Brian Donovan BComm'75


The Saint Mary’s community is deeply saddened by the passing of Brian Donovan BComm'75, who died after a struggle with cancer in February. After his diagnosis, he added a sign to the front door of his Halifax home, which said, “Smile! No sad faces allowed.” This gesture highlights his spirit and fortitude, facing adversity head-on with a positive attitude.

Born and raised in Moncton, New Brunswick, Brian came to Halifax to attend Saint Mary’s, where he was an active and well-known student leader and residence don. He made life-long friends and connections while at Saint Mary’s, graduating in 1975 with a degree in accounting. After graduation, he worked with Revenue Canada before changing direction and going into sales with Chateau-Gai Wines. After that, he worked with Oland Breweries, being with the company for around twenty years and known in the beverage industry as “the most successful liquor salesperson in Nova Scotia.”

Brian made his home in Halifax, where he lived a full life with his wife, Bik; in business and as an entrepreneur, sailor and community volunteer. He bought his first sailboat in 1979, and sailing became a favourite activity for Brian and his wife. After leaving the beverage industry, he started his own business Premier Marine Services Ltd., which grew to be the largest private yacht service company in North America. In 2003, Brian became Captain Brian Donovan, a.k.a. Captain Eddie.

The Brian Donovan Memorial Award was established by Brian’s friend and former classmate Dr. Danny McCarthy BComm'76 DComm'11 who engaged other Santamarians and special friends of Brian to join him in supporting this special endowed award in Brian’s honour.

“Brian was a unique individual with a wonderful sense of humour. He had a great many friends including those from his early Moncton days, his time at Saint Mary’s, his work in the beer and wine industry and through boating and Premier Marine. Brian and Bik were giving people who went above and beyond for friends new and old. Brian will be greatly missed by many. When I suggested to Brian that I would like to set up a bursary at Saint Mary’s in his name, he was speechless for perhaps the first time in his life. He realized that this could positively change the lives of many students just like Saint Mary’s changed his life.”

-Dr. Danny McCarthy BComm'76 DComm'11

A true Santamarian, Brian’s legacy lives on at Saint Mary’s through the Brian Donovan Memorial Bursary, to which Brian also left a considerable bequest. This award will be available to full-time undergraduate students in their second, third or fourth year enrolled in the Sobey School of Business. Preference will be given to a student from either New Brunswick or Nova Scotia.

To learn about the Brian Donovan Memorial Bursary and make a donation to the fund, please click here.