Teachers and industrialists: the people behind Mount Allison’s building names on campus

Despite the variety of names gracing the buildings on Mount Allison’s campus, nearly half of those which bear names were financed and named for or by either the Bell family or Sidney A. Windsor.

Nine of the 22 active buildings on campus named after individuals were primarily paid for by these two families, who have donated large sums of money to the university over the years.

Of these 22 buildings, 18 are named after benefactors or their families. Four bear the names of prominent faculty, all of whom were either professors of mathematics or science. None of the buildings are named after staff.

Five buildings on campus are named after women. Two of the buildings are named for Marjorie Young Bell, and the other three are named after some of Windsor’s female relatives. Windsor, and his foundation, which continued his charitable work after his death, naming North side buildings after female family members from both sides of his family.

Below are biographical details of the people after whom the buildings are named.

Library – Ralph Pickard Bell

Ralph Pickard Bell was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on March 28, 1886, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Allison College in 1907. The Pickard-Bell family was noted for its long history of involvement with the institution, and Ralph’s mother, Mary Emrancy Pickard, taught at the Female Academy. He eventually became the first Chancellor of Mt. A University in 1960, remaining in office until 1968. After moving out west to work for the Fairbanks company, the couple returned home to Halifax in 1910. From then on, Bell was involved in the management of the family business, A.M. Bell and Company, Limited, until 1913, when he became involved in the Nova Scotia Good Roads Association. After leaving the family business, Bell became involved in land speculation throughout the development of Halifax’s Rosebank Park. Bell served as Secretary of the Halifax Relief Commission in the wake of the 1917 Halifax explosion, and as the Director General for Aircraft Production in Canada from 1940-1944. It is following his tenure at the Halifax Relief Commission that he became heavily involved with the Canadian Pulpwood Association. Bell married Marjorie Young Smith, a second marriage for both of them, in 1944. Bell became Mt. A’s first chancellor in 1960. The Ralph Pickard Bell Library, opened in 1971, was named after him. Bell died March 3, 1975 at his home, ‘High Head,’ at Murder Point in Lunenberg County, N.S.

Convocation Hall and the music conservatory – Marjorie Young (Smith) Bell

Born in Moncton, New Brunswick, in 1894, Marjorie Young Bell was Ralph Pickard Bell’s second wife. Her parents, John William Young Smith and Cornelia deLancey (Robinson) Smith were wealthy and influential, and left their fortunes to Marjorie on their deaths in 1936 and 1940 respectly. At the time of their marriage in 1944 in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Ralph and Marjorie both had sizable fortunes. When Young Bell died in 1964, she left a large bequest to the university, which was managed by Ralph until his death. Both Convocation Hall and the music conservatory bear her name.

Hart Hall – Jairus Hart

The construction of Hart Hall was funded by Jairus Hart, born March 1st, 1819 in Guysborough, Nova Scotia to Tyrus and Margaret (Hull) Hart. Merchant and philanthropist of the late 19th century, he helped establish Young & Hart, one of the “largest flour and West India concerns in the Provinces.” Following his retirement from active business, he held office as director, and then president, of the Bank of Nova Scotia. With a fortune worth nearly half a million dollars, Hart was one of Halifax’s wealthiest citizens. Upon his death in 1906, as one of Halifax’s oldest citizens, he requested in his will that $20,000 from his estate be donated the establishment of a Ladies College in Sackville, N.B. Hart Hall, which opened in 1910, originally held classrooms and dorm rooms. An addition was made to the building in 1920.

Barclay Building – Ross Barclay

Lawrence Ross Coates Barclay was born on Oct. 24, 1928 in Wentworth, N.S. He attended Mount Allison University, and graduated with a BSc.  in Honours Chemistry in 1950 and an MSc. in 1951.  He obtained a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from McMaster University in 1957.  He was originally appointed as a lecturer in Chemistry at Mount Allison University in 1951 and went on to be a Carnegie Professor of Chemistry and the Head of the Department (1967-1982). He retired from teaching in 1994.  That same year the Chemistry building was renamed the Barclay building in his honour.  The following year he was made a professor emeritus at the spring convocation in 1995 and continues to serve as a University Research Professor.  He was appointed as a member of the Order of Canada in 2000.  He resides in Sackville, New Brunswick.

Crabtree Building – Harold Crabtree

Harold Roy Crabtree was born on  March 2, 1918 in Montreal, Quebec, the son of Harold and Louisa Alberta (Stafford) Crabtree. He graduated from Lower Canada College and received his BSc from McGill University in 1939.  During the Second World War, he joined the Canadian Army and served as an officer overseas and was appointed an honorary colonel of the Royal Canadian Hussars of Montreal. He began his business career in 1956 with the Woods Manufacturing Company; within ten years, he was elected chairman and president. He held directorships in the Bank of Montreal, the Montreal Trust Company and Sun Life Assurance Company, along with various other Canadian companies. He served on the Board of Governors of Sir George Williams and Bishops Universities and the Board of Regents of Mount Allison University.  In 1968,  he became Mt. A’s second chancellor and assumed these functions until 1977. Crabtree married Caroline Ruth Hanna in 1945; they had three children, Sandra, Bruce and Stafford. Dr. Crabtree died on June 2, 1986.

Flemington Building – Ross Flemington

Dedicated on Oct. 21, 1931, before being renamed in 1970 to the William Thomas Ross Flemington Building, Flemington is named after Ross Flemington, a long time member of the Mount Allison community. Flemington grew up in Newfoundland before moving to Fredericton to attend high school. Following graduation, he went on to graduate from Mt. A with an honours degree in Biology in 1922. He further pursued graduate studies at Mount Allison. Flemington held a teaching position from 1922 until 1939, lecturing in the Education Faculty. In the meantime, he was made headmaster of the Mount Allison Academy in 1930 and held this position until 1945. It was in 1945 that he went on to become president of Mount Allison University, remaining in office until 1962. Described as a masterful public speaker, Flemington held many positions outside of Mount Allison. He was President of the National Conference of Canadian Universities and of the Canadian Universities Foundation, Director of Education in the External Aid Office of the Department of External Affairs, Royal Commissioner and New Brunswick Ombudsman. Flemington was a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I, and “Principal Protestant Chaplain Overseas” during World War II. Flemington is buried in the Sackville Rural Cemetery on York Street.

The Centre for the Arts – Purdy Crawford

Purdy Crawford was born in 1931 in Five Islands, Nova Scotia and earned a bachelor of arts degree from Mount Allison in 1952. Following his time at Mt. A, he went on to earn a law degree at Dalhousie University before going on to complete a Master of Laws at Harvard Law School in 1956. After a stint working in his field of study, it was in 1987 that Crawford became chief executive of Imasco Ltd. which, at the time, held Imperial Tobacco, Canada Trust and Shoppers Drug Mart. He was Mount Allison’s fifth chancellor. The recently opened Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts bears his name.

Student Centre – Wallace McCain

Wallace McCain, born in Florenceville, N.B. on April 9, 1930, was the co-founder of McCain Foods Limited. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Allison in 1951. His estimated net worth of $US 2.3 billion as of March 2011 made him the country’s 13th richest individual. Margaret McCain, Wallace’s wife, also earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Mt. A. She was New Brunswick’s first female Lieutenant Governor from 1994 to 1997, and prior to that, chancellor of Mt. A from 1986 to 1994. George J. Trueman, after whom Trueman House was named, was her great uncle. The Wallace McCain Student Centre occupies the extensively renovated Trueman House. The exterior has been relatively untouched, while the interior was completely revamped. Headquartered in Florenceville-Bristol, N.B., McCain Foods is one of the world’s largest producer of french fries and oven-ready frozen products.

Campbell Hall – Sarah Campbell

Campbell Hall was built in 2004, replacing the long-standing Palmer Hall, which had been built in 1934. The newest residence on campus is named after Sarah Campbell, Sidney Windsor’s great grandmother. This “completed the circle,” according to the Windsor Foundation, both of North Side buildings, and of naming residences after Windsor’s female ancestors. The cost of $13.75 million was funded entirely by the Windsor Foundation. The university’s 15th residence, it is the fifth building to be built on this location: fire destroyed the first three buildings in 1866, 1882 and 1933, when it belonged to the Mount Allison Academy.

Thornton House – O.B. Thornton

Edwards and Thornton House were built simultaneously in 1969. Funding of $1.2 million was  provided by the Windsor Foundation, which covered the entirety of the costs. Edwards was named after Sidney A. Windsor’s maternal great grandmother, while Thornton was named after the late O.B. Thornton, first president of the Windsor Foundation.

Bigelow House – Harold E. Bigelow

Bigelow was named after Harold E. Bigelow, professor of chemistry at Mount Allison from 1914 to 1947 and Dean of Men. “His work in chemical research is recognized the world over,” according to the town of Sackville’s website. He is buried in the Sackville Rural Cemetery on York Street.

Dunn Building – Sir James Dunn

Opened on Oct. 14, 2000, it is named after Sir James Hammet Dunn, first Baronet of Bathurst. Dunn was born on Oct. 29, 1874 in St-Peters, on the outskirts of Bathurst, N.B. After completing his law degree at Dalhousie university in 1899, he went on to become an influential stockbroker on the Montreal Stock Exchange. In 1905, Dunn set up residency in London, one of the era’s most important financial markets. He had long lasting relationships with a number of the era’s influential artists, including Salvador Dalí and Augustus John. Many of these portraits, including Dalí’s portrait of Dunn and Marcia Anastasia Christoforides, his third wife, are exhibited at Fredericton’s Beaverbrook Gallery. In fact, Dunn maintained a strong friendship with Max Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook. Many post-secondary institutions across the Maritimes have buildings bearing Dunn’s name.

Jennings Hall – Susan Jennings

Jennings Hall, otherwise known as ‘meal hall,’ was named after Susan Jennings, Sidney Windsor’s maternal grandmother. It was completed in 1965.

Owens Art Gallery – John Owens

The Owens Art Gallery, opened in 1894, originated with an agreement between Mount Allison and John Owens, a successful ship builder and operator of allied commercial enterprises. Owens pledged to donate his collection to any institution that agreed to provide a building to house the pieces, along naming the building the Owens Museum of Fine Arts. His collection consisted of mostly 18th and 19th century European and North American art.

Windsor Hall and the Windsor Quad – Sidney A. Windsor

To this day, Sidney A. Windsor’s Windsor Foundation remains one of Mount Allison’s primary benefactors. A native of Miscou Harbour, N.B., Windsor attended the Mount Allison Boys’ Academy from 1907-08 to complete his studies at Mount Allison between 1908-09. Windsor made the bulk of his fortune in the canning industry. at the time of his death, on Sept 18, 1960, he was president of the Windsor Canning Company. He remained a bachelor throughout the course of his life. The Windsor Foundation has funded a majority of the residences across campus. The distinction between “halls” and “houses” had nothing to do with the size of the building: houses hosted men, while halls hosted women.

Harper Hall – Ella Harper

Harper, built in 1965, was named after Sidney A. Windsor’s mother, Ella Harper.

Bennett House – R. V. Bennett

Facing York Street is Bennett House, named after the primary donor, Captain Ronald V. Bennett. Built in concert with Bigelow House, its neighbouring residence, it opened in 1959. Bennett was the brother of R.B. Bennett, who was prime minister from 1930 to 1935.

Hunton House – Sidney Hunton

Hunton House is named after Sidney Hunton, professor of mathematics at Mount Allison. He retired in 1933, after fifty-one years of teaching. Born in Ottawa, he studied at McGill before moving to Sackville. Hunton was awarded an honorary degree from the university for his many accomplishments. For the majority of his career, Hunton was the only professor of mathematics at Mt. A. He passed away in 1941; he is buried in the Sackville Rural Cemetery.

Jean-Sébastien Comeau