David Hovell (’91): Creating a legacy

1838 Society

David Hovell (BBA ’91) has enjoyed a long relationship with Acadia. He was the third generation in his family to attend, and after graduation, he served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2014 to 2018.

Now, he’s a member of the 1838 Society, which means he has confirmed a legacy gift to Acadia.

“I grew up on campus. My dad, Ernie Hovell (’64), spent his career at Acadia as director of the Career Development Office supporting students,” he says. “Acadia’s School of Business became a natural choice for me given its excellent reputation, recognized core course program, and instilling of student creativity and entrepreneurship.”


“My Acadia experience was transformative, and it’s important for Acadia’s future students to have the chance to experience what I did,” he adds. “As a member of the 1838 Society, planning a gift is an easy step that can have a significant impact. No matter how much or in what form, it's about me making a commitment and acknowledging Acadia was an important part of my early life.”

Two professors had a lasting impact on Hovell. “Maurice Tugwell from the Department of Economics took a genuine approach to learning – he cared about his students,” he says. “And Walter Isenor from the School of Business was a mentor and friend. When I pursued courses in small business and entrepreneurship, Walter made all the difference.”

Isenor taught a fourth-year course requiring students to develop a business plan. Hovell had worked summers at the local John Deere dealership, and that spring, its owner decided to cease operation. “The chance to become a John Deere dealer became my class project and a business venture I pursued after graduation with Walter’s guidance and mentorship,” he says. “In 1995, Planters Equipment Ltd. opened.” Although Hovell left Planters in 2006, today it’s thriving as Green Diamond Equipment.


Isenor also invited Hovell back to class regularly to talk about his entrepreneurial journey. “Walter was exceptional, bringing real life to the classroom and translating that into an educational experience. Looking back, his classes had more influence on me than any other course I took,” Hovell says.

Following a six-year stint working for two provincial premiers, Hovell became the first full-time executive director of the Wolfville Business Development Corporation (WBDC) in 2011. One of the objectives of the WBDC was to position Wolfville as the centre of wine and food in Atlantic Canada. At one meeting, winery owner Pete Luckett said, “What about a British double-decker bus wine tour?”

“Little did I know the idea in a file on the corner of my desk, at the time, would turn into a widely recognized wine tourism business,” Hovell says now.

When Hovell’s WBDC work concluded, he developed and grew Magic Winery Bus. “We've been rolling for 13 seasons, and its success is attributable to also what makes Acadia a unique educational experience: community, cooperation and collaboration,” he says.


David Hovell’s legacy gift will be undesignated, allowing the university to devote it to the area of greatest need. “Alumni may have different gift levels in mind that could be designated for a particular academic program, student support, a building, or other programs they want to acknowledge,” he says.

“I encourage alumni to have a conversation with Donor Relations staff about the many diverse ways to support and have a lasting impact on Acadia and its students.”

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