Alumni Recognition Awards

The Alumni Recognition Awards recognize the contributions and accomplishments of very special members of our Xaverian Family.  These awards are presented annually at StFX Homecoming celebrations. 

Hall of Honour

The St. Francis Xavier University Hall of Honour was initiated by the Class of 1991 Legacy Committee to recognize those members of the StFX community who have carried on the Xaverian tradition of helping others. The Hall of Honour serves as an inspiration to current students to ensure this StFX tradition continues. The first induction ceremony took place during Homecoming celebrations on September 28, 1991. 

2023 Recipient: John Gillies ‘69 ‘73 ‘78

Alumni Hall of Honour - John Gillies '69 '73

A proud Cape Bretoner with a passion for people, history and culture, John Gillies has touched countless lives through his teaching and community leadership. A graduate of StFX’s BA, B.Ed. and Teacher’s Certificate programs, John’s journey took him overseas to Nigeria and India, and back to his hometown of Port Hood where he has worked for decades to educate and uplift those around him. 

John’s record of community involvement is a testament to his gifts and his character. Among his most outstanding contributions was co-founding the Chestico Museum in 1978 – an institution into which he has poured his love of intergenerational learning and the stories of Cape Bretoners. A friend to many community elders, John has inspired people of all ages to share in the rich history and culture of Inverness County. 

Through his career as a teacher and guidance counsellor, John has fostered excellence both within and far beyond the reaches of the classroom. Teaching history at Port Hood Consolidated School and later at Dalbrae Academy, John led numerous initiatives to enrich the lives of both students and staff.  

In his community, John gives tirelessly of himself to build a more caring and compassionate world. Whether serving on the Credit Union board, in parish and diocese committees, or in volunteer groups supporting refugee families, he has consistently answered the call to help others. And yet he has still found time to be a devoted husband to his wife Cathy and father to their four children. 

An educator. An historian. The backbone of his community. A true Xaverian. In the words of one of his nominators, citing our university’s motto: “Whatsoever things are good, whatsoever things are true – these are John.” 

2023 Recipient: Marie Salamoun-Dunne '71

Alumni Hall of Honour - Marie Salamoun-Dunne '71

A Xaverian who has devoted over three decades of her life to leadership and service, Marie Salamoun-Dunne is a deserving addition to the StFX Hall of Honour.  

After tragically losing her mother and brother to ALS, Marie became an advocate and champion for patients suffering from this debilitating disease. She has served as President of the ALS Society of PEI and the National Board of Directors of the ALS Society of Canada, as well as Hospice Palliative Care for PEI. From training volunteers to raising awareness and supporting families along their journey, Marie is someone who goes above and beyond to help others. 

As a recognized leader in the field of palliative care, death and bereavement, Marie has been called to share her expertise as a speaker in national and international settings. She has raised thousands of dollars for ALS patients and has received several awards and distinctions for her outstanding service.  

In addition to ALS advocacy, Marie has involved herself in a breadth of initiatives to improve the health and wellbeing of her community. A co-founder of 100 Women who Care, she has volunteered her time and skills with the PEI Heart & Stroke Foundation, the PEI Cancer Strategy Planning Committee, and Syrian refugee sponsorship efforts.  

Marie is a proud Xaverian and supporter of her alma mater, returning many times to share her knowledge with the next generation of students. An alumna who lives the values of generosity and empathy, she is a role model to all of us who seek to make a difference in the world. 

2023 Recipient: Craig Smith '83

Alumni Hall of Honour - Craig Smith '83

Coming to StFX in 1978, Craig Smith found his place in the University’s X-Project, a student society that organizes social activities and tutors Black and Indigenous youth in local communities. To this day, Craig continues to volunteer his time to participate in the planning and organization of X-Project community events. Simply put, the volunteering Craig has done with the youth of our communities is nothing short of remarkable.

Craig’s community involvement does not stop with X-Project, however, as he went on to join the Provincial Board of Directors for Special Olympics Nova Scotia. In this position, Craig quickly proved himself as an invaluable member of the organization, providing unwavering leadership, guidance, and support. His passion was made apparent in many ways, like the long drives he would make from New Glasgow to Halifax in order to take part in monthly meetings.

When Craig stepped down from his position on the Board after 10 years, it wasn’t to say goodbye. He merely wished to focus his efforts on the Special Olympics Pictou Regional Committee. Craig’s aptitude for inspiring generosity and kindness in others proved critical to the funding of many competitions and programs, and he championed a number of fundraising initiatives in order to eradicate participation fees for athletes.

Craig can still be found volunteering at the Provincial Games and fundraisers. In the summer of 2022, he was among those up in the kitchen in the early hours of the morning helping to ready breakfast for all of the event’s participants.

With such demonstrable strength of character and generosity of heart, Craig Smith exemplifies all the qualities of a Xaverian.

Distinguished Alumus/Alumna Achievement Awards

Presented to an alumnus/alumna who brings honour to the University, the Alumni Association, and their community through exceptional leadership and service. The individual would embody the spirit of StFX through his/her actions and accomplishments. 

2023 Recipient: Hon. Graydon Nicholas '68

Distinguished Alumnus - Graydon Nicholas '68

The Honourable Graydon Nicholas has lived nothing short of a remarkable life. Born in Tobique First Nation, he graduated from StFX in 1968 with a BSc and went on to earn a law degree from the University of New Brunswick, becoming the first Indigenous member of the New Brunswick Bar in 1971. 

Adding a Master of Social Work degree to his credentials in 1974, Graydon would proceed to change the world as a lawyer and educator, researcher and policy advisor, human rights advocate, and holder of public office.  

Working with First Nation communities and organizations, Graydon has been instrumental in the advancement of Indigenous and treaty rights – notably acting as co-counsel for the Union of Nova Scotia Indians in the Donald Marshall Jr. Inquiry. The impacts of his leadership have been felt at the local, regional, national and international levels.  

In 1991, Graydon was appointed as a provincial court judge in New Brunswick – the first Indigenous person to ever hold this role in the province. He served until 2009 when he then became New Brunswick’s 30th Lieutenant Governor. 

A legal scholar with extensive knowledge of justice issues impacting First Nations, Graydon was Chair of Native Studies at St. Thomas University from 1989-91 and resumed the role in 2015 – where he continues today, in addition to serving as Chancellor. 

A recipient of the Order of Canada, the Order of New Brunswick and countless honours and distinctions – including an honorary LLD from StFX in 1994 – Graydon has remained humble and dedicated to helping those around him. He is a person of deep faith, actively involved in spiritual leadership and community volunteerism alongside his wife Beth.  

It is with pride that we present the Honourable Graydon Nicholas, a trailblazer and a truly great Xaverian, with the Distinguished Alumnus Achievement Award. 

2023 Recipient: Dr. Pamela Farrell '06

Distinguished Alumna Award - Pam Farrell '06

Dr. Pamela Farrell’s life’s work is a  demonstration of a commitment in this tradition in adult education.

Currently a Professor Education at the University of Calgary, Dr. Farrell is receiving a Distinguished Alumna Award today, having been nominated by a  neighbourhood organization (GROW) in Niagara Falls who wanted to recognize  her commitment to working with issues that “spring from the hearts and pains of her people.”

No doubt informed by her early learning and graduation from the Diploma in Adult Education from StFX in 2006 (distance), she recognized a lack of affordable access to healthy food in a neighbourhood in Niagara Falls.

In response she  founded GROW, a community food literacy centre purposed to combat the food desert in which so many people resided. In the words of her GROW fan club “Pamela’s work in the community is so effective because she listens to the specific needs of the community, and tailors her charitable work to suit those needs.”  Beyond providing access to healthy food, Pamela organized a myriad of events and programs to assist those in need and has also nurtured relationships with businesses in the community to sustain GROW’s work in those communities.  

Pamela’s efforts to eliminate food insecurity do not stop at the local level. On January 1st, 2023, Pamela was officially appointed as the Honorary Consul of Switzerland, the country of her birth, for the Province of Alberta.

Pamela is an exceptional and model Xaverian carrying forward the true spirit of adult education for social change that is part of the StFX experience and mission.

Young Alumnus/Alumna Award

Presented to a young alumnus/alumna who embodies the spirit of StFX through their actions and accomplishments. The recipient must be 40 years of age or less. 

2023 Recipient: Dr. Jack Rasmussen '07

Young Alumnus Award - Jack Rasmussen '07

Born and raised in Antigonish, Dr. Jack Rasmussen is a remarkable Xaverian not only for his professional success, but for his dedication to helping and caring for others. 

Jack graduated from StFX in 2007 with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Human Kinetics, and went on to obtain his medical degree from Dalhousie in 2011. He then pursued a residency in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and a two-year Critical Care Medicine fellowship before accepting an attending position at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, as well as a teaching position in the Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine. 

Drawing on his skills and expertise in the areas of both plastic surgery and critical care, Jack has played a lead role in advancing the field of medicine and in particular, the treatment of burns and complex wounds. As Director of the QEII Health Sciences Centre Burn Unit, he has fostered a collaborative approach that has tangibly improved outcomes for patients. Jack is known for his positive attitude, the time he devotes to supporting patients and families along their journey, and being a reliable and supportive colleague.  

Jack is not only a brilliant surgeon but a leading educator, recognized last year with the Dr. Gerald Sparks Resident Teaching Award. A mentor to many health professionals and students, he still finds time each year to visit StFX and share his knowledge at the Rankin School of Nursing.  

As a young alumnus, Jack’s excellence shines in his selfless commitment to his role, his patients, and the broader medical community. He is an embodiment of Xaverian values and a source of pride for our StFX family. 

Friend of StFX Award

Awarded to a non-alumnus/alumna or an organization who has demonstrated a commitment of outstanding service to the Alumni Association and/or the University. The individual or organization has brought honour to StFX through significant contributions, and is an inspiration to StFX and extended community.  

2023 Recipient: 98.9 XFM

The Friend of StFX Award is presented annually to a non-graduate or organization that has demonstrated outstanding service and inspiration to the StFX Alumni Association and/or to StFX. We’re pleased to announce this year’s recipient is 98.9XFM Radio. Since it first hit the airways on March 25, 1943, 98.9XFM—then known as CJFX—has been a community builder and valued friend to StFX. Indeed, the two were intertwined from the start as StFX physics professor Father Dr. E.M. Clark was instrumental in building the technical and mechanical part of the radio station!

Begun to connect people and keep the community informed, 98.9XFM has made good on that mandate for over 80 years. Through the decades, StFX and 98.9XFM have often teamed together. The Peoples’ School was an important part of its early programming, and StFX faculty and students have shared time in the broadcast booth. 98.9XFM has opened the doors to many students interested in broadcast and music careers, among them notably the legendary Danny Gallivan, Senator Al Graham, and the godfather of Celtic music, John Allan Cameron.

98.9XFM has also helped extend the university into the community, broadcasting live at countless convocation ceremonies, events, and sporting games. More recently, amidst the fear and unknown experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, this partnership resulted in a key educational tool, a new radio show featuring XFM’s Ken Farrell and StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin. The program, still airing today, helped keep the community informed and up to date on campus plans.

Today, 98.9XFM remains one of a few independent radio stations. In 2020, Broadcast Industry in Canada named it Canada’s best small market Radio Station of the Year, noting 98.9XFM’s long and tremendous track record of serving its coverage area. We are proud of our long, vital partnership with 98.9XFM and of XFM’s contributions to connect the community.

Alumni Chapter of the Year Award

The award is intended to honor the Chapter as a whole. It would signify outstanding loyalty, commitment and support to the University in all or one of the following: Alumni events, mentorship, recruitment, and/or student receptions. 

2023 Recipient: TBA

Xaverian Spirit Award

The Xaverian Spirit Award honours those who make our StFX experience truly memorable.  It is open to StFX faculty, staff and any other campus-based employees.  It is meant for the unsung heroes who exemplify the Xaverian Spirit and who’s support, encouragement, guidance or attitude leave a lasting impression on alumni long after graduation. 

2023 Recipient: Patti Boyle

Xaverian Spirit Award - Patti Boyle

Nurturing, kind, and affable – these are but some of the qualities that describe Patti Boyle. During her time as a member of the cleaning staff for the StFX campus residences, Patti bestowed a welcome positivity that greatly improved the residence environment for many of our students.  

Going to university can be as daunting a prospect as it is exciting, and staying in residence is often a student’s first experience of independence. Going beyond her already crucial duties as a member of the Facilities Management Department, Patti helped to alleviate the everyday stresses of university life, as a chat with her was guaranteed to raise one’s spirits. 

Patti was frequently heard before she was seen, as she would so often sing while seeing to her duties, filling the atmosphere with a tangible and genuine warmth. Always ready to offer a pleasant greeting, and always happy to help, Patti's loving presence and genuine care for those around her made many student residents feel as though they were at a home away from home. 

Patti was always interested to hear how an exam went and frequently ensured that the students were taking care of themselves and getting enough rest. Her care and attentiveness were unparalleled. 

Exhibiting true spirit, and embodying all the qualities of a Xaverian, Patti's love for StFX and all those who call it home has instilled a greater sense of community and togetherness. For those who were lucky enough to have met Patti during their studies, their time at StFX was made that much better.

Pride of StFX Award (Student)

The Pride of StFX Award is presented to a student who embodies the spirit of StFX through actions and accomplishments and has made a significant impact in support of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

2023 Recipient: Henderson Cartwright

Pride of StFX Student Award - Henderson Cartwright

The StFX Alumni Association is thrilled to present the second-ever Pride of StFX Student award to the one and only Henderson Cartwright. A fearless advocate for human rights, Henderson has made a tremendous impact on the Xaverian community while working towards not one but two undergraduate degrees.  

As a member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, Henderson goes above and beyond to support their fellow students and create a campus that fully embraces diversity. They are recognized for their visionary leadership in X-Pride, having led the society through the challenges of a global pandemic while fighting tenaciously for inclusive queer spaces at StFX. 

An international student who is no stranger to facing discrimination, Henderson’s compassion and friendship make StFX a safer place for many. Having served as the Student of African Descent rep on the Students’ Union Representative Council and now sitting on the U executive team, Henderson is actively engaged in planning more inclusive events and activities across campus. 

Those who know Henderson describe him as unique, charismatic, passionate and kind; the “iconic face” of Drag Toy Bingos at the Inn. Despite his heavy academic workload, Henderson has devoted countless late nights working to challenge injustice.  

A leader in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and the university community at large, Henderson embodies the Xaverian spirit every day through their actions and contributions. Their example inspires all of us to embrace who we are, stand up for what we believe in, and show kindness to those around us. 

Pride of StFX Award (Alum)

The Pride of StFX Award is presented to an alumni who embodies the spirit of StFX through actions and accomplishments and has made a significant impact in support of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in which they reside.

2023 Recipient: Dr. Jacinta Sullivan '11

Pride of StFX Alum Award - Jacinta Sullivan

Our second-ever annual Pride of StFX alum award goes to Dr. Jacinta Sullivan, a trailblazer for 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion in the business and health care community. 

A graduate of StFX’s Human Kinetics – Kinesiology program, Jacinta furthered her studies and became a Naturopathic Doctor in 2019. From there, she went on to co-found her own business: Juniper Naturopathic Clinic in Fort McMurray, Alberta. 

Jacinta stands out as an inclusive health care practitioner, a woman in leadership, a community volunteer, and a 2SLGBTQIA+ advocate. Her clinic offers free appointments to Two-Spirit, transgender and gender-diverse individuals who are uninsured or underinsured, and offers sliding-scale payment options to make services accessible to marginalized communities. 

Juniper Naturopathic became a Rainbow Space business in 2021, after completing a designation process that included gender-neutral forms and documents, a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy, gender-inclusive washroom facilities, and inclusivity training for all staff.  

Along with her business partner and wife Dr. Sam Clouthier, Jacinta is a local business leader in 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion and advocacy. In 2022, Juniper Naturopathic received the Pride YMM Business Leadership Award. The clinic has been a Pride gold sponsor and an event sponsor for the annual Queer Prom for local 2SLGBTQIA+ youth. 

Jacinta has personally volunteered countless hours of her time with Pride YMM and at annual Pride festivals, a source of constant encouragement and kindness to fellow community members.  

Jacinta’s leadership is an example of the important role business have to play in creating a more inclusive world, and the need for health care services that affirm people of all genders and sexual orientations. 

Dr. Jacinta Sullivan is a model Xaverian who embodies the value of helping others in everything she does. It is with pride that we extend this award – and congratulate Jacinta and Sam on their recent marriage!