McKenzie, Warren

Degree conferred: Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.)

Orator: Davies, Gwen

to be Doctors of Letters

Warren McKenzie graduated from UNB with a bachelor of computer science in 1976. Julia MacLauchlan graduated the following year with a B.A. (honours Spanish). Julia MacLauchlan had lived in Tibbits, taught ballroom dancing, was president of the Spanish club, was a yearbook editor, and performed in a number of skits in the Red ’n Black Revue. Warren McKenzie had been involved in the campus radio station, CHSR, and had been active in student government, becoming Student Council President. This dynamic couple, who met here at UNB, probably had little inkling on their graduation days, more than thirty years ago, that they would each embark on outstanding, influential international careers; that they would become leading philanthropists; that they would have an impact on academic and public sector research environments; or that they would become such enormously positive forces within both UNB and New Brunswick.

Julia MacLauchlan began her career as a teacher. She later moved to a computer publishing company where became director of a educational products. She joined Microsoft in 1987 as a senior editor, rapidly moving up in the company to become the director of the European Product Development Centre in Dublin in 1995 and the director of international quality assurance. In 2000, she was appointed senior director of international product services for Microsoft Corporation, including not only Europe but also groups in Redmond, Tokyo, Taipei, Seoul, and Beijing. More recently, she headed up the Natural Language Group for Microsoft based in Redmond, Wash.

An exponent of the arts, she has been a strong voice in stressing the value of an arts degree and the importance of people having a second or third language. Since retiring from Microsoft, she has been volunteering as a court-appointed special advocate for children going through the courts as victims of neglect or abuse, and she is a frequent public speaker, and a founder of the Microsoft Alumni Foundation.

Warren McKenzie began his career at Bell Northern Research. Working at the cutting edge in the telecom, technology, and business fields, he rose rapidly through Nortel (where he was the youngest director of software engineering in the company’s history), InteCom, and US West Venture Capital Group. He is now chairman of the board and CEO of Redmond Group, an international consulting firm which he co-founded in 1998.

His technical leadership, expertise in innovation, and ability to build partnerships and leverage opportunities have not only made him internationally sought after by business and governments but have also contributed to his being invited to serve on advisory boards for organizations such as the NRC Institute for Information Technology and the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle. As the first chairman of the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, Warren McKenzie creatively fostered a climate of research, innovation, and co-operation amongst universities, the private sector, and government. In 2006, he was the visionary force behind the creation of the Populomix Cancer Research Institute, a not-for-profit research body designed to build an Atlantic regional capability in early cancer detection.

Throughout their time-demanding careers, Julia MacLauchlan and Warren McKenzie have never forgotten UNB. They have been active alumni, serving on the Alumni Council, returning to speak at events, hosting alumni in their home, acting as advocates for the university, and serving as national recruitment spokespersons for UNB. But they have done so much more.

Ever conscious of the difficulties that students have in funding their education, they have established four undergraduate scholarships supporting campus leaders, and students in computer science and in the arts (over 50 students have already benefited from their generosity). Aware too of the research- educational support needs of universities, they have also donated over five million dollars worth of Microsoft software to UNB to enable students to work in a current, industry-standard environment. And most recently, they have meticulously restored their own home, historic Somerville House on Waterloo Row, once the home of Lord Beaverbrook, and have donated it to UNB as a residence for the President.

Julia MacLauchlan and Warren McKenzie have not only been highly successful international business leaders, catalysts for research, and committed philanthropists, but with dedication and selflessness, they have also demonstrated unparalleled commitment to UNB and to the province of New Brunswick.

From: Honoris Causa - UA Case 70, Box 4

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