Henry Hicks (Nova Scotia politician)

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Henry Davies Hicks

16th Premier of Nova Scotia
In office
September 30, 1954 – November 20, 1956
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Alistair Fraser
Preceded by Harold Connolly
Succeeded by Robert Stanfield
Senator for The Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
In office
April 27, 1972 – March 5, 1990
Appointed by Pierre Trudeau
MLA for Annapolis
In office
October 23, 1945 – June 7, 1960
Preceded by John D. McKenzie
Succeeded by district dissolved
Personal details
Born (1915-03-05)March 5, 1915
Bridgetown, Nova Scotia
Died December 9, 1990(1990-12-09) (aged 75)
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Pauline Banks
Gene Morrison
Rosalie Comeau
Occupation lawyer, university administrator

Henry Davies Hicks, CC QC (March 5, 1915 – December 9, 1990) was a lawyer, university administrator, and politician in Nova Scotia.

Born in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, the son of Henry Hicks and Annie Kinney, Hicks was educated in Bridgetown and at Mount Allison University, Dalhousie University and Oxford University. He was admitted to the Nova Scotia bar in 1941. During World War II, he served as a captain in the Royal Canadian Artillery.

Hicks was elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in 1945 as a Liberal for Annapolis County and served as Nova Scotia's first Minister of Education from 1949 to 1954 in the government of Angus Lewis Macdonald. When Macdonald died, Hicks ran for the Liberal party leadership against interim leader and then Premier Harold Connolly. The party was badly split along religious lines with Protestants uniting behind Hicks to defeat Connolly who was a Roman Catholic. As the new Premier, Hicks was unable to unite the party and his government was defeated in the 1956 election by Robert Stanfield's Progressive Conservatives.

Hicks resigned as Leader of the opposition in 1960 and took the post of Dean of Arts and Science at Dalhousie University. He later became a Vice President of the school and then President in 1963. He served as President until August 31, 1980 and is recognized as transforming Dalhousie University from a tiny "College By the Sea" into a leading national research university.

During Hicks' tenure, the campus underwent a complete transformation as new facilities were built, expanded, or acquired for all areas of the university from academics and research to arts and athletics, as well as student housing. In September 2002, the Henry Hicks Academic Administration Building was named after him.

In 1949, Hicks married Pauline Banks (d. February 1963). They had four children; Catherine, Henry, John, and Francess. In 1965, he married Gene Morrison (d. January 1988). In 1988, he married Rosalie Comeau (d. December 1990).

In 1970, Hicks was made a Companion of the Order of Canada. On April 27, 1972, he was appointed to the Senate of Canada by Pierre Trudeau, and served in that capacity until his retirement on March 5, 1990.

On the afternoon of December 9, 1990, Hicks and his wife Rosalie were returning to Halifax from the Annapolis Valley when their vehicle crossed the centre line and struck an oncoming car. Hicks and his wife were killed, along with two of the four passengers in the other vehicle.

The British TV presenter Richard Madeley is a distant relative of Hicks.[1][2]


  • Henry Hicks – Parliament of Canada biography
  • Marble, A.E. Nova Scotians at home and abroad: biographical sketches of over six hundred native born Nova Scotians (1977) p. 207 ISBN 0-88999-074-3
  • Election Summary From 1867–2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Harold Connolly
Premier of Nova Scotia
1954 – 1956
Succeeded by
Robert Stanfield
Academic offices
Preceded by
Alexander Enoch Kerr
President of Dalhousie University
1963 – 1980
Succeeded by
William Andrew MacKay
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