Bob Stead poses with his Acadia licence plate outside his Wolfville home. -
By Wendy Elliott
Bob Stead is such a perennial ambassador for Acadia University, he has Acadia on his license plate.
On April 27, Stead will be honoured in Halifax by alumni and friends during the 11th annual Acadia Alumni Dinner.
“It’s a bit embarrassing,” he says. “I didn’t expect to be congratulated.”
One of two Distinguished Alumni Award winners this year, Stead is eagerly anticipating his 50th reunion this summer. It will take place July 12–14.
He says his class has decided to contribute a part for the organ in Manning Chapel in memory of the late registrar, Ruby Mae Thompson.
“She was incredibly wonderful to every student at Acadia,” he said.
About half a dozen retired staff members are being invited to the reunion, Stead noted.
“Eric Hansen (who taught chemistry) was the best teacher I ever had.”
In his speech on April 27, Stead will examine his years at Acadia. A lad from a farm on PEI, he was initially homesick, but “people were so caring and forthright, I worked my butt off. I was young and had lots of energy.”
He can still recall the excitement of graduation, which happened to fall on his birthday and Mother’s Day that year.
A graduate of the class of 1963, the former Wolfville mayor stayed around Acadia a lot longer as director of admissions. He began working for the university in 1969 as assistant registrar, under David Green.
Stead spent 15 years as mayor and served as a town councillor for nine years, beginning in 1988, before he retired from politics last October. Under his leadership, Wolfville became the first town in Nova Scotia to adopt by-laws that made all indoor public places 100 per cent smoke free. On behalf of the town, he accepted the 2008 Courage in Public Policy Award from the Canadian Cancer Society.
He was also instrumental in the creation of the Wolfville Watershed Nature Preserve.
Stead doesn’t see himself as the type to own a vanity license plate, but over 20 years ago, he decided to see if the Acadia name was available.
“By golly it was. It was sheer luck and it connects me with an institution that was already so important (to me),” he said.