Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX Alumni Association gifts $500,000 to help complete Amelia Saputo Centre For Healthy Living

June 17th, 2022

For over a century, the StFX Alumni Association has always supported alma mater, and on June 17th, that unwavering commitment continued yet again when the association gifted StFX $500,000 to help complete the Amelia Saputo Centre for Healthy Living.

“Today is a milestone in the Alumni Association’s history, celebrating our largest gift to date,” Alumni Association president Kathleen Sheridan said during the announcement held in the Joyce Family Atrium in Mulroney Hall. 

The Alumni Association has always endeavoured to work with StFX on projects that serve both the university and the community, and it is so pleased to be able to do that again, she said. “This project is an example of just that.” 

It was a day of celebration on campus. Just hours before, StFX and the greater community came together to fete alumni John and Adrienne Peacock for their lifetime legacy of support, including the announcement of a $5 million donation towards the completion of the Amelia Saputo Centre (SEE STORY HERE). In making the gift, the Peacocks issued the university a challenge: they’d pledge up to $5 million towards the Saputo Centre, if StFX could find matching pledges from other donors.

The Peacock family gift inspired the StFX Alumni Association to also contribute to the project.

The funding will help move StFX’s current recreation centre in the Amelia Saputo Centre upstairs to a larger, more inclusive space, with more accessible and gender-inclusive change rooms and locker rooms.

“Part of StFX’s appeal is its situation in a small town. Students come from across Canada and all over the world to study in a place where your professors address you by your first name…where you feel part of the community every step of your journey here,” Ms. Sheridan said. But perhaps the Saputo Centre is the best reminder that we all belong in Antigonish, she said. It is a place you’re as likely to see a five-year-old getting ready as you are a varsity athlete, and individuals of all ages. “I don’t know too many other universities like that,” she said. 

“This gift will give back to this entire community.”

Ms. Sheridan said the alumni of StFX know how essential it is for the entire community to be healthy and well and happy, and the association is proud to be part of the rejuvenation of the Saputo Centre, which is putting accessibility and inclusion at the forefront. 

Ms. Sheridan also led a toast of all those gathered, and thanked the Peacock family for their leadership, both in donating to StFX and in rallying others to help move the project across the finish line. 

In expressing gratitude for the association’s latest gift to StFX, Board of Governors Chair Dennis Flood said the StFX Alumni Association has a long history of supporting university initiatives, and StFX simply could not function without this robust group of dedicated graduates.

“StFX alumni have rallied to support university initiatives since the inception of the association,” he said. “Projects such as Memorial Field, and Memorial Rink, in honour of the Xaverians who served in WWI, the Alumni Aquatic Centre, Alumni Memorial Gates and our Alumni Flag Plaza are evidence of the huge difference their commitment makes in the lives of our students. They continue to support annually with event sponsorship, entrance and accessibility scholarships, bursary aid and the purchase of two X-Rings per year for students in financial need.” 

Alumni Association immediate past president Marc Rodrigue spoke on the association’s decision to support the project and why the project is so important. 

Since 1893, when alumni first came together to discuss forming an association, they have been an organization dedicated to supporting the university, he said. 

Murray Kyte, StFX Vice-President Advancement, welcomed all to the event, acknowledging that we are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People.

He welcomed Ainslee Pictou, from the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, a 14-year-old accomplished dancer, who performed the women’s fancy shawl dance, which represents the opening of a cocoon, when the butterfly emerges.

Mr. Kyte also welcomed five Alumni Association past presidents who were in attendance, Valerie Bobyk, Bill Kiely, Ed McHugh, Glenn Horne, and Mr. Rodrigue, as well as a number of alumni council members and chapter presidents here on this incredible day with historic gifts for our community. Also on hand was Scott Grant, representing alumni affinity partner, TD Insurance.

“We salute and thank you,” he said. 


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