Honorary degree recipients

UNB grants honorary doctorates to deserving individuals who exemplify those values cherished by its academic community. The following individuals will receive honorary degrees at the Encaenia ceremonies.

Frederick (Fred) J. Beairsto

Frederick (Fred) J. Beairsto will receive an honorary doctor of letters at The University of New Brunswick Fredericton campus’s 195th Encaenia Ceremony on Thursday, May 16.

Fred Beairsto, a lifelong Frederictonian, is an entrepreneur and humanitarian. In 1963, he graduated from UNB with a degree in engineering, then went on to obtain a master of business administration from the University of Western Ontario in 1965.

Mr. Beairsto was a major contractor and businessman in New Brunswick, and has served on a wide array of industry boards and councils. After purchasing W.J. Beairsto Co. Ltd., he built the small plumbing and contracting company into one of the largest mechanical contracting businesses in the province. In addition, he also co-founded P.E.S. Sales Ltd. and Beacon Hill Investments Inc. He has served as president of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce and received the Small Business Award for exemplifying the spirit of ‘free enterprise’ and making a successful contribution to quality of life in the community.

Mr. Beairsto held the position of president of UNB’s Alumni Council and was a respected member of the university’s Senate and Board. In 1982, UNB presented him with an Alumni Award of Honour which recognizes outstanding service and commitment to UNB and the Associated Alumni. Understanding that students often face financial challenges, his wife, Dixie, and he created the Fred and Dixie Beairsto Emergency Aid Fund to support undergraduate students in need. Fred and Dixie are also proud parents of four UNB graduates.

Fred Beairsto has been recognized with the Order of New Brunswick, the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Citizens Award, the Fredericton Community Foundation’s Philanthropy in Action Award, Rotary International's Paul Harris Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal, and the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick’s Excellence in Aging Award.

Participating in provincial and national politics, he notably co-chaired the Citizen’s Committee on Language and Culture in 1991, a role focused on fostering understanding between francophone and anglophone communities. He also participated in discussions at the federal level around the Meech Lake Accord.

Sandy Kitchen-Brewer and Earl Brewer

Sandra (Sandy) Kitchen-Brewer and Earl Brewer will each receive an honorary doctorate of letters at The University of New Brunswick Fredericton campus’s 195th Encaenia Ceremony on Thursday, May 16.

Sandy and Earl are social activists, philanthropists, and community supporters who are dedicated to improving the lives of their neighbours and fellow New Brunswickers. Their activism and quiet generosity have had significant impacts across the province on education, food security, the arts, health, and social innovation. Both graduates of UNB, Earl obtained a bachelor of arts in 1970 And a bachelor of law in 1974, and Sandy gained a bachelor of arts in 1994 followed by a master of arts in 2008.

Earl is both a businessman and patron of the arts. An award-winning real estate developer, he is known for his considerate and sympathetic approach to new construction and historic conservation. Examples of his developments and co-developments include the historic Post on Queen, Barker House, Phoenix Square, the Waverley, Westpoint by the River, and the Promenade on Queen. His buildings have helped shape Fredericton’s downtown core, maintaining its past while revitalizing its future. Earl co-launched Plaza Corp in early 2000, which quickly became one of Canada’s leading property owners, developers and managers of retail real estate. Plaza has 125 employees and 271 properties, 8.8 million square feet across the country. His passion for real estate is matched only by his devotion to philanthropy. Earl has quietly supported community initiatives and social programs his entire life, his under-the-radar backing providing the lifeblood for worthwhile causes that might otherwise fail. He has dedicated his time and expertise to the boards of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, UNB Board of Governors, Vestcor, the newly established Advisory Council for the Faculty of Law, to name a few. He is also the past Consul to Sweden for New Brunswick.

Sandy is the manager of the Brewer Foundation and a former research associate at the National Research Council of Canada. She is invested in healthcare, women’s specific health and well-being, education, and student food insecurity. She is the co-author of papers on community intermediaries, those who serve as links between government agencies and citizens seeking support. She is co-chair of Women4Women Fredericton, Inc., an initiative working to establish a women’s health centre in Fredericton and she serves on the board of the Lahey Clinic Canadian Foundation, which helps create unique training opportunities for physicians and nurses, and cross-border collaborations.

Together Earl and Sandy have strived to help in areas of education, health and the arts. In 2006, they began the Studio Watch Emerging Artist award program with the Beaverbrook Art Gallery as a way to increase the exposure of young, upcoming artists in New Brunswick giving them an opportunity to be celebrated, to excel in their field, and to advance to the next step in their career. The Emerging Artist Award is in its 18th year.

In 2009, Earl and Sandy established the Brewer Foundation. Initially their interest was to provide educational scholarships to students, especially those with good academic achievement and a great deal of fortitude. In 2016 they became focused on the local student food insecurity program. Since then, they have invested heavily to establish or help existing student hunger programs in over 80 schools across the province.

The Brewers continue to follow the need and help with various causes primarily in the fields of healthcare, health and wellbeing, simulation training, the arts, and education, either monetarily or with their skills and expertise. Earl, with Sandy’s whole-hearted support, is deeply committed to UNB’s faculty of law, recently donating $1 million to establish the Brewer Scholarship, which will be second only to the value of the prestigious Beaverbrook Scholarship. Earl and Sandy have also donated to the renovation of the law school student lounge.

Dr. J. Darrell Duffie

Dr. J. Darrell Duffie will receive an honorary doctor of letters at The University of New Brunswick Fredericton campus’s 195th Encaenia Ceremony on Wednesday, May 15.

Dr. Duffie is the Adams Distinguished Professor of Management and Professor of Finance at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. In addition to being considered a prized teacher and mentor, he is recognized as one of the most influential financial economists of his generation.

He began his academic career by earning a bachelor of science in civil engineering at UNB in 1975, and is a distinguished alumnus. He received a master of economics in statistics from the University of New England in 1980 and a PhD from Stanford’s engineering economic systems department in 1984.

A respected expert in the field of finance and economics, Dr. Duffie has been recognized with research awards, fellowships, teaching awards, and a Financial Engineer of the Year Award. He has been a member of numerous academic editorial boards. Dr. Duffie has been an advisor for the World Economic Forum, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Society of Financial Econometrics, and the Scientific Councils of the Swiss Finance Institute and the Duisenberg Institute, among many other international bodies. He was President of the American Finance Association and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Duffie is the author of more than 70 peer-reviewed research articles and numerous books, including How Big Banks Fail – And What to Do about It. His highly regarded and widely cited graduate textbook, Dynamic Asset Pricing Theory, offers a comprehensive exploration of modern mathematical finance.

Duffie has also applied his research to practice, including through his service on the Boards of Directors of organizations such as Moody’s Corporation, iShares Funds and Trusts, and Dimensional Funds. He has provided Congressional testimony to various committees of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.

Dr. Hans S. Keirstead

Dr. Hans S. Keirstead will receive an honorary doctorate of science at The University of New Brunswick Fredericton campus’s 195th Encaenia Ceremony on Wednesday, May 15.

Dr. Keirstead is an internationally known neuroscientist and entrepreneur who, through his research and innovations, has made remarkable contributions to the field of regenerative medicine. He has strong ties to the province of New Brunswick; his father, the late scientist and entrepreneur Kenneth Keirstead, lived in Fredericton and attended UNB.

Dr. Keirstead attended the University of British Columbia where he obtained a bachelor of science in cell biology followed by a doctorate in neurobiology. From 1995 to 1999, he was a post-doctoral fellow in neurobiology at the University of Cambridge.

From 2000 to 2015, Dr. Keirstead was a professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). At UCI, he founded and directed the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center; was awarded over $16 million in research grants; and was founding advisor of the California Stem Cell Agency, where he helped create the $8.5 billion stem cell fund.

Dr. Keirstead’s research led to major biomedical breakthroughs and innovations, including the development of a treatment that can restore movement and function to people with quadriplegic spinal cord injuries. His work in spinal cord injury earned him the distinction of being one of the 100 top scientists of the year in Discover Magazine. Also, he was featured on 60 Minutes in a full segment covering his treatment for spinal cord injury. Dr. Keirstead has successfully developed treatments for people suffering from melanoma, brain and ovarian cancers. He has also led therapy development for immune disorders, motor neuron diseases, retinal diseases and a multi-pathogen vaccine.

As an entrepreneur, he is the founder of four successful biotech companies, and is a longtime biomedical policy advisor for several governments.

In addition to these many achievements, Dr. Keirstead has received a number of major awards throughout his career, including the Distinguished Award for Research, the UCI Academic Senate’s highest honour; the UCI Innovation Award for innovative research leading to corporate and clinical development; the National Institutes of Health’s Solowey Award for the most promising scientist of the year; and Singularity University’s Touching One Billion People Award.