Yesterday, our province felt the loss of Donald R. Sobey, DCL’13: exemplary citizen, extraordinary business leader, champion of Nova Scotia and his community of Stellarton, life force to the contemporary Canadian art scene and, as it happens, friend of King’s. On behalf of our community—and especially the eight (and counting) current Donald R. Sobey Family Scholars and the 11 who have already graduated—we mark his passing and honour his contribution not only to us, but to the whole post-secondary sector across this province and beyond, in the lowering of our flags.
The opening paragraph of the Citation that was written and read by Dr. Peter O’Brien, King’s public orator, on the occasion of Dr. Sobey receiving his Doctor of Civil Law (honoris causa), is something I’d like to share again on this occasion.
“Donald Sobey’s name has become familiar to generations of Canadians in Atlantic Canada and beyond, for they have been fed by the eponymous chain of grocery stores begun by his grandfather almost a century ago. Yet during his long career in the Sobeys family of businesses, Mr. Sobey has made it his personal business to provide other forms of nurture as well, feeding his fellow citizens’ material, educational, aesthetic and spiritual needs in a robust parallel career of philanthropy.”
At King’s, Dr. Sobey’s philanthropy extended beyond his scholarship. He and his son, Rob Sobey, have been formidable hosts. Part of the Sobey family’s offering to King’s Sobey Scholars is an annual gathering, a feast, at Crombie House. There, students enjoy a plentiful lobster dinner, lively conversation, and the opportunity to see one of Canada’s great art collections. Some of that joyous experience can be seen here.
The last time I wrote to Donald Sobey was to thank him for his support for the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia that will be iconic for our city, and our country. Our condolences to his business colleagues and most especially, his family and friends.
President and Vice-Chancellor