The tradition of celebrating the founders of the university began on 24 June 1830 at the first "Encaenia or Annual Commemoration of the Foundation of the University." Commemorative orations, which gave recognition to the seven men who signed the original petition praying for the establishment "of an academy or school of liberal arts and sciences...", formed part of Encaenial exercises until the 1860s when observance of the occasion ceased. It wasn't until 1942, at the urging of a group of undergraduate students, including Colin B. Mackay (BA '42, LLD '55, President of UNB 1953-69), that the ceremony was re-instituted and celebrated separately.
Both the traditional and modern Founders' Day celebrations were established to honour the people who brought UNB into being and to give recognition to those who fostered the creative moments in its history. After its revival in 1942, the ceremony was held annually until 1968. Founders' Day has been held only twice since: in October 1979 to celebrate the 100th birthday of the late Lord Beaverbrook, and in October 1980 on the inauguration of the W. Stewart MacNutt Memorial Lecture Series.
The following three Founders Day addresses (from the more than 40 that make up Archives' UA Case 71) were chosen for inclusion in this project as they embody the spirit of the Founders of UNB.