Former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna donated $1 million to St. Thomas University on Thursday. (St. Thomas University)

Former premier Frank McKenna has pledged $1 million to St. Thomas University to help the school create an endowment at the Communications and Public Policy Centre.

The centre was set up last November and will be named after the former New Brunswick premier.

The funding, from McKenna and his wife Julie, will fund a distinguished speaker series, public policy lectures, student scholarships, symposiums, public policy forums and student research.

"Julie and I are fortunate to be in a position where we can make a difference in the lives of St. Thomas University students, and support them as they pursue and develop competencies and a desire to work with complex public policy issues," McKenna said in a statement.

"The centre, the distinguished speaker series, and new scholarships will add value to an already exceptional undergraduate student experience at St. Thomas University."

The $1-million donation is the largest the university has received from a single donor.

McKenna was premier of New Brunswick from 1987 to 1997.

Dawn Russell, the president of St. Thomas University, said the liberal arts school wants to become a leader in communications and public policy.

"The modern study of communications demands an understanding of the complex ways of engaging citizens rather than simply informing them and this happens while policy is being developed and implemented.  We want our students to explore this dynamic and excel in this profession, for whatever cause inspires them," Russell said in a statement.