Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

This is your moment: First year StFX students commit to life of excellence during Xaverian Welcome 

September 18th, 2022
Members of the incoming class enter the University Chapel for the Xaverian Welcome ceremony on September 18th

“This is your moment.”

That was the message StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin delivered to members of the incoming Class of 2022, who gathered in the University Chapel on September 18, clad in black academic robes, for the Xaverian Welcome ceremony.

The ceremony is one of three important institutional occasions in the life of StFX, where all new students are invited to commit to a life of thought and service as they join the Xaverian community. The commitment is again renewed during the students’ senior year, during the X-Ring ceremony and at Convocation.

“This is indeed a rare moment, a moment you as an individual can start a blank page,” Dr. Hakin told the students as they start this new journey. We’re gathered together at StFX, he said, on a shared mission to produce citizens who change the world. 

“You must, must engage,” he encouraged. 

“This is a moment in which you must be bold.”

StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin

Education, he says, serves as that gold key. It will open many, many doors. But it is also up to you to take larger steps, to push yourself. 

“You are Xaverians. That means stepping up to a different level of interaction,” he said as he encouraged students to become active, engaged members of the community, to give back, to look out for each other.   

“Let those Xaverian values shine.”


It was a message reiterated by Students’ Union president Brendan Roberts.

“Today you have a chance to think about who want to be when you leave this university,” he told the incoming class. 

As part of the ceremony, the students were invited to write down their goals, of what they hope to achieve during their time at StFX and submit a card reflecting their own personal Xaverian Commitment. 

The Xaverian Welcome is a ceremony recognizing that you have officially joined a very special community, Mr. Roberts told students. It is also about a road to a fresh start, where each of us is encouraged to think about the contribution we can make. 


StFX Chaplain Fr. Donald MacGillivray said many would say StFX is a very special place that is marked by a unique thing called the Xaverian Spirit. What is this spirit, he asked? What is it that makes StFX so special? 

It can be summed up in two words: Friendship and service. 

The Xaverian Spirit is fueled by the friends made and the shared experiences, the community found at StFX, he said. It’s also about service. Since StFX was founded, our forebears and founders believed we receive an education not only for ourselves, but what we can offer to the world, he said.  

Academic Vice-President and Provost Dr. Amanda Cockshutt noted how the ceremony introduces the incoming class to academia and to Xaverian values. This time of transition to university is one of the few opportunities in life to do things differently, she said as she encouraged students to take advantage of this opportunity to discover their passions academically and as a member of the community. Change and trying new things is the only way to grow, she said. 

“I wish you all the best in your university experience.”

Students’ Union Vice-President Academic, Naomi Stobart, and Griffin Cudmore-Keating, Sr. Catherine MacNeil Award recipient as outstanding first-year student 2021-2022, introduced the Xaverian Commitment, while Lydia Shaw-Peters, a member of the 2022 incoming class, offered the reflection. 

StFX Director of Student Life, Jacqueline De Leebeeck, served as master of ceremonies. 

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