Victoria Sandre described “an incredible mosaic of students,” one with myriad talents and abilities, when she addressed the morning ceremony of St. F.X. spring convocation.
The Ottawa native was senior class speaker for a group of the newest Xaverian alumni, who received degrees and diplomas in Bachelor of Science, Nursing, Human Nutrition, Human Kinetics and Engineering at the Keating Centre.
St. F.X. Chancellor Susan Crocker opened the May 7 ceremony, talking about graduates “embracing the total St. F.X. experience in your own unique way.”
President Kent MacDonald, as has become his tradition, thanked faculty and staff for their exemplary role in the successes of the graduates.
“No one has told me they really, really liked the president,” he quipped of his conversations with parents.
MacDonald also continued another tradition, honouring the “unsung heroes,” before asking grandparents to stand, if they could, and be recognized.
“It is a beautiful time to be graduating from university … and the world you enter is an exciting place,” he said.
MacDonald encouraged graduates “to embrace the effect [and responsibility] of a St. F.X. education.”
Alan Syliboy, an internationally renowned Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw artist, filmmaker, musician, author and social justice advocate, received an honorary degree.
“I am an example of not where you start, but where you finish,” he said, in his remarks to the Class of 2017.
Syliboy talked about his supportive family, particularly his mother, who he said protected him from residential schools.
“My father was not as fortunate,” he said, noting he paid a “heavy price” for his eight-year experience.
As for the continuing reconciliation “healing process,” Syliboy said he has “started very well.”
James Cormier presented his Department of Chemistry colleague – Truis Smith-Palmer – who received the Outstanding Teaching Award, in absentia.
He described her as “an example of how faculty should embrace the Xaverian experience.”
Glenn Horne, St. F.X. Alumni Association president, described it as “an absolute pleasure” to welcome graduates to one of the most “established and connected” university alumni networks.
“Become as engaged – just as you have here,” he requested of graduates.
Horne closed his remarks with video featuring alumni from across Canada, welcoming graduates to the international family.