Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

"I Can't Believe It's Happening!" Over 900 StFX Students Receive Coveted X-Rings

December 3rd, 2019
Excited StFX students prepare to receive their X-Rings.

It’s a moment that members of the StFX family say they will cherish forever, and one that aspiring Xaverians look forward to for years.

Today, December 3, 2019, the moment became real for over 900 senior St. Francis Xavier University students, who received their coveted X-Rings during a ceremony in StFX’s Charles V. Keating Centre.

“It doesn’t feel like it’s actually happening!” exclaimed one excited student as she entered into the Keating Centre at the start of the ceremony, alongside other senior students all clad in black ceremonial gowns.

One by one, students processed towards the main stage and received their X-Rings, and the Keating Centre could hardly contain the excitement of the moment. Indeed, the students’ enthusiasm was felt all over campus.

StFX President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Kevin Wamsley began his remarks by noting a bit of irony: he himself does not have an X-Ring.

“I feel naked,” he joked. “But after four-and-a-half years at StFX, I think I have an idea of what makes this place tick.”

“You are students who are engaged in your university experiences. You are engaged in social justice activities, and in helping other students as well as members of our broader community.”

He said this is the power represented by the X-Ring.

“The X-Ring is the symbol of your experience here at StFX. The X-Ring is the symbol of your commitment to community. So give back to your community like the graduates before you, and give back to StFX. Honor your X Ring by serving others.

“The world needs it, badly.”

Dr. Wamsley also extended thanks to all of the family and friends who travelled great distances to be on-campus for the ceremony, as well as those who watched via livestream.

SKILLS THAT MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND

The ceremony’s guest speaker was Maggie MacDonnell ’02, a StFX alumna who won the 2017 Global Teacher Prize over 20,000 nominees from 179 countries. In her remarks, she offered a reflection on her takeaways from her time as a student, and how they are all encapsulated in her X-Ring.

“When I think about my time at StFX, I realize that while I did graduate with a degree in Human Kinetics, what I really graduated with was an unofficial degree in community building,” she said. “When I remember StFX’s culture, and all of the activities and programs, there were so many times for us as students to practice learning how to connect with each other and how to build community.

“To me, that’s what the ring symbolizes. It conveys something tangible to somehow represent and symbolize all of those meaningful, but intangible, lessons that StFX has taught us.

“So today, when you get your ring, know that it’s your reminder that you come from a special place. A place that values community, and those soft skills that make the world go around.”

Senior class students participated throughout the ceremony. Jonas Lawrence, co-president of the senior class, served as master of ceremonies, while Nicholas Latulippe greeted the excited students and the approximately 2000 family and friends who watched from the Amelia Saputo Centre for Healthy Living.

Senior class co-president Taylor Kennah gave opening remarks, speaking about the unique bond that’s shared by all X-Ring recipients – one that cannot be fully understood by those who are not part of the StFX family.  

Samantha Bardwell gave an explanation of the StFX motto, and Maxwell Gauthier read from the writings of Dr. Moses Coady. 

Joanna Alphonso introduced the guest speaker and Emma Kyte gave the response. 

Students’ Union president Cecil VanBuskirk led the Xaverian Commitment. 

HONORARY X-RING

The honorary X-Ring is presented annually to someone who personifies the Xaverian spirit of community, leadership, and service.  This year’s honorary X-Ring was awarded to Dr. David Cudmore, a general practice physician in Antigonish who has served as the medical leader of the StFX Athletics sports medicine team for over 30 years. During the ceremony, Dr. Cudmore was lauded for his compassion, professionalism, and his outstanding concern for the wellbeing of StFX student athletes.

ALUMNI FAMILY

“There are over 50,000 alumni cheering you on right now, whether they know you or not,” said StFX Alumni Association president Marc Rodrigue ‘08. “They’ve been cheering you on since you arrived at StFX, and now they’ll encourage you to join them in cheering on those who follow in your footsteps.

“No matter what this ring means to you, I encourage you to think of it as being part of something bigger than just ourselves.”

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