When you find your calling—your passion—you can’t help but become focused. That’s exactly what happened to Scott Duguay, Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Management with St. Thomas University (STU) in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
In today’s post, Scott shares with us his commitment to his profession as well as the province of New Brunswick.
ONB: Are you originally from New Brunswick?
Duguay: Yes, I was born in Fredericton and spent the first 35 years of my life here before leaving for a short time.
ONB: You have had a very interesting and progressive career in education. What can you tell us about this experience and how you got so entrenched in that world?
Duguay: My experience with post-secondary education really had two distinct phases.
The first was one of relative disengagement; a continuation of high school as a means to an end, if you will.
The second phase, however, was ignited by a few good friends insisting I get involved with the university’s student union. Not seeing myself as that type it took a little pushing, but once I got involved I was a changed person. During my last year in school at the University of New Brunswick (UNB), I was President of the Student Union and member of the University’s Board of Governors. I then worked in Recruitment, then in the Vice-President’s office on student retention.
Because of a few friends insisting I take that experience in I found my passion, and I’ve always been completely amazed by what education—in the right university setting—can do for an individual’s personal growth, and discovery of what’s important to them.
ONB: In 2012 you moved to Quebec. What prompted that decision? Was it hard to leave?
Duguay: It was to pursue an employment opportunity. Bishop’s University offered me a great job as Director of Enrolment Management so I packed up, and moved with my then pregnant wife Jackie and our two-year-old. It was tough leaving family and friends behind, particularly with a young family, but Sherbrooke and the Bishop’s community received us with open arms and the people I got to work with there were fantastic.
ONB: You had a chance to return to New Brunswick as Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Management for St. Thomas University, tell us about that decision.
Duguay: The opportunity was as a bit of a surprise, given that we had only been gone for about a year and a half, but we very much welcomed it. The idea of having our kids grow up near family and being able to reconnect with friends was appealing. The role itself is a dream job for me in that it expands my previous experience in recruitment, marketing, communications, and student retention to include more specific responsibilities in student services and residence life, areas that I believe can serve as a catalyst and support network for a fantastic student experience.
ONB: What was it that drew you back to New Brunswick so quickly?
Duguay: The prospect of coming back home to spend my energy fighting for one of my hometown universities was exciting. St. Thomas is really doing some amazing things, and the people there are terrific to work with.
It’s really an intimate community inside a larger area and city you don’t appreciate until you’re part of it. STU Alumni are so passionate about what they gained from STU, students are very engaged. It’s remarkable to see such a small, committed, Oxford-style university built on the principals of Liberal Arts right here in New Brunswick be so engaged in its mission.
ONB: Is your wife from New Brunswick?
Duguay: No, although we met in New Brunswick during undergrad. She’s from Labrador City but very comfortable saying she’s an adopted New Brunswicker. She loves it here as well.
We really enjoy this city. We’ve traveled our fair share, and while we enjoy visiting new places and experiencing new cultures, we always feel such a relief when we come back home.
ONB: What was the experience moving back and working for a different university in the same city where you worked for a competing school?
Duguay: My time at UNB was great. I worked there for a dozen years after being a student there. I don’t think enough people understand the caliber of universities we have in New Brunswick. I often think—having worked at UNB and now STU—that we need to work harder together to bring as many students as we can to what I believe is one of the world’s best cities to be a student. UNB and STU offer very different experiences and varying programs, with substantially different approaches to teaching and learning, so for those outside the province reading this, consider joining us in Fredericton for your education. I’m convinced you’d like it here.
ONB: What has the support network been like for you in returning to New Brunswick?
Duguay: The STU community has been so welcoming, and my Enrolment Management team is so passionate about its work for students. I look forward to finding additional time to get out to more STU community events — there’s always things going on here.
ONB: How would you describe your work-life balance here in New Brunswick versus the time while you were away?
Duguay: One of the things I appreciate most about New Brunswick and New Brunswickers is how time is valued.
While I’d admit my balance is a little heavy on the ‘work’ side—which is fully expected—I enjoy my job. I also know I can be home to spend some quality time with my wife and kids before it’s their bedtime. In larger cities, that’s just not the case for many. We certainly plan to continue taking in the province now that we’re back. And I look forward to showing our kids more of this beautiful area of the country.
ONB: Do you believe that New Brunswick is a best kept secret and if so, why?
Duguay: Best kept secret? Well, for those of us who live here, it’s no secret, but you do gain appreciation for it when you leave for any length of time. We do have it pretty good here, with some beautiful historic areas like Fredericton and Saint John, and the ocean no more than a few hours drive from most corners of the province, some amazing cultural diversity from Northeast to Southwest, and all the beautiful spots in between to enjoy. I’d put this province’s offerings, and its people, up against any other, that’s for sure.
ONB: That’s great! Any final thoughts on what makes living in New Brunswick so amazing, and why you’re NB Proud?
Duguay: I’ve touched on it a bit in your previous question, but for me it’s that you can contribute in many areas of work, locally or on a global scale, yet retain that work-life balance that allows you to enjoy your family and friends in the prime of your life.
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Cover image via St. Thomas University