The sudden passing of beloved professor Brain Carty shocked the entire student body and faculty of St. Thomas University this past September. He was known for his laugh, his knapsack and never being hesitant to help others. His funeral saw an estimated crowd of over a thousand overflow the Great Hall in his memory. It was clear that not only did STU lose one of its teachers, but a valued part of its community.
“Brian was always helping people. Brian was always doing things for people,” said John Carty, Brian’s older brother.
Now, just a few months later, the overwhelming support and outreach of all those Carty impacted has created his everlasting mark on the university.
The Brian Carty Memorial Fund will be an annual scholarship given to a student in the social work department, where Carty both studied and taught. The stipulations of the scholarship have yet to be determined, but the goal is for it to give back long-term to the community he helped teach.
“No matter what your relationship was with Brian, it was a step further than that,” said Carty’s nephew Frank Barrett.
Barrett organized the scholarship’s first-ever fundraiser at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre on Jan. 13, an event he said came together quickly with tremendous help from the university and its staff.
“If you needed anything, everyone was quick to give the shirt off their back.”
Barrett said Carty should be remembered for living his life with a lot of unconditional love.
“You don’t need something in return to be a good person,” said Barrett, reflecting on the lessons his uncle taught him.
Barrett said the goal is to build the funding to a point which allows the scholarship to be sustainable without yearly replenishing.
“Large picture goal is $30,000, that means we can give out $1,500 to a student every year basically forever,” said Barrett.
“He taught here and did his undergraduate here, so we want to make sure we give back to the community he was such a big part of.”
The fundraiser welcomed another large crowd to celebrate Carty’s life. The atmosphere captured the positivity Carty left with those closest to him. Instead of tears, there were smiles amongst all in attendance.
A silent auction of generously-donated items, from signed NHL hockey jerseys to handcrafted art, fuelled the fundraising efforts.
The night also included a special screening of a short film Carty had produced with the New Brunswick Film Co-op. There were also live performances from bands with close ties to Carty and his family, reflecting his love for music and the arts.
Headlining the night was Motown band Sugarbomb, who Barret said is enjoyed by much of Carty’s family. Carty had shared a special night with his partner, Anne Charlebois, at a wedding Sugarbomb played the summer before his passing.
“From the moment I started planning this event we really wanted Sugarbomb to play,” said Barrett. Sugarbomb waived their fees and agreed to play at the event for free.
Ryan Barrie, drummer of Wicked Vices, used to play in a band with Carty’s nephew. The band was one of the first to agree to support the fundraiser. Barrett said Carty touched many lives through many different areas in his life.
“He was just so involved in the community,” said Barrie.
“When Frank [Barrett] asked us to play I said absolutely.”
Also on the bill was the Friday Night Jam Band, which Carty was apart of, who took the opportunity to play in honour of their friend.
“We were asked to sing at his funeral and we were honoured to do it … we’re all very grateful for how the family has embraced us with that too and allowed us to be with them … That really helped us,” said bassist Dallas Gillis.
Carty gave his family, students and colleagues his unconditional love. That love will now live on to benefit students who will only know his name. He will remain a permanent part of the STU family and will never be forgotten by those who knew his character.
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