StFX graduates encouraged to make a difference in Fall Convocation
Graduates of St. Francis Xavier University and StFX’s Coady International Institute were charged with one simple message during Fall Convocation 2015 – to make a difference.
“Now what will you do with this extraordinary gift we call a StFX credential. How will you make a difference?” StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald asked the over 200 StFX graduates and 39 graduates of StFX’s Coady Institute who were celebrated for their achievement in the ceremony held Dec. 5 at the Keating Centre.
Businessman and philanthropist Victor Dahdaleh was honoured during the ceremony with the degree Doctor of Laws honoris causa. Mr. Dahdaleh is owner and chairman of Dadco and affiliated companies, and has supported many causes through the Dahdaleh Charitable Foundation.
“You now have this great responsibility and possibility to do good,” Dr. MacDonald said in his address to Convocation.
“Is that not the StFX way, is that not what StFX graduates try to do on a daily basis, to just try to make a difference.
“We’re proud of your accomplishments, graduates.”
As Dr. MacDonald recognized this final Class of 2015, he also took time to acknowledge the contributions of StFX faculty and staff, and the family and friends of the graduates who have helped them in their StFX journey.
“Here at StFX you showed us it is possible to come together and address issues of importance with civility, respect and an open mind.
“You’re joining a family of one of the most unique around the world, it’s called the StFX family,” he said.
In his remarks, Dr. Dahdaleh also advised graduates to follow StFX’s mission statement and to try to make a difference in the world.
“You are also asked to think of your degree as an opportunity to change the world,” he advised graduates.
Today is a day to celebrate your achievement, and it is also about looking toward the future, Dr. Dahdaleh said as he shared lessons he’s learned over the course of his life, advising graduates to invest in people, to build long term relationships, to be humble, and to never give up.
“StFX is one of the most distinguished institutions in Canada and it’s an honour to join you today,” he said as he congratulated graduates.
Mansi Bajpai of India gave the address on behalf of the Coady International Institute graduates. She read the speech of behalf of Coady graduate Meaza Bahiru, program associate at Ethiopian Agricultural .
“I loved my time here, and I’m probably speaking for all of us. But it wasn’t always easy,” she told Convocation.
“Now we’ve emerged from all the challenges, better ready,” she said.
“To everyone who touched our lives, we say thank you,” she said as he also offered big congratulations to classmates on their achievement.
Receiving major honours at the ceremony were StFX philosophy professor Dr. Will Sweet, who received the 2015 StFX Outreach Award; and the Park Bench Players who received the StFX Community Partner Recognition Award.
In one of the highlights of the ceremony, StFX student Catherine Baillie Abidi of Halifax, NS became the first student to graduate from the PhD in Educational Studies program, a unique inter-university education doctoral program launched in 2010 by three Nova Scotia universities, StFX, Mount St. Vincent and Acadia University. She received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies.
StFX Alumni Association vice-president Glenn Horne congratulated all and encouraged everyone to stay connected with the StFX family. “We’re eager to support you in your journey, any way we can.
“The one thing we ask you is to become engaged,” he said, encouraging all to put their talents to work in their future communities.