Nova Scotia

Brian Mulroney unveils plans for new St. FX institute and hall

Former prime minister got his political start in Antigonish, and helped raise $55M for his alma mater

The Canadian Press

October 26, 2016

Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney speaks following the announcement of the $60 million Brian Mulroney Institute of Government and Mulroney Hall at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

Canada's 18th prime minister is in Antigonish, N.S., this morning to unveil plans for the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government at St. Francis Xavier University, and construction of Mulroney Hall.

Mulroney was joined at his alma mater by his wife Mila and his daughter, Caroline Mulroney Lapham. He graduated from St. FX in 1959 with a degree in political science that he'd soon put to use. He also helped raise $55 million for the institute and hall. 

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Nova Scotia put $5 million into the project. 

'Wonderful memories' of St. FX

"I have so many wonderful memories of my time at St. FX," Mulroney said in a news release. "It's where I made lifelong friendships, and just as importantly it set me on a course of lifelong learning, launching my career in politics, leadership, democratic values and public service. In that spirit I wanted to give back to St. FX. This new institute is aimed at teaching those important values, and graduating future generations of leaders."

He joined the Conservatives while studying at St. FX and campaigned for the provincial party in 1956. In 1983, he won a by-election in Central Nova to enter the House of Commons. A year later he became prime minister.

Brian Mulroney and fellow St. Francis Xavier University alumnus Frank McKenna, former N.B. premier, share a laugh. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

$1M bursary for Indigenous Canadians

The project is unusual because it will focus on undergraduate students. The new, $60-million institute will study public policy and governance, areas of academic pursuit that are typically only available at the graduate level.

The project includes endowments for academic chairs and student scholarships and bursaries.

Mulroney Hall will offer space for teaching and research, and house the institute. The institute will include exhibits displaying some of Mulroney's personal memorabilia, such as letters from Nelson Mandela, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The $20-million endowment will go to academic chairs, student scholarships and bursaries. That includes a $1-million bursary for Indigenous Canadians. 

Students will begin attending the Mulroney Institute of Government in 2017. Construction of Mulroney Hall will be completed late in 2018.

Mulroney applauds as his wife Mila affectionately acknowledges their daughter Caroline Mulroney Lapham. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)
Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney is greeted by students and supporters following the announcement of the $60 million Brian Mulroney Institute of Government and Mulroney Hall. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)
With files from CBC
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