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Power of the Xaverian spirit shines as StFX students receive coveted X-Rings 

December 3rd, 2021

The power of the Xaverian spirit is the ability to come together and to thrive.

And that’s exactly what 2021 X-Ring keynote speaker Professor Jonathan Hood challenged members of the Class of 2022 to do as they received their coveted X-Rings on December 3rd, the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, a day filled with magic.

“That’s our ability to support,” Professor Hood, a graduate from the Class of 2008 and an expert in sport management who joined the university this year as the first tenure track faculty member for StFX’s Sport Management Minor, told the senior students. 

“You all have the ability to change the atmosphere in any room you enter. I want you to remember that,” Prof. Hood, who holds a master’s degree from Western University and is completing his PhD at the University of Toronto and is a former CFL linebacker and top special teams player, said as he shared three messages the X-Ring represents. 

This ring means that you are seen, that you have the strength and the support to overcome, and you have the ability to support others on your journey moving forward. 

Prof. Jonathan Hood

Prof. Hood recalled his own journey and how as a student he initially struggled when he came to StFX. The Xaverian Family looked after him and surrounded him. At StFX, you get that intimacy and intimacy is required as university is hard, he said.  

“You have that power and I want to challenge you to embrace that spirit,” he said. 

Classmates and friends may be struggling. Give them your attention, give them your time. Everybody should be seen, and with strength and support, move forward, he said. 

EXCITEMENT, PRIDE

Excitement, pride, and a feeling of accomplishment were all palpable on the StFX campus as over 1,100 students received their X-Rings. As well, a number of Class of 2021 graduates resubmitted their rings to participate in the full in-person ceremony. StFX also welcomed some 2,000 family members and supporters spread out in viewing rooms across campus following COVID-19 protocols. 

The X-Ring ceremony is widely regarded as one of the highlights of a student’s experience at StFX, commemorating this special community, the hard work involved, and the bonds made. Countdown signs appear in windows all over campus and throughout town months before the events.  

“It’s here. We’re gathered on the Feast of St. Francis Xavier,” StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin said as he opened his remarks. 

Many things make the X-Ring special, he said. 

“It symbolizes the transformative educational journey at StFX that is unique to you. It serves as a daily reminder that you are a Xaverian.”

The X-Ring serves to remind you of this journey, of how you grew and enhanced your perspective, the experiences that helped shape your development as a future leader.   

Wear your X-Ring with great pride, he said. “Go from here and use your StFX values to make a difference all around you. The world will be a better place because of what you can offer.”

EXHAUSTING, ENCHANTING JOURNEY

Master of ceremonies was Ailie Sullivan, co-president of the Senior Class.

Nathan Penman, fellow co-president, delivered opening remarks. 

“Wow. This is pretty cool,” he said as thanked all involved in this journey.  

The journey has been exhausting, but also enchanting, and it has made us stronger

He also noted “something rare, something StFX”—something special about this place, including the faculty who are so eager to see students succeed. 

The Senior Class co-presidents worked with class development officer Nicole Youssef to establish a Senior Class Gift, which creates a fund for students who require financial assistance with textbook purchases. Chancellor John Peacock will match every dollar donated by a student up to $5,000. 

HONORARY X-RING

Another highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of this year’s honorary X-Ring, always a much-guarded secret, to Sheree Christie, recently retired from Facilities Management. 

Also, during the ceremony, Students’ Union VP Academic Meredith Cudmore-Keating delivered words of welcome and University Chaplain Father Donald MacGillivray ’79 gave the invocation. 

“This ceremony marks one of the most significant events on StFX’s calendar, one that is anticipated by students throughout their degree and celebrated by Xaverians long after they graduate. No X-Ring is earned alone,” Ms. Cudmore-Keating said. 

We’re incredibly fortunate to enjoy this ceremony together in one physical space, she says, a privilege we would have taken for granted just a couple of years ago.

The X-Ring is a tangible symbol of all we hold dear, Fr. MacGillivray said. 

Kelsey MacLean gave an explanation of the StFX motto and Atik Galao read from the writings of Dr. Moses Coady. 

Candle bearers, 13 members of the graduating class, Julianna Weire, Tiffany Bondoc, Sarah Elliott, Maddie Tennant, Sherra Rogers, Mia Landi, Matt Daniels, Nick Murray, Jasonique Moss, Danielle Franada, Bailey Webster, Sam Delaney and Blaise D’Albertanson lit the StFX candle, 13 candles in the shape of an ‘X.’

Avery MacDonald and Nathan Langley provided music as the X-Rings were distributed.

Senior student Ben Boudreau introduced the guest speaker, while Students’ Union president Jack Irvin led all in the Xaverian Commitment. 

StFX Alumni Association president Marc Rodrigue, on behalf of over 50,000 alumni, congratulated the senior students. He encouraged all students to stand and give thanks to all who have supported them on their journey. The folks in this room will be there for you, he said, to celebrate your success and in your times of struggle, when you need a hand up. 

Cory Julian of Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation performed the Honour Song to honour and celebrate all X-Ring recipients. 

As students exited the Keating Centre they tapped on a wooden chapel pew, a tradition formed when the graduating class was small enough to fit in the University Chapel. The tradition continues today with the placement of a wooden kneeler from the Chapel at the exit.  

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