Fenety, Jack T. H.

Degree conferred: Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

Orator: Patterson, Stephen E.

L to R: Dr. James Downey, Jack T. H. Fenety
Source: Joe Stone fonds-UA RG340, 1989 (#13904A)
to be Doctor of Laws

Good radio announcers -- if we may twist the old saw about children -- should be heard but not seen. Jack Fenety was one of these for over 42 years. He went to work in CFNB in 1945 as soon as he got back from five years in the Canadian Army and he only finally turned off his mike in 1988.

Radio, as its aficionados know, is not just a medium; it is a place in time. Jack Fenety belonged to those radio days. He read the mid-day news and he broadcast his own one-man morning show every week-day or over forty years, surely some sort of record. His show was called "Fact and Fancy;" his style, chatty and relaxed; his formula for success, recipes, household hints, and to the muted tones of an organ, Jack’s reading of a poetic "Thought for the Day." As occasion demanded, Jack also enjoyed broadcasting live hockey playoffs from York Arena, or the Country Jamboree from the stage of the Fredericton Y, or provincial election returns when his tone of voice and choice of music always told you who was winning and whether Jack approved. Jack knew that his listeners were the conservative rural and small-town people of central New Brunswick, and he didn’t let them down. Commercial radio today speaks to a different generation with a different language and at a more frenetic pace. In contrast, Jack Fenety’s radio was the mid-twentieth century equivalent of the general store: a place for yarns and gossip and just plain folks. In more ways than one, it operated in Fahrenheit.

There was, and is, of course, another side to Jack Fenety. He is one of Canada’s best-known salmon conservationists. Starting off simply as a man who loved the out-of-doors and who loved to fish, Jack became convinced that the Atlantic Salmon was endangered by overfishing, pollution, and public indifference. Together with others, he founded the Miramichi Salmon Association in 1953, and in 1961 he became its president, a post he still holds.

He drew on his considerable speaking skills to spread the message of salmon conservation though the 1960s and 70s, rapidly becoming known internationally as a salmon conservation activist. He became a director and for a time senior vice-president of the Atlantic Salmon Association, a director of the Canadian Forestry Association, a Canadian representative on the Advisory Group of the International Atlantic Salmon Foundation, and an advisor to the Canadian delegation to the International Conference of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries. He was founding chairman of the North American Atlantic Salmon Council and in 1974, he was general conference chairman for the Montreal conference on Illegal Atlantic Salmon Fishing which was sponsored by eleven North American conservation organizations.

In addition to numerous awards recognizing his contribution to salmon conservation, Jack Fenety was awarded the Centennial Medal for "valuable service to the nation," he was elected a founding member of the Canadian Fishing Hall of Fame, and in 1966 he was awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal of the Royal Canadian Legion. He continues to deliver papers and to speak out whenever possible on the importance of salmon conservation.

Today, UNB salutes this distinguished citizen of Fredericton, and gives due recognition to a man whose voice has informed and entertained us at home, while it has educated and forewarned people everywhere about the value of that magnificent creature, the Atlantic Salmon, and the dangers to its existence.

From: Honoris Causa - UA Case 70, Box 2

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