End of an Era: Remembering James K. Irving

The values of family and caring for one another are deeply embedded in Acadia University’s rich history. Today, we mark the end of a significant chapter with the passing of James Kenneth Irving on June 21, 2024.

The Irving family's bond with Acadia stretches back over a century. K.C. Irving, a member of Acadia’s Class of 1921, was followed by his sons James “Jim” (’50, ’03 HON), Arthur (’52, ’03 HON), and Jack (’54, ’03 HON), who all studied here before returning to Saint John, New Brunswick, to join their father in business.

Jim became a cornerstone of the Irving family’s business empire. His contributions to forestry are monumental, with over a billion trees planted under his leadership. As the manager of J.D. Irving, Ltd., he oversaw diverse operations, including logging, frozen foods, transportation, and retail.

Throughout his life, Jim received numerous accolades, such as the Order of New Brunswick and the Order of Canada, in recognition of his contributions to economic development and philanthropy. His unwavering dedication to community and business left an indelible mark on the Atlantic Region.

Jim’s philanthropic endeavours were transformative. He founded the Partners Assisting Local Schools (PALS) program, a beacon of hope for local schools aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty through education. His commitment to education was further exemplified by his role as co-chair in a major fundraising campaign for the Université de Moncton.

His legacy at Acadia is celebrated through his dedication to education, family, and community. The K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre and Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens are enduring symbols of the Irving family's lasting impact. This tribute was championed by Chancellor Emeritus Arthur Irving, along with his brothers Jim and Jack and their families.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Irving family and friends. Jim’s steady care for our campus, alongside his brothers, will continue to inspire and guide Acadia for generations to come.

To read more about Jim's life, learn about visitation and funeral arrangements, or to share your memories and condolences, please see his formal obituary.


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