Ross Darling was a promoter.
Born in 1938, he became a promoter by nature, a promoter of the University of New
Brunswick business program and, most importantly, a promoter of his students, in his 76
years of life.
This is how Darling, one of the early builders of UNB Fredericton’s business program
and a faculty member for more than three decades, is being remembered this week in the
wake of his passing on Saturday, Aug. 23.
Norman Betts, a UNB accounting professor and just one of the countless individuals
touched by Darling on and off campus over the course of his life, remembers a colleague
and friend who was “bigger than life.”
“You always knew when Ross was around,” said Betts.
The Sudbury, Ont. native began as a lecturer in 1966 when business administration fell
under the arts faculty and was taught by just a handful of professors. Himself a graduate
of the program in 1963, Darling became an integral part of its growth and held a number
of administrative appointments including assistant dean and acting dean.
During this time, Betts said Darling was on the forefront of technological development on
the UNB campus.
“He was very much involved in the whole getting technology in the classroom, which is
why our computer lab [the Ross Darling Computer Lab] is named after him,” said Betts.
But it was the promotion of his students and their achievements that really set Darling
“[Ross] was very respectful to students but if you gave him bullshit, he had an actual
stamp [that said bullshit] and he’d give it back to the students … And guess what,
students only did it once,” said Betts with a chuckle, adding that Darling “always took
attendance in his classes and he said he wanted to take attendance at his funeral.”
Beyond the classroom, however, Betts described Darling as “a big kid until the end.”
“He loved to hunt. He loved to fish. He had all the toys, the camp, the boats … He was a
real gadget guy … he loved his beer. He loved his wife [Marie],” said Betts, who called
Darling’s marriage a “love story.”
“He loved life.”
A big part of that joie de vivre indeed came from UNB, asserts Marie Darling, who
recalls a marriage that was “fantastic.”
“[Teaching] was a real passion for him. It meant the world,” she said. “He really loved UNB. It was his whole life, in terms of his career. And I think he just got tremendous satisfaction out of being part of that community.”