Barry L. Craig

Principal, Huron University College

Bachelor of Arts (Hons.), Classics, 1983

I had such incredible professors at King’s and Dal—to walk in their footsteps was almost surreal.

Barry Craig will embark on a new chapter in his career this summer, as Principal of Huron University College. “To be able to lead an institution very similar to King’s, nothing could be a greater cap to my professional life than that,” he says.

Barry has always been involved in academia. After completing his bachelor’s degree at King’s and masters at Dalhousie, he became an Anglican parish priest for 15 years. During his time as a PhD student, he was prompted to get back into the classroom.

An opportunity presented itself at St. Thomas University (in New Brunswick). For a decade, Barry taught in the Department of Philosophy, then became Dean of Faculty. Two years later, another opportunity arose and he became Vice President of Academics and Research—a position he’s held for eight years.

His experience as a student has served him well. “I had such incredible professors at King’s and Dal” he says “to walk in their footsteps was almost surreal.”

Currently, Barry oversees all teaching, learning and research activities at St. Thomas. But his impact on the university started long before he joined its administration.

In 2000, drawing on the wide range of literature he was introduced to during the Foundation Year Program (FYP) at King’s, Barry, his wife Dr. Sara MacDonald and others started the Great Books Program. Academic genes run in Barry’s family – two of his daughters studied liberal arts and plan to become academics.

“As time went on, I began writing books and scholarly articles—all inspired by King’s. At the time (I studied there), I didn’t realize how unique King’s was in Canada’s modern post- secondary landscape,” he says.

Barry believes the value of liberal arts education lies in its breadth. It teaches an appreciation for diverse perspectives and the discipline for critical thought. “It’s tremendous for management or administration,” he says.

And that has been a major influence in Barry’s work at St Thomas. He won three teaching awards during his 10 years as a professor. “I believe (that) really reflects my love for teaching.”

And that is something else that has its roots at King’s. Barry gives credit to not just what was taught, but who was teaching.

“[His professors] believed it was important that you try to create good people, not just smart people. That so marked my view of what you can achieve in education—the forming of character and personality.”

’You don’t get a specific tool, you get an entire toolbox’ - Barry Craig on the liberal arts.

Posted: Apr. 2016

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