George Bishop (’65)
George Bishop (’65) is the Chairman and a Director of Scotia Investment Limited where, until retirement last year, he had served as President and CEO. He is the Chairman and a Director of Crown Fibre Tube Inc., Maritime Paper Products Limited, Scotia Recycling Limited, Minas Basin Pulp and Power Company Limited, and CKF Inc. He also serves as a director of Armour Transportation Inc. and Heritage Gas Limited. A member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, he is a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Award and is a Fellow Chartered Accountant. In 2006, he received an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from Acadia University.
“Our first family connection to Acadia,” he says, “was my paternal grandfather, George Lovett Watson Bishop, who graduated in 1899 with a Bachelor of Arts. My maternal grandmother, Lena Isabell (Coldwell) Jodrey, graduated with a Business Certificate in 1909 and 54 years later her husband, Roy A. Jodrey, was honored with an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from Acadia University.
“From the second generation my mother, Florence Mae Jodrey, graduated in 1934 with a BA. From the third generation my brother, Dr. Roy Bishop, graduated from and later returned to Acadia to teach in the physics department after completing his post-graduate studies. My late sister Marianne graduated from Acadia as did my younger sister Joan and I, so all four of my immediate family went to Acadia. There was never any pressure to go there; we just all individually chose Acadia.
“I graduated from Hantsport High School, and worked for a year at the Bank of Nova Scotia before going to university. After a year of working in the bank as a teller, I thought maybe I should go back to school and get some more education. Because my family was in business, I knew from day one that was where I wanted to end up, so I pursued a business degree at Acadia. It was a small faculty, but we had great professors. Sheldon Fountain lectured in finance at that time and he and his family have contributed generously of their time and resources to the university.
“What makes Acadia such a special place? I believe that first and foremost it’s the attitude of the professors. They really want to work with the students. It is hard to believe that Acadia’s professors are that different from other universities, but somehow they seem to be. They seem to care more about the students. When I was a freshman, I remember being so impressed that it wasn’t many days before each professor knew every single one of their students by name.
“There were some characters at Acadia back then, too. In my final year, I went to Dr. Haley’s famous math class and there was a mix-up in the scheduling of the room. English Bible students were scheduled for the same time in the same room so they kept coming in. They’d ask, ‘Is this English Bible?’ and Dr. Haley would say, ‘No, no, it’s math,’ but English Bible students kept wandering in. Finally after four or five of them came and said, ‘Is this English Bible?’ he said, ‘Yes, it is. Take a seat.’
And Dr. Haley kept inviting them in. The rest of the class could hardly keep a straight face. So then he started to do these long equations on the board – all the time with this dramatic gesturing. He’d say, ‘And the three wise men…’ and all his illustrations were Biblical stories as he wrote lengthy mathematical equations on the board. It was hilarious. I met his daughter this year for the first time and I told her that story and she said, ‘Were you in that class?” Apparently when Dr. Haley came home that day, he recited to his wife and children what his day had been like.
“Acadia graduates have always had a history of giving back. Some evidence of that can be seen in the names on the residences and faculty buildings. Even people who didn’t attend Acadia ended up supporting the university. And certainly a lot of the families who had some wealth have been great patrons: families such as the Irvings, the Fountains and many others have been wonderful benefactors. I was always conscious of that. In my own family my mom and dad were supportive and so were my uncles and aunts, so there was that kind of precedent. People gave of their time and their resources and supported the university.
“Acadia was and continues to be an excellent undergraduate school. It prepared me for a long and rewarding career. With the perspective of time I sometimes ask myself, ‘Would I take the same career path if I were starting out again today?’ Maybe, however architecture and engineering have always fascinated me. One always wonders about such things. I don’t have an answer, but I know that Acadia would have prepared me well for any of those careers.”