Graham W. Dennis
Doctor of Civil Law
A native Haligonian, Mr. Dennis attended Sir Charles Tupper Elementary School, followed by three years at Cornwallis Junior High School prior to entering Queen Elizabeth High School. After graduation, he attended McGill University where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1949.
One of the greatest inspirations in his life was his Father a self-made man with a grade 4 education who proved that you could get ahead in life if you worked hard. Mr. Dennis is, indeed, the third generation of his family to be in the newspaper business. He started as a child selling newspapers, working during summer break and began working full-time after his University degree was conferred. In 1954, upon the death of his Father, he assumed the role of publisher of the Halifax Herald Limited newspapers and in 1963, he became President and C.E.O. of The chronicle Herald, The mail Star, and The Sunday Herald. When queried about his career milestones, Mr. Dennis indicated that being able to oversee the purchase of three presses during his years in the business stands out. When queried about his outstanding and proudest achievements to the success of an organization or profession, he indicated that he is the longest-serving publisher in Canada and his papers are the largest independent ones in the country. He gives daily personal attention to the newspapers progress and development. The papers are a sacred trust. A steadfast loyalty and determination have allowed his newspapers to remain independent while out-of-province interest controls so many other newspapers. To support further his outstanding achievement in the success of his organizations and profession, in 1984, Mr. Dennis was made a member of the Order of Canada, the citation reading in part ?since entering the family newspaper business in Halifax, he has progressively realized the ideal of a public spirited publisher. While consistently developing the close ties of The Chronicle Herald and mail Star to their community, he has also championed minority rights, education, hospitals, underprivileged children and the economy of the Atlantic region.
While Mr. Dennis often refers to himself as ?just a humble peddler? of papers who frequently shies away from the limelight, he is always ?in the know? as to what is going on in his newspaper as well as in the Province. He maintains daily contact with all departments at the newspaper, is rarely away from the office, and calls the newsroom regularly in the evening with the famous ?whose in charge? to get a run-down of what is running on page one in tomorrow?s edition. The daily meetings with the managing editor and other department heads are prefaced with a ?what?s new? greeting. He has never requested that a story be kept out of the paper ? on the contrary ? he is always eager for the people of Nova Scotia to get more news.
Not content to spend all of his time in the office, Mr. Dennis is famous for his forays across the Province and remains an eternal optimist for the future of Nova Scotia. He always returns from these forays with plenty of stories for the newsroom to follow-up and to his credit, therefore, his newspapers are a keen source of Nova Scotian news.
As one would expect, there has been considerable community and charitable involvement by Mr. Dennis over his distinguished career. This has led to such as the establishing of the Dennis Medical Fund at Dalhousie Medical School; supporting the Duke of Edinburgh Awards for many years and establishing a special pediatric fund at the IWK Hospital for children which resulted in him being awarded the IWK Award for Distinction in 1983. He is also a keen supporter of the Victorian Order of Nurses, the Cystic Fibrosis Society and the Sisters of Charity. Through The Herald, Mr. Dennis continues to support three charities by covering all administrative costs ? the Bill Lynch Memorial Fund; Rainbow Haven Opportunities Fund; and the Goodfellows Club.
Mr. Dennis donated to the Province of Nova Scotia what is now known as Bayswater Beach for public use and when Laurie Park was opened, he permitted his adjoining lands to be used for public access to this Park. He also established the Dennis Park at Stewiacke.
Additional awards which have been bestowed on him include the Queen?s Jubilee Medal (1977); the Queen?s Golden Jubilee Medal in recognition of his many contributions for journalism and society as a whole (2003); and also in the year 2003, an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree was conferred on him by the University of Kings College. This past November, he was the recipient of a Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian Award for his lifetime of humanitarian work.
His late son, William, graduated from Saint Mary's University with a Masters of Business Administration degree in May 2002 and his daughter, Sarah, also graduated with a Master of Business Administration degree six years earlier and now is a member of the University?s Board of Govenors.