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Allisonian Firsts: Leonard St. Hill & Donald Nicholson

A virtual exhibition celebrating the bold Allisonians who became the "firsts" in their field.

Leonard St. Hill & Donald Maxwell Nicholson 

First recipients of the Don Norton Memorial Award, 1955

Graduation portrait of Leonard St. Hil, 1955.Leonard St. Hill

Leonard Earl St. Hill was born 26 November 1929 in St. Lucia. He was the son of Jones and Eileen St. Hill. He was educated at the Castries Methodist School and St. Mary’s College and came to Mount Allison University in the fall of 1951. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering in 1955. While in attendance he served as president of the Students Council (forerunner of the Student Union) and the Debating Society, winning the Canadian Universities Debating Championship in 1955. His involvement in campus life earned him the inaugural Don Norton Memorial Award in 1955 alongside classmate Donald Maxwell Nicholson.

St. Hill continued his studies at the University of Liverpool in England, completing the Master of Civil Design in the School of Architecture in 1962. Between degrees he was trained as a naval officer and was commissioned as a Lieutenant RCN (R). He worked as an engineer and served as Chair of the Central Housing & Planning Authority in St. Lucia (1956-1960). Subsequently, he worked in Nigeria on the Lagos Executive Development Board (1962-1964) and later as Development Control Officer and Chief Town Planner in Barbados (1964-1967). While in Barbados he co-authored the Physical Development Plan for the nation. In 1968, he entered into private consulting practice and founded the Town and Country Planning Society. He served as a president of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce (1975-1977) and in 1976 became a fully accredited lay preacher of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and Americas. He was married to Pamela Avril and the couple had three children: Nigel, Michael and Kathryn. He died on 12 November 2016 in Barbados.


Related materials

You can find more information about Leonard St. Hill and peruse the contents his fonds (accession no. 8657) on our Descriptions Database. You can access these records by planning a visit to the archives.




Graduation portrait of Donald Mawell Nicholson, 1955.Donald Maxwell Nicholson

Donald "Nick" Nicholson was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. He attended Summerside High School before coming to Mount Allison University in 1951. Nicholson took an active part in sports and was awarded the inaugural Don Norton Memorial Award in 1955 alongside classmate Leonard St. Hill. Nicholson was a member of the rugby team, where his "untiring speed and effort" earned him the nickname "The Blond Bomber," and a member and later captain of the track team. He also served for three years on the Men's Athletic Committee and as president of the Men's Council. During his time at Mount Allison, he became a commissioned Second Lieutenant in the C.O.T.C. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1955 and went on to pursue medical studies at Dalhousie University. After further training in surgery at universities in England and Texas, U.S.A., he settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

He was a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada as well as of the American Chest Physicians. He was a member of the Canadian Medical Association, the Nova Scotia Medical Association, and a president of the surgical section of the Nova Scotia Medical Society.

He married June Doreen (Bernard) and the couple had three children: Joanne, Donna, and John. He died in 1897 and is buried at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Sackville, Nova Scotia.


Image Gallery

Scan of a page in the Mount Allison Record alumni magazine detailing the inaugural Don Norton Memorial Award with an image at the top of St. Hill, Nicholson, and two university officials.

Mount Allison University Record, Summer 1955

The Don Norton Memorial Award was provided by the Class of 1942 to honour a classmate and as a memorial to all Mount Allison University students who gave their lives in the Second World War. Donald Blair Norton ('42) of Milltown, New Brunswick, "while a student at Mount Allison exemplified, by his rare ability and character, those qualities of scholarship, athletics and student government of which a university may be justly proud." He was an outstanding student, winner in numerous track and field events, president of the Student Union, and a leader in various university activities. The Don Norton Memorial Award is given to a graduating student who through their years has made the greatest overall contribution to student life.