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Dr. Alexander E. Kerr was born in 1898 in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. He enlisted in the Royal Air Force and went overseas during the latter part of the First World War. When he returned, he graduated from Dalhousie in Arts and from Pine Hill Divinity Hall in Theology. He was ordained to the Christian ministry in 1921 and went to Union Seminary, where he received his Bachelor of Divinity, magna cum laude.
Dr. Kerr served the church briefly in Sydney and Montreal and then accepted a pastorate in Vancouver for five years and in Winnipeg for ten. He left Winnipeg to become principal and professor of Systematic Theology at Pine Hill (1939-1945). In 1945 Dr. Kerr was invited to become president of Dalhousie, the second Dalhousie graduate to be appointed. He was nominated by the Maritime Conference of the United Church, by the Montreal-Ottawa Conference, by the London Conference, and by various other bodies to become moderator of the general council of the church during his early years at Dalhousie, but declined the nomination.
After retiring from the university in 1963, Dr. Kerr became president of the Maritime Conference of the United Church of Canada and taught the first class in Old Testament at the Atlantic School of Theology (formerly Pine Hill Divinity College).
Dr. Kerr was presented an honorary doctorate of divinity at the 500th anniversary of the University of Glasgow, Scotland, the only Canadian so honored at the anniversary convocation. He also held honorary degrees from many universities in the Maritimes and from Winnipeg and was a member of the North British Society, first honorary president of the Red Cross Society, a member of the Canadian Mental Health Association, chairman of the building committee for the Abbie J. Lane Memorial Hospital, and honorary president of the Cape Breton Club. Dr. Kerr passed away in Halifax on November 30, 1974 at the age of seventy-six.
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