MacDonald, co-president and vice-president of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Bible Hill, is retiring this year. His official retirement date isn't until June, however, he has enough time accumulated to leave today.
"The agricultural college family has been very good to me over my years," said MacDonald, who started as the vice-president of administration in 1994. "We've put out a lot of projects together."
Over the past 18 years, MacDonald has worked on a number of projects to the benefit of the college and its students, always with a team approach.
"I was able to lead and drive the project for the Atlantic Poultry Centre, which was a huge project of time and effort, construction and organization of money to make it happen," he said.
The three-phase project consisted of construction of teaching facilities, an upgrade of the Chute Nutrition Centre and the construction of a hatchery.
"It is a state-of-the-art facility. Because most of our buildings were made in the 1960s, they are quite outdated. Now we have one of the most modern and contemporary poultry centres in Canada, if not the world."
MacDonald said another major project that he's proud of is the construction of the walking trail across from the campus, which was a community effort.
"It was an 11-year project and last fall we opened the trail. We have gotten very favourable comments on the trail, with all the ups and downs, the bends and the beautiful scenery," said MacDonald.
Other projects MacDonald clearly remembers include the Atlantic Centre for Innovation, which had a soft opening this past winter, a small modular greenhouse for plant scientists to use, and the signage on the Veterans Memorial Highway, proclaiming the Village of Bible Hill and Town of Truro being the home of the college.
"Bible Hill and Truro are two of the key partners and they had to agree to the combined name on the sign," said MacDonald. "They worked on that project in a collegial fashion."
Although he only joined the college in 1994, MacDonald has more than four decades in the education industry under his belt, having taught at the Nova Scotia Teachers College for 19 years prior, and another six or seven years in secondary education.
MacDonald has a few plans to keep him busy during retirement.
"I love tinkering. I love to build things and repair things, so I'll be doing a bit of that," he said.
"And we like RVing or camping, so we are hoping to become a little bit more than just weekend campers. We want to spend more time at the campgrounds and come home in time to mow the lawn."
MacDonald will spend his days with his wife of 42 years - Ann.
"I want to spend more time with family. We have six grandchildren. Our daughter and her husband live in Bridgewater and they have a boy and a girl. Our son and his wife live in New Zealand and have three boys and a girl."
ABOUT DR. BERNIE MACDONALD:
- Born and raised in Shubenacadie.
- Spent many of his early years on his uncle's dairy farm.
- Married to Ann for 42 years; they have two children and six grandchildren
- Joined the Nova Scotia Agricultural College as vice-president of administration in 1994.
- Was acting principal of the NSAC for about nine months in the late 1990s.
- Named co-president of the NSAC, along with Dr. Leslie MacLaren, in 2007 and remained vice-president of administration.
- Today's 107th convocation will be his last.
Truro Daily News