Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

A special message from our new President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Andy Hakin

June 30th, 2020
Dr. Andy Hakin
Dr. Andy Hakin

When my wife Linda and I came to Antigonish in late February, we had no way of knowing what challenges the next few months would bring and that our move across Canada would take place under such unprecedented circumstances. We had planned to visit our families in the UK in March, but fortunately we decided to cancel our plans just as the progression of COVID-19 across North America and Europe began to accelerate.  Times of great uncertainty have a way of demonstrating what people -- and institutions -- are made of, and I have been so impressed with the resilience and innovation shown by the StFX community in response to the personal, academic, and institutional challenges posed by meeting the challenges of the pandemic.

As I step into the role of President and Vice-Chancellor, I want to offer my personal thanks to members of the university executive team who invited me to be part of the careful planning work over the past few months. As I begin my tenure, I am grateful to be surrounded by this strong group of committed and caring leaders who work incredibly hard to ensure our university’s success. I also want to thank and congratulate Dr. Kevin Wamsley and Dr. Tim Hynes for the outstanding work as Interim President and Acting Academic Vice-President and Provost. These are challenging roles under any circumstances and you have executed them with great skill and care in the midst of significant upheaval. It is because of your leadership that I feel confident we are on the right, carefully considered, path forward, both in the near- and longer-term.

I also want to thank the broader campus community for your hard work and dedication during these trying times. Having been part of the executive team these past few months, I have seen first-hand your commitment to our students and to one another. The collegiality, professionalism, speed, and most of all, collaboration in response to issues raised by COVID-19 has been, in one word, outstanding. Your efforts have been a critical part of moving the university forward and will continue to be needed in the months ahead. Welcoming employees and then students back to campus is a big task, however I am certain our community is committed to making this happen.

To our students, I can’t wait to see you in September. I am honoured to be joining you as part of the Xaverian family. I have been an educator for many years which gives me the experience to say that StFX is a both a unique and strong institution. It’s a special place, steeped in history with its focus on the future needs of our society.  The academic and life experiences you will encounter at StFX cannot be found at other universities. StFX community members are proud to be the stewards of the academic voyages of discovery that lie ahead of you.

Overall, I am incredibly excited to officially join you as the 19th President and Vice-Chancellor and Linda and I are greatly looking forward to settling into life in Antigonish. We are currently completing our 14-day self-isolation and I, like many of you, am currently working from home. We are the test subjects for the new “green bracelet” protocol being implemented this fall to identify students who have completed their self-isolation! We need to keep our community safe and protected.

Again, I want to thank you for the warm welcome and encouragement you’ve provided to Linda and I since my appointment as president was announced in February. I look forward to meeting you again, to getting to know you, and to listening to your many perspectives regarding the wonderful institution that is StFX University.

Hail and Health,

Dr. Andy Hakin

President and Vice-Chancellor

St. Francis Xavier University


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