International University of Business and Technology in Uttara, a northern suburb of Dhaka.

Interested, Suzanne said they would love to help – some day. That day finally arrived in 2012, when John and Suzanne volunteered in a nursing program based on a Canadian model she knew well. “The Bangladesh experience was a catalyst for us. Going there and participating in education for those nursing students was a wonderful and enlightening experience,” Suzanne said.

After that, as they updated their wills, they realized they wanted to do more, specifically in New Brunswick. “We have a lot of challenges too and education creates opportunities. It was just something we wanted to do.”

Suzanne and John are proud of their UNB connections. Through their bequest, they will provide UNB students with the kind of education that prepared them for their own careers. “We thought the time was right to help people. The opportunity isn’t there for everybody, so if we can help somebody, fantastic,” said Suzanne.

It’s easy to have an impact: A $25,000 bequest in your will can provide a $1,000 annual scholarship for UNB students forever. For more information or to help us ensure your wishes are fulfilled, please contact Ms. Marion Williams, Sr. Development Officer.

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