ANTIGONISH, N.S. - A few of Morag Graham’s “rowdy friends from Route 19” were amongst the many in attendance at the Schwartz School of Business auditorium, Saturday (Sept. 29) morning, for the St. F.X. Hall of Honour ceremony; a traditional event during Homecoming Weekend.
Graham, from Judique and the Class of 1968, jokingly described her many supporters in the audience with the one-liner, as she took the microphone as one of three alumni going into the Hall of Honour for 2018.
She was joined by Sydney native Allene MacPherson Goforth from the Class of 1965, and fellow ’68 graduate Joseph McGann, from Westford, Massachusetts.
“Morag ‘MacDonald’ Graham is an example of a life lived with integrity, strength and determination served by a keen intellect and desire to serve others,” Graham’s citation read.
“While a student at St. F.X., she was actively involved in organizations running the gamut from X-Project to the debating team. She was a member of the field hockey team and wrote a weekly column for the Xaverian Weekly.
“In her final year, she received the Marimar Trophy (today called the Carmel Loisier Award) as the outstanding senior female graduate.”
The citation goes on to talk about her post-university life which included representing and promoting her beloved alma-mater.
“She spent six years serving on the St. F.X. Board of Governors and has also been actively involved in alumni chapter activities and has been a frequent presence at St. F.X. Homecoming. Morag spent almost 40 years as an educator, taking on roles from classroom teacher to principal.”
It also noted her vast community involvement, with organizations such as L’Arche Cape Breton and the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre.
While at the podium, Graham paid particular tribute to the Sisters of Notre Dame whom, she noted, were in charge of Mount St. Bernard.
“They were the centre of our universe,” Graham said.
“They watched over us, kept us in line, and made sure that we would avail ourselves to all that St. F.X. had to offer. It was these sisters who instilled in us the belief that, as women, we had tremendous capabilities and the power to make a difference in this world.”
In talking to the Casket after the ceremony, Graham noted she was born in Port Hood but “moved south” to Judique, again displaying her dry wit.
“And I knew, always, that I wanted to go to St. F.X.,” she said. “I did have a connection to St. F.X.; I had an aunt who was a history professor at St. F.X. Actually, I think, she was the first female professors at St. F.X., her name was Mother St. Veronica. So, yes, I always knew I would come here.”
Also part of the ceremony was the annual awarding of student essay prizes and the reading of those essays by the four writers (each representing a different year of study).
This year’s winners were; Majd Al Zhouri (first year), Bridget Way-Brackenbury (second year), Amy Rowe (third year) and Cameron Sehl (fourth year).
Al Zhouri, who, with his family, escaped the Syrian civil war and settled in Antigonish, thanks to the efforts of Syrian-Antigonish Families Embrace (SAFE), wrote about his integration into the community and how, since arriving, St. F.X. has provided him with motivation, a path.
“I always say, I feel like I belong to this St. F.X. family and to Antigonish … Antigonish is my second home,” he said, thoughtfully.
He talked about how his university education is proceeding so far, and how it’s providing him with an even clearer picture for his future.
“I’m zeroing in on what I want to do with my engineering diploma - mechanical engineering - this is what I want to be doing for my life, now I’m really sure,” he said. “St. F.X. has helped me figure out what I want to do in my life.”