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Biographical Sketch: James Downey was born April 20, 1939 in Winterton, Newfoundland. He received a BA, BEd and MA from Memorial University, followed by a PhD from the University of London in 1966. His dissertation on eighteenth century clerics was published in 1969 under the title, The Eighteenth Century Pulpit.
In 1966, he joined the English Department at Carleton University where he was appointed Chairman of the Dept. Of English in 1972, Dean of Arts in 1976 and Vice-President Academic in 1978. In 1980 he was installed as President of the University of New Brunswick, a position he held for ten years. After his retirement from the presidency, he remained affiliated with the UNB English Department until 1993.
In November of 1991, when Premier Frank McKenna established the Commission on Excellence in Education, James Downey and Aldea Landry, were appointed Co-commissioners. In May of 1992 their first report, "Schools for a New Century", was presented, followed by "To Live and Learn : the Challenge of Education and Training" in June 1993.
Downey became president of the University of Waterloo in April 1993, a position he retired from in 1998.
Scope and Content: This fonds contains typescripts of 215 speeches given by James Downey while President of the University of New Brunswick, 1980-1990. The speeches reflect Downey's widespread popularity as a public speaker, both within the university community and externally. Included are introductory remarks as well as full speeches; the formats range from notes to full text. Of particular note is the speech from his installation (Oct. 16, 1980), encaenial and convocation remarks, tributes to retirees and comments at official openings.
Also included in the fonds are a few of the official greetings sent to Downey on the occasion of his installation as UNB president.
The fonds is arranged in two series : speeches and greetings. Within
each series, arrangement is chronological.
Title: Title based on the name of the creator.
Immediate Source of Acquisition: The speeches were deposited by James Downey in Sept. 1990, followed by the official greetings on July 7, 1993.
Associated material: The personal fonds of James Downey is located at the University of Waterloo Archives.
Related material : James Downey's official papers as UNB President are found in the UNB Archives. Also, University Archives Pamphlet Case 135 contains some biographical material on Downey, as well as copies of a few speeches and articles.