Photographic Record of the Heads/Presidents of the College of New Brunswick, King's College and UNB

In May 1944, Clarence McNaughton Steeves (BAI, 1905; MSc 1913; LLD 1947) donated "a photographic representation of the succesive heads of the University from 1811 to 1944." (James Sommerville to Norman A.M. MacKenzie) These photographs, supplemented with additional photos of the more recent Presidents, were hung in the President's Office in Sir Howard Douglas Hall and remained there until ca. 1980. The photographs were transferred to UNB Archives in 2007. This site features electronic versions of the Steeves' photographs (with additional post-1980 images from the Archives' photograph collection) along with a thumbnail sketch of each president's major achievements.

Note - Coming Soon: images of the presidents' official portraits that are displayed in the Great Hall of Sir Howard Douglas Hall.

James Somerville - Term of Office 1820-1828

James Somerville

  • b. c. 1775, near Forfar, Scotland - d. 10 September, 1852 [Edinburgh] Scotland
  • appointed principal preceptor for the Collegiate School, 1811
  • served as president, College of New Brunswick, 1820-1828
  • first college-level courses taught by Sommerville; the first two graduates of 1828 were taught solely by Somerville
  • named acting head of King’s College in 1829; later appointed professor of divinity and metaphysics
  • official portrait painted by Albert Gallatin Hoit (1838)

Edwin Jacob - Term of Office 1829-1859

Edwin Jacob

  • b. 1793 England - d.1868 [Cardigan Settlement], NB
  • initially known as vice-president of King’s College, since Archdeacon George Coster was the titular president; but after 1848, his office was known as that of “Principal”
  • taught classical literature, history and moral philosophy; later also taught divinity
  • instituted the first Encaenia
  • often in conflict with colleagues at the College, and with local government officials as he championed a classical curriculum and resisted pressure to make the college curriculum more practical
  • after establishment of UNB in 1859, as a clergyman, he was no longer eligible to serve as president; became professor of classics
  • official portrait painted by Charles MacGregor

Joseph R. Hea - Term of Office 1860-1861

Joseph R. Hea

  • b. 10 March 1823 Cork, Ireland - d. 8 January 1905, Grand Valley, Dufferin Co., Ontario
  • ‘graduated’ from King’s College in 1849 “probably did not attend lectures at Fredericton; under an 1843 provision, as a non-resident student, could write exams for three successive years without actually attending classes"
  • taught at the Sackville Academy from 1849-1851
  • first president of UNB after its re-chartering in 1859
  • students complained he was a harsh disciplinarian
  • his tenure was stormy, as Edwin Jacob refused to relinquish any of his Presidential duties; after only one year, Hea was asked to resign
  • official portrait painted by Lucy Jarvis

William Brydone Jack - Term of Office 1861-1885

William Brydone Jack

  • b. 23 November 1819 Finwal, Dumfriesshire, Scotland - d. 23 November 1886 Fredericton
  • came to King’s College in 1840 to teach mathematics and natural philosophy (ie. Physics, astronomy and chemistry)
  • designed the first operational Observatory in Canada which was built on campus in 1851
  • encouraged a more diversified curriculum, to include theoretical science
  • encouraged the “higher mental training of females”
  • travelled widely throughout New Brunswick bringing UNB to the attention of many high school students
  • encouraged a closer integration of the public school and university-level programmes of study
  • during his 24-years as president he oversaw several building projects, the first university investments committee was organised and the first two privately funded scholarships were established
  • official portrait painted by J.W.L. Forster [John Wycliffe Lowes Forster]

Thomas Harrison - Term of Office 1885-1906

Thomas Harrison

  • b. 24 October 1839 Sheffield, NB - d. 18 September 1906 Fredericton
  • professor of English and Moral Philosophy at UNB in 1870; after 1885, president and professor of Mathematics
  • first native New Brunswicker to serve as president
  • University Act changed in 1891: title of "President" changed to "Chancellor"; title of "President" passed to the Provincial Chief Superintendent of Education. Chancellor retained duties of President; Chief Superintendent presided over University’s governing body (Senate). Arrangement remained in place until 1931
  • women first admitted (1896) during his presidency
  • introduced extension classes in Saint John
  • introduced a four-year BA programme and established a BSc degree
  • introduced new professorships: Loring W. Bailey, William Stockley, Douglas Hyde
  • official portrait painted by Charles MacGregor

Cecil Charles Jones - Term of Office 1906-1940

Cecil Charles Jones

  • b. 11 February 1872, Boundary Creek, Westmorland Co., NB - d. 19 August 1943, Fredericton
  • president and chancellor, until 1931; president thereafter
  • first UNB graduate to become president
  • graduated in 1897; class valedictorian; active on debating team, rugby player, and in YMCA
  • mathematics professor
  • presided over extensive developments on campus both physical and intellectual: established Forestry programme; initiated affiliation with Saint John Law School and established Summer School in Fredericton
  • over his 34-year tenure as president, very popular with the student body; strongly affiliated with students serving in the Great War and active in fund-raising for Memorial Hall
  • first president to have a university building named for him - Jones House, 1958
  • official portrait painted by Charles MacGregor

Norman A.M. MacKenzie - Term of Office 1940-1944

Norman A.M. MacKenzie

  • b. 5 January 1894, Pugwash, NS - d. 26 January 1986, Vancouver BC
  • law professor before joining UNB
  • war-time president
  • urged the incorporation of the province’s Normal Schools into the University – not accomplished until the 1960s
  • extended UNB’s contact with “the outside world” … and lobbied government for veteran’s educational benefits
  • later became president of UBC
  • official portrait painted by Charles MacGregor

Milton F. Gregg - Term of Office 1944-1947

Milton F. Gregg

  • b. 10 April 1892, Mountain Dale [Snider Mountain], King’s Co., NB - d. 13 March 1978 Fredericton
  • distinguished military career in First World War: MC, with bar, and Victoria Cross
  • handled the sudden increase in the number of students: between 1944-45 and 1946, the enrollment grew from a predicted 450 (770 in actuality) to 1340 students
  • responsible for extensive re-organisation of University administration: created a Board of Deans and set up four faculties and five new departments
  • first ‘branch campus’ established, known as Alexander College
  • left UNB to serve in federal cabinet of Mackenzie King
  • official portrait painted by Lilias Torrance Newton

A. Foster Baird - Acting President - 1948

A. Foster Baird

  • b. 6 December 1891 Chipman - d. 12 September 1986 Fredericton












Albert W. Trueman - Term of Office 1948-1953

Albert W. Trueman

  • b. 1902, Waverley, PA - d. 29 June 1988, Ottawa
  • oversaw affiliation of Teachers’ College with UNB
  • created separate department of psychology
  • re-established Adult Education
  • established extension courses in Saint John in 1950
  • recommended revisions to the UNB Act
  • left UNB to become chairman of the National Film Board
  • official portrait painted by Lilias Torrance Newton

C.W. (Bill) Argue - Acting President 1953

C.W. Argue

  • b. 17 October 1904 Vancouver - d. 4 February 1975 Fredericton










Colin B. Mackay - Term of Office 1953-1969

Colin B. Mackay

  • b. 26 July 1920, Rothesay, NB - d. 25 November 2003, Rothesay/Saint John, NB
  • UNB undergraduate, Class of 1942
  • only 33 years old when appointed – youngest person to become president of UNB
  • presided over an unprecedented period of growth for UNB: new buildings included Student Centre (Alumni Memorial Building), Chemistry building, several men’s residences, Lady Dunn Hall, Loring Bailey Hall
  • a time of extensive changes in university governance across Canada; creation of the UNB Board of Governors to look after administrative and business matters, and a new Senate was created to oversee academic affairs
  • enrolment increased from c. 670 students to over 4700
  • at the time of his retirement UNB boasted 27 degree programmes
  • number of faculty jumped from fewer than 100 to nearly 400
  • presided over establishment of UNBSJ
  • Teachers’ College absorbed by UNB
  • tenure ended during a period of wide-spread student unrest
  • official portrait painted by Lucy Jarvis

James O. Dineen - Term of Office 1970-1972

James O. Dineen

  • b. 24 July 1920, Hampton, NB - d. 21 September 1975, Fredericton
  • UNB graduate in electrical engineering, class of 1940; Rhodes scholar
  • 1941 taught at UNB’s Radio School
  • 1942 assistant professor Electrical Engineering, later becoming associate professor and head of the department
  • 1957 dean of engineering
  • acting president in 1969
  • championed advanced scholarship and research
  • presided over the resulting transition in UNB’s governance, after the "Strax Affair"
  • term as president cut short by ill-health
  • official portrait painted by Thomas Reid (T.R.) MacDonald

Desmond Pacey - Acting President 1972

Desmond Pacey
  • b. 1 May 1917 Dunedin, New Zealand - d. 4 July 1975 Fredericton








John M. Anderson - Term of Office 1973-1980

John M. Anderson

  • b. 1926, Toronto
  • c. 1958-1963 assistant professor of biology
  • returned to NB in 1967 as director of the Fisheries Research Board, connect with the Biological Research Station at St. Andrews
  • as President, continued campus expansion begun by Dr. Mackay
  • encouraged new programmes and expanded UNB’s research capacity
  • succeeded during difficult economic time
  • official portrait painted by Marjory Donaldson

Thomas J. Condon - Acting President 1979-1980

Thomas J. Condon

  • b. 27 July 1930 New Haven, Connecticut








James Downey - Term of Office 1980-1990

James Downey
  • b. 20 April 1939, Winterton, NL
  • period of fiscal restraint
  • •expanded programmes and facilities on both campuses
  • more autonomy for UNBSJ
  • gifted speaker and raconteur, bringing UNB’s story to many campus and community groups
  • noted as "a student's president"
  • period of great change: new President (Downey), new V-P Academic (Dr. Robert Burridge), new Chancellor (Lady Aitken); faculty certified for collective bargaining as AUNBT
  • fiscal restraint of the 1970s continued; management of the University's financial resources became a principal challenge
  • dire prospects for enrolment predicted - BUT enrolment increased in all categories over the 1980s
  • established and chaired the Committee to Review Inter-Campus Relations (CRICR) which led to the formation of a separate academic senate for UNBSJ and a new measure of autonomy and identity
  • presided over the planning for the ambitious bi-centennial celebrations of 1985
  • Third-Century Fund Campaign launched in 1982, and later surpassed its goal of $10 Million
  • UNB Development Office established in 1984 to follow up and build upon the campaign's success
  • Futures Fund endowment established in 1986
  • two new faculties established: Administration; Computer Science; new undergraduate programmes introduced, including women's studies and several new Masters' and PhD level programmes introduced
  • in Fredericton, new buildings included Gillin Hall, Singer Hall and an addition to Ludlow Hall; in Saint John, a new life sciences lab was opened
  • official portrait painted by Christian Nicholson

Robin L. Armstrong - Term of Office 1990-1996

Robin L. Armstrong
  • b. 14 May 1935 Galt, Ontario
  • developed university-wide strategic planning exercise
  • expanded research partnership developed
  • most ambitious fund-raising drive, to date, undertaken: Venture Campaign
  • developed a university-wide strategic objectives plan, resulting in a Mission Statement and a Statement of Strategic Objectives
  • expanded UNB's research partnerships; created the position of Vice-President for International Co-operation and Research (held by Dr. Frank Wilson)
  • new research chairs and research centres established (eg. space science, pulping technology, research into family violence)
  • active faculty member and world-class scholar who continued to supervise graduate students
  • on the strength of his scholarly reputation, attracted a state-of-the-art MRI centre
  • under his leadership, the Venture fund-raising campaign exceeded its $30 Million target
  • extensive travel, visiting alumni to raise and maintain UNB's profile nationally and internationally
  • first residence on Saint John campus opened - Sir James Dunn Hall
  • reformed Encaenia celebrations, creating the present three-ceremony structure
  • student recruitment process was revamped
  • official portrait painted by Fred Ross

Elizabeth Parr-Johnston - Term of Office 1996-2002

Elizabeth Parr-Johnston
  • b. August 1939, Brooklyn, NY
  • first female president of UNB
  • initiated the “Renewal process”
  • established several new chairs and centres (e.g. University Women’s Centre)
  • oversaw creation of Renaissance College
  • construction of new buildings on both campuses
  • attracted National Research Council E-Commerce Centre to campus
  • doubled scholarship funding
  • re-organisation of academic administration to strengthen key areas
  • established an improved financial planning and control structure
  • official portrait painted by Stephen Scott

John McLaughlin - Term of Office 2002-2009

John McLaughlin
  • b. 14 March 1947, Fredericton (Devon)
  • fourth UNB graduate to have become president (BScSE, 1969; MScSE, 1971)
  • joined faculty in 1972
  • Over the past 25 years, held increasingly responsible administrative positions:
  • 1985-1991 chair, geodesy & geomatics engineering deptartment
  • 1997-2000 vice-president (Research & International Co-operation)
  • 2000-20002 vice-president (Academic)
  • annual research revenues more than doubled
  • a visionary land management plan was developed for both campuses
  • two new residences and a laboratory-classroom building for the world-class Canadian Rivers Institute were constructed
  • in Fredericton, commercial development began on the 3,000-acre woodlot, the proceeds from which will fund further campus improvements
  • the Sir Howard Douglas Society was established for Dean’s List students whose extracurricular contributions are also exceptional
  • the University reached out to the citizens of the Province through the ‘Next New Brunswick’ initiative, identifying 21 Young Leaders for the 21st Century
  • “making a significant difference” the Forging Our Futures Campaign, the largest-ever in Atlantic Canada, raised more than $100 million
  • named President Emeritus in 2009
  • official portrait painted by Stephen May

H.E.A. "Eddy" Campbell - Term of Office 2009-

Eddy Campbell
  • since arriving at UNB in September 2009, Dr. Campbell has initiated a comprehensive bi-campus strategic planning exercise
  • he has also showed tremendous support for UNB's 225th anniversary celebrations
  • Dr. Campbell came to UNB after five years as Vice-president (Academic)/acting president at Memorial University
  • Prior to his arrival at Memorial University he spent 21 years at Queen's University Queen’s University where he was associate dean faculty of arts and science; and professor and head of department of mathematics and statistics