Graduate Studies News

2021 Spring Convocation Update

3 months ago
Members of the Class of 2021 during the Xaverian Farewell, held earlier this semester.

To the Campus Community,

I am writing with an update regarding plans for our virtual 2021 Spring Convocation ceremonies. The changes to indoor gathering limits introduced earlier this week as part of the Nova Scotia government’s two-week provincial lockdown forced us to postpone our convocation as the number of people required for our virtual ceremony exceeded the newly introduced limit. 

Over the past 24 hours, much work has taken place to develop alternate plans that are in full compliance with the provincial gathering guidelines. This includes the decision to pre-record all ceremonial aspects and participants separately. With this, I am pleased to share that our virtual convocation ceremonies will now take place on Friday, May 7, 2021. 

There are two different ceremonies taking place; please note the one for your program: 

2 p.m. ADT Ceremony

Degrees: Ph.D. in Educational Studies; Master of Science, Education, and Adult Education; Bachelors of Education, Science, Nursing, Human Nutrition, Human Kinetics; Diplomas in Engineering and Integrated Dietetic Internship.

6 p.m. ADT Ceremony

Degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Business Administration, Music, and Diplomas in Jazz Studies, Bachelor of Arts & Science in Health, Bachelor of Arts & Science in Climate & Environment.

Please take a moment to review our 2021 Spring Convocation ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, which includes details on how to join each ceremony. If you have a question you don’t see addressed here, please contact Shanna Hopkins, Director of Alumni Affairs, at

In closing, this has certainly been an unprecedented year, requiring patience, flexibility, and resilience from everyone involved. We are grateful for your cooperation and understanding, and are looking forward to celebrating on Friday, May 7th.

Congratulations to all of our graduating students on your accomplishments. We look forward to the virtual celebration of your very special day.


Andy W. Hakin PhD

StFX President & Vice-Chancellor 


COVID-19 UPDATE - April 27

3 months ago

To the StFX Community,

Moments ago, the Premier and Dr. Strang provided an update that included a shutdown of the entire province (with some exceptions), beginning 8:00 AM tomorrow, Wednesday April 28th and remaining in place for two weeks.

In effect, this directive will mean the following:

  • Those who can work from home, should do so. If you cannot work from home or if you need to come to StFX to access work-related materials, it is perfectly acceptable to do so. Please contact your supervisor to discuss your specific details.
  • All classes currently in progress will transfer to online delivery format. Students are asked to contact their professors should they have questions.
  • Members of the campus community performing research-related activities must check in with their Dean.
  • Essential services will be maintained (e.g. Safety & Security). Construction activities are deemed essential services and will continue.
  • Convocation will be postponed. We will be evaluating our options and commit to updating the StFX Community as soon as we are ready with further details.

These are trying times; however, in the words of Dr. Strang, we will ‘lock arms and stay strong’ and get through this together. 


Andy W. Hakin PhD

President and Vice-Chancellor St Francis Xavier University 

PO BOX 5000 Antigonish NS | Canada | B2G 2W5

t. 902 867 2188 |  e.  


Unique Schwartz School, Coady partnership launches through Sears Internships 

3 months ago
L-r, Dr. Brad Long, Sears Interns Nicolas Coyle, Derin Derici and Victoria Morley, and Yogesh Ghore

A unique partnership at StFX is creating a bridge for Gerald Schwartz School of Business students into the Coady Institute thanks to the efforts of Dr. Brad Long, the John T. Sears Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility in the Schwartz School, and Yogesh Ghore, Senior Program Staff at Coady.  

Dr. Long has just hired the first cohort of three students through the new Sears Internships in Social Enterprise Program, made possible through funding from the endowed chair position he holds.

The Sears Interns—they include Victoria Morley, who graduates in May with a BBA honours degree in enterprise systems; Derin Derici, a fourth year BBA student taking an advanced major in marketing, minor in economics; and Nicolas Coyle, a fourth year student, taking a BBA advanced major in finance, minor in economics—will work on three separate virtual projects alongside Dr. Long, Mr. Ghore, Eric Smith and several other Coady team members, and the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India. 

“The idea was for business students to be able to become involved with learning opportunities available through Coady, and I took that as an invitation to consider a broad range of possibilities. Conversations with Yogesh led to the idea of summer student internships – paid summer jobs doing research and/or working on projects that introduce Schwartz students to Coady people, partners, and development approaches,” Dr. Long says. 

The Coady is currently collaborating on a project with SEWA to enhance women farmers’ access to agricultural markets in India with the objective of improving their income and wellbeing. This project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Fund for Innovation and Transformation (FIT). Coady’s role in this project is to develop and test tools with women farmers to identify capacity building needs. Two of the students will work on this project: 

1. Producer-led value chain mapping of salt and fresh vegetables with women farmers in Gujrat, India. This project will include mapping the value chains from sourcing of agricultural inputs to production, harvesting, aggregation, processing, wholesale, distribution and retailing to local and distant markets. 

2. A model dashboard development for the farmers. A key component of the FIT project is developing a ‘model dashboard’ for farmers that helps them learn, make informed decisions and track progress. This component includes identification of the key performance indicators, the method, tools and frequency of data collection, data storage, and analysis. Working with the SEWA grassroots implementation team, the student will assess the need of such a dashboard, its feasibility, and technical requirements. 

The third project is Reimagining human capital from the perspective of women, workers, and union members, and the intersectionality of all three. Mr. Ghore says the current framing of human capital used by the World Bank and multilaterals focus on health and education as key components, linking investments in them to economic returns and productivity gains. This research aims to understand, expand and enliven the concept of human capital and influence its subsequent application. 


The students are excited for the opportunity. 

“I believe that the work SEWA does to mobilize and empower women in India is important, and a very worthy cause that I would love to contribute to. As an enterprise systems student, I have had the opportunity to work with data over the last four years and understand that data can be used as an asset and a means to create impactful change. This project intersects both my passion for making impactful change, as well as my desire to gain some rich short-term work experience,” Ms. Morley says.

Mr. Coyle says the recent farmers protest across India has brought to his attention the economic difficulties faced by female farmers. “My goal in taking on this project is to facilitate the empowerment of these women by increasing their margins after identifying steps and technologies in the value chain which could be improved upon, ensuring that they’re not invisible in the process by increasing the awareness of their value to themselves and other stakeholders. The Sears Internship provides me the opportunity to improve the lives of rural female farmers in Gujarat; giving these farmers the information they need will help increase their economic welfare. As we all know, investing in women not only adds to their quality of life, but uplifts their communities as well.”

Ms. Derici says she believes without hesitation that the future of the human capital depends on perspective of women, workers and union members. “I am confident that my skills and my passion for empowering women in workforce are a good match for the position.”


“These projects will be a great learning opportunity for the students as well as for the women farmers and entrepreneurs in rural India making a real difference in their livelihoods,” Mr. Ghore says. 

“The students will get to work on real life issues such as identifying barriers for women’s access to markets, credit and technology. They not only get to learn about the issues and challenges, but they will get to apply their newly learned knowledge and skills in finance, enterprise systems and marketing to address them. This will be a chance to apply the concepts they have learned in the class into real life enterprises that women run in an emerging market context. They will also get to interact with youth in India and share ideas, perspectives and solutions with them.” 

He says as the communities respond to the pandemic, it is opening up opportunities to look at problems differently and bring in innovations such as the use of digital technology. “What is exciting is that we will be connecting the StFX students with grassroots women leaders from SEWA to become part of the recovery and shape rebuilding of the rural economy—in other words, building it better! In a unique way, this partnership between the Coady and Schwartz School of Business allows different initiatives/programs within StFX to come together in way that creates new value and a win-win for all.” 

Dr. Long says these projects are part of the broader vision of social responsibility – students will be able to use tools learned in the business school, from data management to cost analysis to research and beyond and apply them in ways that generate positive social impact. 

“They will also be immersed in a non-corporate organization – a grassroots, member-based social enterprise – and so they will learn to appreciate the plurality ways that we can organize ourselves and create more sustainable and just futures.” 

The partnership resulted from conversations between Dr. Long, who leads work in ethics, leadership and responsible management, and Mr. Ghore, who leads the Inclusive Economies area at Coady.  

As part of his role at Coady, Mr. Ghore works closely with SEWA. As part of initial meetings, he shared initiatives Coady had with SEWA on women’s economic empowerment, innovation and entrepreneurship. In consultation with SEWA, he proposed initial ideas and then Dr. Long and he worked together and came up with four projects that were supposed to take StFX students to India in summer 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and they had to cancel all plans.  

Dr. Long says at that time, he was only planning to hire one student and select one project. Since he didn’t use any funding from last year, it allows him to hire more students this summer. 

The two worked out a plan for the students to work with SEWA remotely on the three projects. 

The John T. Sears Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility is funded by John and Adrienne Peacock, both StFX graduates. Ten per cent of funds generated from this chair go towards supporting Schwartz School students who participate in projects or programming offered through the Coady. This is intended to facilitate student participation in community enterprise or community development programming within the Coady. The Peacocks have maintained a strong connection to their alma mater. Mr. Peacock is now StFX Chancellor and previously served on the Coady Institute Advisory Committee. Mrs. Peacock has served on the StFX Board of Governors. Both have been a part of fundraising campaigns for the university.  

SEWA is one of the world’s largest member-based organizations with over 1.9 million women members working in the informal sector across 18 states in India. SEWA organizes and empowers women, helping them to earn a living and making visible their individual labour or small enterprises. SEWA has been a partner with the Coady International Institute for over 40 years in the co-creation of knowledge about social enterprises and asset-based community development. StFX awarded SEWA’s founder Ela Bhatt, an honorary doctorate in 1999. 


StFX student establishing mentorship program for LGBTQ youth in Atlantic Canada as Pathy Fellowship recipient

3 months 1 week ago
Lauren Sobot

Lauren Sobot, a graduating StFX student will be working to establish a mentorship program between LGBTQ adults and LGBTQ youth in Atlantic Canada, as a Pathy Foundation Fellowship recipient at the Coady Institute. 

“I am excited and honoured to give back to the community and make a positive impact on LGBTQ youth. I’ve heard that the Pathy Fellowship really encourages you to push your limits and step outside of your comfort zone, so I’m very much looking forward to growing both personally and professionally,” says Ms. Sobot of Burlington, ON, who graduates from StFX with an honours degree in biology and psychology.

She is among 16 youth leaders awarded a Pathy Fellowship for 2021-22. 

The 12-month fellowship provides community-focused experiential learning opportunities for graduating students of McGill University, Queen’s University, University of Ottawa, Bishop’s University, and St. Francis Xavier University. Applicants submit a self-designed initiative proposal to work with a community with which they have a connection, to foster sustainable positive social change in Canada and around the world. The Pathy Family Foundation supports each fellow with funding of up to $40,000. This is the largest cohort yet, with six fellows from the previously deferred 2020-21 program joining 10 new fellows for a cohort of 16. 

With the Pathy Foundation Fellowship, Ms. Sobot hopes to establish a mentorship program between LGBTQ adults and LGBTQ teens and young adults, with the goal of building confidence and resiliency within young LGBTQ people. “It’s so important for youth to have a trusted adult to confide in and receive advice about the unique stressors that come along with being LGBTQ, such as coming out, having unsupportive family, and dealing with homophobic and/or transphobic discrimination,” she says. 

“I got the idea from my own struggles that I’ve experienced through growing up as a member of the Queer community. Two very important figures in my journey are Dr. Rhea Ashley Hoskin and Dr. Karen Blair, who I met through my time as a research student in Dr. Blair’s LGBTQ psychology lab at StFX (now at Trent University). Having proudly LGBTQ professors has made me vastly more comfortable with myself, and they have been incredible LGBTQ mentors and role models,” she says. 

Ms. Sobot says she heard about the Pathy Fellowship in her first year at StFX. “I always thought it sounded like a great opportunity, but never imagined I could come up with a suitable initiative to apply. In my third year, while reflecting on my mentorship with Dr. Blair and Dr. Hoskin, I thought it would be a great idea to give the opportunity for mentorship to other LGBTQ youth.”

She says it felt surreal to know her journey has led her from being a closeted teenager to having the chance to start a program to help other youth experiencing similar challenges. 

Ms. Sobot is the 15th StFX graduate to undertake a Pathy Fellowship since 2015.


StFX student Devon Parris one of only 10 in Canada named a 3M National Student Fellowship recipient

3 months 1 week ago
Devon Parris

StFX student Devon Parris has been named a 2021 3M National Student Fellowship Award recipient—one of only 10 students from across the country to receive the honour. 

The fellowship is awarded up to 10 full-time diploma and undergraduate students at Canadian post-secondary institutions who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their lives, at their post-secondary institution. 

These students embrace a vision of education that enhances their academic experience and beyond, the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) says.

"It definitely means a lot to have the opportunity to work alongside the STLHE and the student leaders they are developing. I’m really excited to develop and contribute towards the fantastic projects the STLHE have to offer,” says Mr. Parris, a graduating fourth year honours English major and former varsity athlete from Kingston, ON.

He was also a recipient this past year of one of six inaugural Racial Justice Leadership Grants from StFX’s Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership. 

For a full bio, please see:

Devon Parris 

Devon is a fourth year student from Kingston, ON, studying English at St. Francis Xavier University. He is a former varsity athlete and one of six inaugural recipients of the Frank Mckenna Centre for Leadership’s inaugural Racial Justice Leadership Grant—a grant designed to support advocacy, outreach, and research projects by BIPOC students in the area of racial justice. Devon’s project is the “Anti-Racist Film Review”—a film review site that analyzes anti-racist discourse within film while critiquing superficial, exploitive, and misrepresentations of contemporary racism. Devon hopes to create a more educated audience for anti-racist film and anti-racist discourse, while also highlighting narratives that portray oppression with nuance and depth. In the last year and a half, Devon has been a guest panelist on the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government’s 2020 Election Panel, involved in planning StFX’s 2022 Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Summit (a conference that spotlights BIPOC academics and students in Atlantic Canada), and also appeared at national and regional undergraduate conferences to discuss anti-racist discourse in film. Following his undergraduate studies, Devon plans to pursue either a master’s degree in critical race theory or attend Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law with the goal of contributing towards racial justice in Canada.



Refresh 2021: Fun, leadership and community building on the agenda for Nova Scotia high school students at upcoming NSSSA provincial conference

3 months 2 weeks ago
Fun, leadership and community building are on the agenda for Nova Scotia high school students at upcoming NSSSA provincial conference, taking place virtually from StFX May 22-23

Nova Scotia high school students have many great reasons to attend the Nova Scotia Secondary Schools’ Association (NSSSA) annual provincial conference, Refresh 2021, taking place May 22-23, virtually from the StFX campus. 

Chief among them is that the student-led conference focuses on promoting leadership skills and community, in a warm, inclusive atmosphere, and it’s a lot of fun, say conference co-chairs Katie MacLennan and Ella Stacey. 

“This leadership conference will feature four incredible keynote addresses, opportunities to make friends from all over the province, and fun activities such as a talent show, "how-to" sessions and much more,” says Ms. MacLennan, a first year StFX engineering student from Bras d’Or, Cape Breton.

The weekend will be filled with friendship and an energy that’s a defining factor of NSSSA, she says. “The energy is so unique and so hard to describe. It’s a comforting, welcoming atmosphere that really brings out the best in you.”

“Through the NSSSA, I was able to conquer my fears of public speaking and it helped with the social anxiety I face,” says Ms. Stacey, a second year Dalhousie University student, originally from California, but who’s lived in Halifax for the past decade.

“My first provincial conference, Exceeding Expectations 2016, I was given a very warm welcome and gained skills, which I still use in my everyday life. By the time our last conference, Vision 2020, rolled around I was able to be myself, speak my mind, and be surrounded by many kids doing the same. The NSSSA is such an inclusive community, and I am always able to turn to the friends I made through it.

“This conference will be unlike anything done on a provincial level before. The pandemic took a lot from us all. It’s my hope that Refresh can bring some normalcy to the lives of high school students across Nova Scotia!”

The conference is open to all Grade 9-12 students in Nova Scotia. The registration fee is $25, with registration closing on May 1, 2021. Students can register here.

Refresh 2021, the organizers say, is a chance to take a moment to breathe and ‘refresh,’ to recognize the knowledge gained after many unexpected challenges and unforeseen changes in 2020. It’s also a chance to gain new strength and energy, to reinvigorate, and focus on the future. 


Ms. MacLennan says to make the virtual conference special, organizers will be shipping "Conference in a Box" boxes to all delegates who register. The boxes will include information and manuals about the conference along with some extra fun stuff delegates would typically get at a provincial conference.

Highlights from Refresh 2021 will include four dynamic keynotes and seven skill-building and how-to sessions over the weekend.

Ms. MacLennan says a welcoming tone will be set right from the start with an opening keynote delivered by Playfair, known for high spirited and high energy activities. Over the next two days, delegates will be inspired by addresses from filmmakers and StFX alumni Meghan and Marie Wright; the Nova Scotia Youth Project, whose mission is to make Nova Scotia a safer, healthier, and happier place for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth; and Andy Thibodeau, a longtime NSSSA favorite, who closes the conference speaking about what we’ve all learned through a year of COVID-19 and how to apply that knowledge. (Bios for all speakers follow below.)  

While most students will attend the entire conference, Ms. MacLennan says delegates are able to attend sessions as their schedule allows. 


She says from her own personal perspective, NSSSA has greatly enhanced her leadership skills since she attended her first conference in Grade 10. At the time, she says she was quite shy, but has since grown to take on a number of leadership roles and has grown in her own self-confidence. 

“It’s mainly the energy that comes along with NSSSA. It’s a very unique high energy that allows you to participate as much as you like. Delegates have the right to pass, to say no thank you to participating in an activity. It gives you the ability to sculpt your own conference experience.”

Gaining new friends, listening to inspiring keynotes and attending the sessions with people who are going through the same things as you are just some of the benefits, she says. 

An added bonus to attending this leadership conference is that NSSSA is known across Canada and participation in it looks great on a resume, she says. 

Keynote Bios


Playfair pic.jpg Carol Ann Fried, Empress of Friedom Training Services, is passionate and committed to bringing playfulness and laughter into the workplace. Best known for helping people discover their “JoySpot,” she obtained her MEd in counselling psychology from McGill with a BA (honours) in psychology, sociology and romance languages from Dalhousie University. Carol Ann has enjoyed faculty appointments at McGill University and UBC. Carol Ann has been a professional speaker, facilitator and consultant with business, education, health, government, technology and the helping professions for over 25 years. Before finding her true calling as a motivational speaker and trainer, she was most successful in show business with screen credits including guest host for Howie Mandel on TV's "Deal or No Deal," voice coach to Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, and Sarah McLaughlan, and body double for Kim Basinger in the motion picture, "9 1⁄2 Weeks.” Proud recipient of the coveted second prize in CBC Radio’s world-famous answering machine contest, her latest creative foray is into the world of improvisational theatre, where she performs with Vancouver Playback Theatre. Carol Ann’s sessions are invariably hailed as practical, dynamic and fun.


Meghan and Marie Wright

Meaghan Wright pic.jpg Marie Wright pic.jpg  

Meaghan and Marie Wright are twin sisters and filmmakers from Dartmouth, NS. After completing marketing degrees at StFX, they co-founded Mirror Image Media, a full service video production company based in Halifax. There, they found their love for filmmaking and wanted to help tell stories around social issues. Mirror Image Media produces documentaries and promotional content at the local and national level. Some clients they’ve worked with are the National Film Board, CBC, the Canadian Cancer Society, and United Way. Two of their documentaries have circulated internationally at film festivals — The Social Shift, a feature length film on a cross Canada journey discovering social entrepreneurship, along with Transform, a short autobiographical documentary on spinal cord injuries. They were recently on Season 7's Amazing Race Canada and competed as the only east coast team. Currently, they are directing a feature length documentary on the North Preston Surf Program, which dives into the historical and cultural reasons behind the lack of diversity in surfing. They are passionate about creating change and bringing marginalized voices to the forefront through film. 


NS Youth Project - Mitch Hill & Sefin Stefura

Mitch NSSSA.jpg  

Mitch Hill

Mitch Hill is a queer and non-binary community organizer and activist from Cape Breton, NS. Mitch has been a grassroots 2SLGBTQ+ activist since their youth. Over the past nine years Mitch has held a variety of hired and volunteer roles within local pride organizations, AIDS service organizations, and other nonprofits. They hold a Bachelor of Business Administration from CBU while being a proud anti-capitalist. Currently Mitch works as a community educator for The Youth Project, specializing in 2SLGBTQ+ education in schools from elementary to university, and professional development. They are also a health and wellness educator for the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia. Mitch is vice-chair for the Cape Breton Center of Sexual Health, and a board member with The Ally Center. 

Sefin NSSSA.jpg Sefin Stefura

Sefin Stefura grew up and still lives in Dominion, NS. Sefin had been volunteering with the Youth Project between 2017-19 and has been working with the Youth Project since the summer of 2019. He has a passion for helping the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and he hopes to be a positive role model for struggling youth. He has a healthy obsession with his cat named Prince, is a proud new uncle, and is a massive dork. Sefin is currently in year three of obtaining his Bachelor of Arts/Community Studies degree. In his free time, he can be found working on his 2SLGBTQ+ novel, Final Encore.

Andy Thibodeau  

Andy NSSSA.jpg Andy Thibodeau was called “Mr. School Spirit” by King’s University College at Western when they named him alumni of the year in 2014. This passion for leadership and school spirit started in Grade 7 when Andy successfully ran for student council vice president. From organizing dances in 8th grade, pep rallies in high school and orientation week in university, Andy’s enthusiasm for youth leadership led to his unique career of inspiring students and staff across the continent. Since 1992, Andy has delivered presentations to schools and conferences across North America. Over two million people have seen him speak in all 10 Canadian provinces and 40 US states. 2021 will be Andy’s 13th appearance at NSSSA. As half of “Andy & Stu” speakers from 1992 to 1998, they keynoted the first FIVE NSSSA conferences!  Andy empowers leaders because he was always an active school leader: Student Council VP in elementary school, Student Council President at Laurier Secondary School, and Orientation Week coordinator in university. A highlight of his student leadership career was when Much Music named his high school the “Most Spirited School in Canada” while he was president. 




Clarification of Ontario restrictions related to COVID-19

3 months 2 weeks ago

To the StFX Community,

Earlier today, the province of Ontario announced further restrictions related to COVID-19, including travel into the province from Quebec, effective Monday, April 19th. This has caused some of our Ontario students (and their families) concern that they would not be able to return to Ontario when their exams are completed sometime on or after April 19th. The Ontario government’s decision today does NOT prevent an Ontario resident from travel into the province.  It also does not prevent a person travelling into Ontario for work purposes nor prevents those who are merely travelling through the province to reach their principal residence in another province.  Upon entering Ontario, students should be prepared to provide any available identification or documentation that supports the reasons for entry into the province.


With the above in mind, all examinations or other assessments previously scheduled shall be maintained.


For detailed information on interprovincial travel restrictions into Ontario from Quebec please visit:


Kevin B. Wamsley, PhD

Academic Vice-President & Provost

St Francis Xavier University

Antigonish, NS



Marking the one-year anniversary of mass shooting in NS

3 months 2 weeks ago



To the campus community,

This Sunday will mark the one-year anniversary of the horrific mass shooting that shook our province, our country, and the world. Our Xaverian community shall remember the victims and those affected by this senseless tragedy, including those who had ties to our university community: StFX alumnae Alanna Jenkins ’05 and Lisa McCully ’13, as well as Cst. Heidi Stevenson, who grew up in Antigonish County and whose mother is a former StFX employee.

In honour of those we lost, the flags within Alumni Plaza will remain at half-mast until Tuesday, April 20th.

Earlier this week the province of Nova Scotia announced plans to hold two minutes of silence at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 18th in conjunction with a memorial service that will be live-streamed on Facebook. I encourage everyone to observe this moment of silence and take time to remember the 22 lives lost to this senseless tragedy:  

Tom Bagley

Kristen Beaton

Jamie and Greg Blair

Joy and Peter Bond

Corrie Ellison

Gina Goulet

Lillian Hyslop

Dawn Madsen and Frank Gulenchyn

Lisa McCully

Sean McLeod and Alanna Jenkins

Heather O'Brien

Heidi Stevenson

Emily Tuck, Jolene Oliver, and Aaron Tuck 

Joey Webber

John Zahl and Elizabeth Thomas

I also want to remind everyone of the mental health and wellness supports available to all members of the campus community. I encourage you to make use of these services if they are helpful to you, whether this week or any time throughout the year.

For students:

  • Health and Counselling Services – visit our website to learn more about our services and make an appointment:
  • NS Mental Health Crisis Line: 1-888-429-8167
  • Good2TalkNS: 1-833-292-3698
  • Crisis Text Line: text “GOOD2TALKNS” to 686868

If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911 or proceed to your nearest hospital emergency department.

For StFX and Sodexo employees and their families:

Employee and Family Assistance Program – Our EFA program is available 24/7 and can provide you with immediate and confidential help for any work, health or life concern. Access your EFAP: 

  • By phone: 1-800-387-4765
  • By website:
  • Download the MyEAP app in your app store

If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911 or proceed to your nearest hospital emergency department.

Please take care of yourself and one another.



Andy W. Hakin PhD

President and Vice-Chancellor

St Francis Xavier University 


StFX earth sciences professor Dr. Brendan Murphy honoured with career achievement award from Geological Association of Canada

3 months 2 weeks ago
Dr. Brendan Murphy

A longtime StFX earth sciences professor has been honoured nationally for his exemplary career. Dr. Brendan Murphy, a Senior Research Professor, has been awarded the 2021 Career Achievement Award from the Volcanology and Igneous Petrology Division of the Geological Association of Canada in recognition of his career achievements in the field of volcanology and/or igneous petrology. Candidates are judged on their lifetime scientific contribution.

“The Volcanology and Igneous Petrology Division's Career Achievement Award has a long history of recognizing exceptional contributions to the field. Dr. Brendan Murphy is an exemplary recipient for this award. His work has given us new insights into petrology and tectonics and he has been an exceptional mentor and colleague to so many people. 

GAC would like to congratulate Dr. Murphy on this award and we are grateful to the VIP Division for the work they do to recognize and celebrate exceptional scientists like Dr. Murphy,” says Geological Association of Canada president Dr. Deanne van Rooyen.

Dr. Murphy says he is honoured by the career achievement award. 

“I suppose a career award means that I have successfully graduated from ‘young turk’ to ‘old turkey!’ I am honoured (and a little embarrassed) to be added to a list of recipients that includes many of Canada’s petrological icons,” says Dr. Murphy. 

“I am also the beneficiary of the wonderful geoscience culture in Atlantic Canada and a strong research culture in our Earth Sciences Department. Generations of students have also been a major stimulus and inspiration. Among many things, they taught me that learning is a two-way street. I would not be receiving this, or any other award, without them. To see many of them have successful careers after graduation is something that gives me the greatest satisfaction as I begin to navigate through my dotage.”

Dr. Murphy’s research focused on relationships between tectonism and magma compositions, using them to unravel the evolution of mountain belts and reconstruct the development of Earth and the continents. 

“Dr. Murphy has had an exceptional career with extensive contributions to our understanding of igneous petrology and igneous relationships to tectonism. His impressive career spans 40 years and has yielded more than 325 refereed publications and numerous Canadian and international awards and research grants,” reads the official award announcement. 

“His knowledge and expertise have been transmitted to thousands of students in dozens of mineralogy and petrology course deliveries, the writing of two textbooks and the supervision of research students. His many editorships/associate editorships/guest editorships, memberships on dozens of national and international scholarly organizations, and hundreds of reviews for journals, books and grant committees demonstrate he is an international scientific ambassador for igneous petrology and Canadian geoscience.”


StFX to honour Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang and Agnico Eagle Mines Vice-Chair and CEO Sean Boyd during Spring Convocation 2021

3 months 3 weeks ago
L-r, Dr. Robert Strang and Sean Boyd

St. Francis Xavier University will welcome almost 950 new alumni and will honour Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang and Sean Boyd, Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Agnico Eagle Mines Limited, with the degree Doctor of Laws honoris causa, during Spring Convocation ceremonies on May 2. 

StFX will award degrees and diplomas to nearly 945 students from the Class of 2021 during morning and afternoon ceremonies that will be streamed live from the campus. StFX will present honorary degrees to Dr. Strang, Nova Scotia’s top doctor and public face of Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 response, and to Mr. Boyd, who’s been heralded as a global visionary in the mining industry and is a former member of the StFX Board of Governors.

“Along with our students, who have worked exceptionally hard to earn their degrees, we are very proud to welcome Dr. Strang and Mr. Boyd to the Xaverian family,” said StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin. “Both have demonstrated tremendous leadership in their respective fields.”

The stage party, socially distanced, will proceed with convocation while graduates, parents and friends will watch virtually. The link to Spring Convocation 2021 will be posted on the university’s website in the days ahead.

Robert Strang resize .jpg Dr. Robert Strang

Dr. Robert Strang is Chief Medical Officer of Health in Nova Scotia appointed in August 2007. He received his medical degree from the University of British Columbia and completed Family Practice and Public Health and Preventive Medicine residencies at UBC. Dr. Strang was an Associate Medical Officer of Health in South Fraser Health, BC, from 1997-1999 and in 1999, he moved to Halifax to become Medical Officer of Health for Capital District Health Authority. He was acting provincial Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health prior to his CMOH appointment. As CMOH, he has provided leadership around the renewal of the public health system in Nova Scotia as well as raising awareness around the importance of creating policies and environments that support better health for Nova Scotian families and communities. He is passionate about public health and has worked with non-government organizations such as Smoke Free Nova Scotia, Heart and Stroke Foundation and Public Health Association of Nova Scotia. Dr. Strang has an adjunct appointment with Dalhousie University, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology.  

Sean_Boyd resize .jpg Sean Boyd

Sean Boyd serves as the Vice-Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Agnico Eagle Mines Limited, Canada’s second-biggest gold mining company. He was appointed the company’s CEO in 1998 after having served as the Chief Financial Officer from 1990-98 and Comptroller from 1985-90. During his tenure as CEO, Agnico Eagle has grown from a small, single mine gold producer to a multi-mine international gold mining company. In December 2020, the Globe and Mail ROB Magazine recognized Mr. Boyd as its Global Visionary of the Year CEO. He has been recognized as The Northern Miner’s Mining Person of the year in 2007 and 2017 and appeared on the list of The Best-Performing CEOs in the World in the Harvard Business Review in 2010, 2016 and 2017. In 2019, he was recognized by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (CPA Ontario) as a Fellow, the highest honour bestowed upon a CPA within the accounting profession. Mr. Boyd also serves on the Board of Directors for The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation where he chairs the Granting, Impact and Stewardship Committee. He has also served on the Board of the World Gold Council and as a member of the St. Francis Xavier University Board of Governors. Prior to joining Agnico Eagle in 1985, he was a staff accountant with Clarkson Gordon (Ernst & Young). He is a Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant (FCPA, CA) and a graduate of the University of Toronto (BComm).