History of the Institute

Creating the Institute

In September 2015, President Hanlon '77 appointed a task force to study the possibility of creating an institute focused on the challenges posed by energy.  The task force visited eight college campuses, started planning for the academic and physical structure of the institute, and began engaging faculty and students in discussion. Task force members included Christopher Levey, an associate professor of engineering at Thayer School of Engineering; Jay Hull, associate dean of the faculty for the social sciences; F. Jon Kull, dean of the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies; Michael Zubkoff, professor of health economics and management at the Tuck School of Business and director of the MD/MBA program at Dartmouth; Ross Virginia, director of Dartmouth's Institute of Arctic Studies and the Myers Family Professor of Environmental Studies; and Robert Hansen, the Norman W. Martin 1925 Professor of Business Administration at Tuck.

Arthur L. Irving, along with his wife, Sandra Irving, and their daughter, Sarah Irving '10, Tuck '14, generously agreed to support Dartmouth's efforts to take on the broader energy and society challenge, resulting in the creation of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society. 

In 2017, Dartmouth hired a faculty director, Dr. Elizabeth Wilson, to lead the new institute. 

Construction on the new home for the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society, a high-performance building located at the west end of campus between the Tuck School of Business and the Thayer School of Engineering, began in October 2019 and is scheduled to be complete by fall 2021. Learn more about the building project here.

About the Donors

The Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society is established with contributions from Irving Oil, Ltd., the Arthur L. Irving Family Foundation, Arthur L. Irving, Sandra Irving, and Sarah Irving.

About Arthur L. Irving: 

Born in 1930 in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, Arthur L. Irving attended Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. After returning home from Acadia, he worked with his father, K.C. Irving, who founded Irving Oil in 1924. In 1972, Arthur L. Irving became the president of Irving Oil and today serves as chairman of the family-owned and privately held company that has customers throughout Eastern Canada and New England.

Irving has long been a supporter of academic institutions and environmental causes. As director and president of Ducks Unlimited Canada, he helped create a strong partnership between business and the environment.

As chancellor of Acadia University, Irving, together with his brothers, in 2002 created the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre and the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens in honor of their parents. The science facilities include student meeting space, classrooms, an auditorium, science labs, a conservatory, and greenhouses, which provide research facilities for students and faculty. Current research at the centre includes study of aquaponics systems and nutrients, and research on ways to compost waxed corrugated cardboard.

At Acadia, the Arthur Irving Academy Foundation has established some of the most prestigious awards in Canada for students studying environmental science and biology. Providing financial assistance as well as mentoring and research project support, the scholarships are given to high school students with strong academic credentials and a history of leadership, community service, and extracurricular activities.

At Dartmouth, Arthur and Sandra Irving support scholarships for Canadian students and have developed the Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving ’72a P’10 Professorship of Economics. In partnership with the Tuck School of Business, they help fund undergraduate studies in business. Their daughter Sarah received her undergraduate degree, cum laude, from the College and an MBA from Tuck in 2014. She is Irving Oil’s executive vice president.

In 2003, Arthur Irving was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honor recognizing lifetime achievement. Also that  year, he received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, one of few Canadians nominated by Ducks Unlimited Canada. In 2008, Irving was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, which recognizes business excellence, outstanding achievement, and enduring contributions to Canadian society. In 2010, he was awarded an honorary degree from Dartmouth. Irving is an adopted member of the Class of 1972.

About Sandra Irving:

Sandra Irving was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.  She received her BA, with distinction, from the University of New Brunswick and an MA in political science from the University of Toronto.

She is a community leader in Atlantic Canada and supports education through student scholarships, mentorships, and exchange programs. She has helped create opportunities for students in Canada and the United States through scholarship support at educational institutes, including the University of New Brunswick, Acadia University, St. Thomas University, St. Mary’s University, the University of Toronto, and Dartmouth, and is committed to the success of these scholarship students.

Her commitment to her country and her community is seen in her service to many nonprofit public service organizations, from the arts to health care and community organizations. She has been a key figure in helping Junior Achievement raise financial support for entrepreneurial business studies, which prepare the next generation for business leadership. She serves as a member of the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission and as chair of the President’s Advisory Council for the Royal Society of Canada: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences, she highlighted the importance of supporting Canada’s leading scholars and researchers. She was instrumental in establishing the organization’s Atlantic Chapter and is an honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Sandra plays an important role in supporting the business and community initiatives of Irving Oil. Together with her husband, Irving Oil Chairman Arthur Irving, she was actively involved in the planning and development of the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre and the Harriett Irving Botanical Gardens at Acadia University, a gift from the Irving family. Together with Irving Oil, Ducks Unlimited, and Acadia University, Arthur and Sandra Irving’s commitment to research and education led to the development of the Beaubassin Research Station in Aulac, New Brunswick. At the University of PEI, their support of the Atlantic Veterinary College was recognized at the opening in March 2014 of the Arthur and Sandra Irving Community Care Centre.

Sandra and Arthur Irving are loyal supporters of Dartmouth. They have funded scholarships for Canadian students, developed the Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving ’72a, P’10 Professor of Economics endowed chair, and help fund undergraduate students in business studies, in partnership with the Tuck School of Business.

In June 2014, Sandra Irving was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of Saint John for her many years of “service above self.” She was presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her volunteer and public service activities in October 2012, and with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003. In 2010 she and Arthur Irving were awarded the World Baden-Powell Scout Fellowship for community service.

Sandra Irving has received honorary degrees from the University of New Brunswick and St. Mary’s University. In 2015 she was named to the Order of Canada for her outstanding service to her country. Her many years of continued service and contributions represent a lifelong commitment to the importance of education and the betterment of society.

About Sarah Irving:

Sarah Irving is the Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer of Irving Oil, an international oil refining and marketing company that operates, among other assets, Canada’s largest oil refinery. Irving Oil is a major supplier of petroleum products to the United States market. Sarah is pleased to represent the Arthur Irving family on the Advisory Committee of the foundation named in recognition of her father, Arthur Irving. Sarah was one of the founding members in the establishment of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society and is proud of this opportunity to support Dartmouth College and to recognize her father.

About Irving Oil:

Irving Oil is a family-owned, privately held energy, processing, transporting, and marketing company headquartered in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

The company was founded in 1924 by K.C. Irving as a small, single-garage service station in Bouctouche, New Brunswick. Today, Irving Oil has grown into a leading multinational energy company as steadfastly committed to its customers, communities, and employees, as it was more than 90 years ago.

The company’s Chairman, Arthur Irving, son of K.C. Irving, joined the business in the 1950s and worked together with his father and his brothers James and John in growing the Irving group of companies. Today, Irving Oil’s senior leadership team is led by President Ian Whitcomb.

With two refineries, over 900 retail fueling locations, operations from eight distribution terminals, and a delivery fleet of tractor-trailers, the company serves wholesale, commercial, and retail customers in Eastern Canada, New England, and Ireland.

The Irving Oil Refinery in Saint John began operations in 1960 and today has a throughput capacity of more than 300,000 barrels a day, and produces a range of products, including gasoline, ultra-low sulfur diesel, heating oil, asphalt, and jet fuel. Located 65 miles north of the U.S. border, Irving Oil’s Saint John refinery accounts for 75 percent of Canada’s gasoline exports to the U.S. and 19 percent of all U.S. gasoline imports.  Irving Oil was the first oil company to receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean Air Excellence Award for low-sulfur gasoline.

Irving Oil’s commitment to education, community, and the environment is evident in many longstanding partnerships. Together with Ducks Unlimited and the New England Aquarium, the company continues to contribute in many ways to the betterment of the natural environment. The Saint John refinery is located next to 250 acres of a joint project to protect the wetlands and its inhabitants. Since the 1990s, Irving Oil has worked closely with the New England Aquarium to support right-whale research and together, with researchers, academia, environmental groups, and fish harvesters, was successful in moving the shipping lanes in the Bay of Fundy away from the right whale’s critical habitat area.

Irving Oil remains committed to its people, customers, and communities, to the responsible and safe production of products to meet the world’s energy needs, and to working together for the betterment of society.

About the Irving Foundation:

The Arthur L. Irving Family Foundation is a registered charity in Canada that is guided by the values of Arthur and Sandra Irving, both of whom are advocates for the value of education in society. At universities and colleges in the United States and Canada, the foundation supports various initiatives with a strong focus on student advancement and scholarship, including several prestigious scholarship programs, as well as research and academic programming.