Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Fall Convocation & X-Ring Announcement

October 30th, 2020

To the Campus Community, 

I am writing to provide an update regarding plans for our December 3rd X-Ring ceremony and our Fall Convocation ceremony scheduled for December 5th.

This week, StFX’s Executive Council accepted a recommendation to proceed with an in-person X-Ring ceremony and shift our Fall Convocation to a virtual format. There were several factors why we have made this decision. The main ones are outlined below. 

X-Ring Ceremony will be in-person, but students must register to participate.

Participants in our X-Ring ceremony are typically senior students approaching graduation, most of whom are already in the Antigonish area. With the decision to proceed with in-person classes this fall, most students receiving their X-Ring are already within our community and will not need to travel. Our successful delivery of a “dispersed” Xaverian Welcome event earlier this month has demonstrated we are able to hold larger-scale ceremonies on campus while maintaining physical distancing and all other COVID-19 health and safety requirements. While the X-Ring ceremony will undoubtedly look different this year, we are confident we can host this event in a similar manner. Please stay tuned for specific information as to how the ceremony will unfold. 

There are two important differences this year:

1)    We cannot allow family members or other guests to attend this year’s ceremony.
Simply, we do not have the capacity to safely welcome the number of guests who typically attend. We recognize this will be disappointing for students who looked forward to sharing the X-Ring ceremony with loved ones but hope they will understand that health and safety must come first. Extending an invitation to over 1,000 guests would place our attendee numbers well beyond what we could safely manage while still respecting COVID-19 restrictions, even in a dispersed format. Rest assured, we will be live-streaming our ceremony for all loved ones who would like to watch and cheer students on from afar. 

We also recognize that many family members within the Atlantic Bubble may intend to travel to Antigonish to celebrate with their students after the ceremony, even if they themselves cannot attend the ceremony in person. For the health and safety of our community, we are strongly discouraging these plans and ask that everyone respect that our local community has worked hard to create and maintain an “Antigonish bubble” within the broader Atlantic Canadian one. Limiting travel to and from Antigonish (including eliminating our fall reading week and asking students to stay in the local area over Thanksgiving) has been critical to the success of this initiative. Instead, we encourage you to celebrate safely with family members and loved ones during the holiday break, which begins just over two weeks after our X-Ring ceremony on December 3rd.  

2)    Students who wish to participate in the X-Ring ceremony MUST register. In order to plan a safe event, eligible students who wish to participate must register by Wednesday, November 18. The registration link can be found here:

Fall Convocation will be virtual.

An important difference between Fall Convocation and the X-Ring ceremony is the travel normally involved for participants. While most X-Ring recipients are already in the Antigonish area, this is not typically the case for fall graduates, many of whom are completing their studies from a distance or have already left Antigonish. Each year, we also hear from a number of graduates who cannot attend the ceremony because of distance or other factors. With these considerations in mind, we are proceeding with a live, virtual convocation ceremony. We look forward to celebrating our graduates and their achievements in this format where we can be together, even if apart. Please note that graduates will also be extended the invitation to return for any in-person convocation ceremony over the next five years to enjoy the experience of walking across the stage here in Antigonish should they wish. Stay tuned for more information on plans for Fall Convocation. 

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year of immense disruption, and changes to these two seminal events are the latest in a long string of hard decisions. Still, I remain so impressed by the resiliency of our students. I am greatly looking forward to sharing in your achievements this fall, even if our celebrations look a little different.


Andy W. Hakin, PhD

President and Vice-Chancellor

St. Francis Xavier University 


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