“Mr. Acadia” shares his favourite Acadia memories

March 22, 2019

William ‘Bill’ Parker (’56) was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec and grew up in Drummondville, Quebec.  He came to Acadia University in 1952, earning a BA in Ecomonics over the next four years, graduating as Life President of the Class of 1956.  During that time he was Students’ Council Representative and Chairman of the Athletic Awards Committee.  A fine athlete, Bill captained the Varsity Axemen hockey team in his junior and senior years; played Varsity Golf; and was a member of the Varsity Track and Field Team that won two Maritime Intercollegiate Championships , in 1953 and 1955.

Following graduation, Bill returned to Quebec, working for American Textile Ltd. in Drummondville, Quebec and then the Iron Ore Company of Canada, Schefferville, Quebec. In 1963 he became Acadia University’s first Director of Alumni Affairs and worked closely with the Executive Committee of the Associated Alumni of Acadia University. That role expanded in 1969 to include Information Services and later, Development.  Bill was appointed Vice-President External Relations in 1985 and was responsible for alumni activities, public affairs, community and government relations, special events and fundraising.  He was involved in raising funds for the construction of several new buildings on campus (including the War Memorial Gymnasium Extension and the Arena) and Academic Scholarships. Bill is known, unofficially, as “Mr. Acadia” because of his dedicated role as Acadia’s Ambassador.

Now retired, Bill received an Honourary Doctorate from his alma mater in 1998, and he and his wife Margaret Ann (Eaton, ’57) remain avid advocates for Acadia. Their children – Derek  (1980), Heather (1981, 1983), David (1984); his brother Gerald (1959),   his mother Elaine D. Rice (1924), his grandmother Lulu Bliss Dobson (1887) – as well other family members, are all Acadia graduates , and their granddaughter is an Acadia student at the present time.

Bill states that he feels fortunate to have participated in athletics under the mentorship of Fred ‘Major’ Kelly, Director of Athletics.  “The Major coached all sports at Acadia and he had a huge impact on my life.  Sportsmanship was most important; there was no time for foolishness and the value of teamwork was crucial.  He was a strict disciplinarian and highly respected by me and all athletes.

“During my years at Acadia I worked with five presidents: Dr. Kirkconnell, Dr. Beveridge, Dr. Sinclair, Dr. Perkin and Dr. Ogilvie.  I also worked with Chancellors H.P. McKeen, Dr. Charles B. Huggins, Dr. Alex Colville, and Dr. William Feindel.

“The most gratifying experience I had at Acadia was with our students and alumni, with whom I have maintained continuous contact and have established lifelong friendships.”

This article originally appeared in Volume I of Acadia’s Voices.