Extraordinary legacy taking things forward: StFX welcomes further $14.5 million from Jeannine Deveau to champion equity, create new campus centres 

Jeannine Deveau announcement
Pictured at the announcement, l-r, Deveau Scholar and fourth year StFX student Mya Slawter, Bill and Jeanine Gunn, StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin, emcee and StFX faculty member Dr. Jonathan Hood, and Dr. Martha Fanjoy, representing the Coady Circle of Abundance.

The late Jeannine Deveau, StFX Class of 1944, was a person who saw injustice and refused to accept it. Her extraordinary legacy continues to envision a better world and impact the lives of countless people at StFX, where on Feb. 28th, the university welcomed news of a second multi-million dollar gift, forming the backbone of efforts to make StFX an equitable university for all. 

“We at StFX are nearly at the nine-year mark of Ms. Deveau’s first gift of $8 million. It is fitting, then, that we can now announce her second gift to the university, nine years after the first—for $14.5 million more dollars,” StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin said to large cheers and a standing ovation as he made the announcement at the Barrick Auditorium. 

“When we add the matching funds, Jeannine Deveau’s two gifts total more than $22 million—by far the largest pledge by any alumna or alumnus of StFX. Ever.”

Ms. Deveau, who passed in July 2022, three weeks shy of her 99th birthday, was the force behind the Jeannine Deveau Educational Equity Endowment, established at StFX to help remove barriers to postsecondary educating facing Indigenous students and African Nova Scotian students. In 2015, she gifted the university $8 million. 

Dr. Hakin said this latest gift, in addition to providing further funds for ongoing programs and initiatives, enables StFX to create two new, exciting centres on campus: the Deveau Centre for Indigenous Governance and Social Justice and the Black Student Success Centre.

Deveau 2024
The incredible generosity of the late Jeannine Deveau showed how one person can make an enormous difference. Here the crowd thanks the Deveau family, including Jeanine and Bill Gunn.  


Five million dollars, with a further $5 million in reserve to match future fundraised dollars, will go towards establishing the Deveau Centre for Indigenous Governance and Social Justice. In keeping with StFX’s commitment to responding to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Deveau Centre will support generations of scholars undertaking human rights research, advocacy work, and policy development. “The Deveau Centre, staffed by Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, will serve as a generative think tank and a nexus for critical assessment of policies and governance that combat systemic discrimination and prevent racism,” Dr. Hakin said. 

“It’s taking things forward,” he said. It’s taking those calls forward, in this community and in this country. “That’s big.” 

This gift has also allowed StFX to match another gift, from the McCall MacBain Foundation, to create the Black Student Success Centre. Providing full funding for the centre’s first four years, the Deveau gift will support Black students’ academic journey by providing Afrocentric spaces and programming that remove the barriers of social isolation and anxiety, as well as academic and financial stress.

“That is going to make a massive difference in our community.”

Dr. Hakin acknowledged the fine work on these projects by a number of people on campus: anthropology professor Dr. L. Jane McMillan, Knowledge Keeper Kerry Prosper, Associate Vice-President Research & Graduate Studies Dr. Richard Isnor, Vice-President Students Elizabeth Yeo, and Human Rights and Equity Officer Megan Fogarty. 


StFX continues to be awed by Ms. Deveau’s family, particularly her niece, Jeanine, and her nephew-in-law, Bill Gunn, Dr. Hakin said. 

“Bill and Jeanine have worked closely with us to ensure that Ms. Deveau’s goal of ‘closing the gap’ is more and more attainable. All of us at StFX are so grateful to you, Bill, and the entire Deveau family for your continued support.”

Dr. Hakin said he’s seen firsthand the influence that Jeannine Deveau’s first gift has had on students, many of whom would have faced barriers they may not have seen their way over. What’s more, the earlier recipients of a Deveau scholarship or bursary are now contributing to their communities as teachers, lawyers, nurses, and policymakers. “That’s a lot to be proud of. I hope the Deveau family is proud.”

Ms. Deveau, he said, had a private passion for investing in the stock market. She turned this hobby into an absolutely stunning public good.

This new gift includes the continuation of support for many initiatives at StFX. 

These include the John Jerome Paul Chair in Math Equity; scholarships and bursaries through the Deveau Scholars program; X-Project; the Circle of Abundance at Coady Institute; Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian nursing students; Kiknu, the Indigenous students’ centre; and numerous facets of student services.

“I hope that when we think of Jeannine Deveau, we think of a woman who cared, deeply – and we think of the ways in which we can all leave a legacy,” Dr. Hakin said. 


“Today brings me hope,” Mr. Gunn said in his remarks.

Bill Gunn
Bill Gunn 

Mr. Gunn says he hopes that StFX continues in its journey to be a more fulsome place for members from all Nova Scotia communities and that the students and Deveau Scholars will become the thought leaders and changemakers of the not too distant future.

“I thank StFX for the partnership and the thought leadership,” he said. “And thank you to the Deveau Scholars. You are inspirational.”

Since 2015, we’ve seen exceptional progress, in the increased number of students, in the noteworthy efforts on campus to provide support for those students, and in inclusion efforts, he said. 
Dr. Jonathan Hood, sport management professor in StFX’s Gerald Schwartz School of Business and a member of the StFX Class of 2008, served as the ceremony host. “We are here today to celebrate, once again, a Xaverian whose multi-million dollar gift to the university in 2015 has already changed countless lives,” he said before introducing a video that offered a broader picture of the person Ms. Deveau was, including her tenacity and generosity.

“Two words come to mind after watching that video. Quiet strength,” Dr. Hood said. “She did this out of the goodness of her heart…She just shined her light.”

Dr. Hood said we all have the ability to leave a legacy and he hopes her actions inspire everyone to use their gifts to help positively impact society.   

Dr. Martha Fanjoy, Director of Programs at Coady Institute, brought remarks on behalf of Krista Hanscomb, teaching staff with the Circle of Abundance, a StFX alumna, and member of the Paq’tnkek Mi’kmaw Nation. Ms. Hanscomb has been working in Indigenous education for over 15 years, and her work with the Circle of Abundance helps foster relationships among First Nations, Metis, and Inuit women leaders. Both Dr. Fanjoy, in her remarks, and reading the remarks from Ms. Hanscomb spoke on the impact Ms. Deveau’s gift has made. 

Mya Slawter
Deveau Scholar Mya Slawter 

Deveau Scholar and current fourth year student Mya Slawter spoke about the personal impact. Being a Deveau Scholar comes with much more than scholarship funding, she said. It comes with support, mentorship and a family. “It’s about receiving the support needed to become a successful person all around. If it wasn’t for the Deveau Scholarship, I wouldn’t be at where I am today.”