St. Francis Xavier University Donor Impact Report 2023

Time, Talent, and Treasure

Building the future of StFX

In our latest Strategic Plan, Building Our University the Way It’s Meant to Be, we made it clear that sustainability is a key priority. As such, we’re moving away from printed material and into the digital sphere.

I’m happy to share with you this collection of stories about the many ways in which StFX is impacted by the generosity of Xaverians and friends of StFX – by you.

It’s important that we not only tell you stories, but also that we show you the diverse ways in which members of our community transform that generosity into accomplishments that benefit the wider world. Our health researchers are investigating abnormally high rates of cancer in Atlantic Canada; our students are inventing lifejackets that will help save the lives of people who make their living on the ocean; and our alumni are supporting StFX student-athletes.

I hope you’ll agree that this medium gives us the ability to engage you in campus life in new (and better!) ways, so please take some time to peruse the stories, look at the photos, watch the videos, and listen to students’ voices.

 

Thank you!

Dr. Andy Hakin
President

“Time, Talent, and Treasure” is a phrase we often use to describe the many ways in which our fellow alumni and other friends of StFX support the university. In sharing these stories with you, we hope you see that there are so many ways to lend a helping hand to StFX, not just financially but also in terms of mentorship, pastoral care, and leadership.  

As you’ll read in our piece about the greening of StFX, we all play a role in reducing emissions and waste, and our students are leading the charge in marrying science with emotion. Soon, we’ll embark upon a campaign to reinvent the way we think about residence living at university, so we hope you enjoy learning about the people who first loaned their names and their legacies to Cameron and MacKinnon Halls. We’re eager to break ground on the new Victor and Mona Dahdaleh Institute for Innovation in Health this year, but we’re equally excited to show you the love and care that the Sisters of St. Martha have given to StFX for decades. And, we hope you like reading about a young alumnus’ pledge to support budding entrepreneurs as they find new ways to make an impact on their communities.  

Our past is our identity. Our future is bright.  

Thank you for being part of the StFX journey.  

Wendy Langley
Director of Development  

A Place to
Call Home

Building an
on-campus community
in our residences

Here, we’ll explore the tremendous history of support that has made, and which will continue to make, a lasting impact on the lives of our students.

Science & Heart:
The Most Perfect
Union

StFX and Climate Action

When it comes to sustainability, it’s not enough to understand the perils of climate change; we must act. From our Campus Heating Plant operations to innovative faculty and students’ initiatives, we are working together towards a better future.

Wicked Problems
and the Students
Who Solve Them

The Ecosystem of
Social Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship at StFX is more than an academic discipline – it’s a passion. Our incredibly engaged students bring fresh ideas to traditional professions, supported by faculty and alumni who work together to solve larger societal issues.

The Gift
of Hospitality

Wellspring the and
Sisters of Saint Martha

Let’s explore the immeasurable legacy and contribution of the Sisters of St. Martha, who, for nearly 125 years, have modelled selflessness, acceptance, and love to the countless students who’ve been touched by their warmth.

Karen Gardiner:

A StFX Icon

StFX Athletics fans are known far and wide for their loyalty and their zeal. One superfan has made it her mission to support the student-athletes who wear the Blue and White.

A Path to a
Different Kind
of Healthcare

The Dahdaleh Institute
for Health Innovation

On the heels of the announcement of a multi-million gift by Victor and Mona Dahdaleh, and a significant investment by the Province of Nova Scotia, read about the health research being undertaken by faculty and students.

Feature 1: Residence

A Place to Call Home

It’s 1945.
The Second World War has ended. You’ve come home from overseas and are taking advantage of the Veterans’ Rehabilitation training scheme.

The federal government will pay for your education, so you enroll at StFX. You look forward to the pastoral setting, only to quickly realize that there are many, many people who’ve had the same idea. The university doesn’t have enough dormitory space to house you, or faculty members to teach you. Rooms that were meant for two have another bed squeezed in, and the basement of the university’s only dormitory – Mockler Hall – is converted into living quarters. A temporary military building is brought to campus; married students live there.

At StFX, this is a story with echoes of the past. In 1900, 100 students attended StFX. They lived and studied in Xavier Hall, alongside the faculty. By 1914, there were 218 students – and Xavier Hall could no longer house them all. Mockler Hall was built in 1915, to “provide clean, bright and airy rooms for the majority of the University students and professors.” The students’ suites were well-appointed, and included brick fireplaces – but the building’s main attraction was indoor plumbing.

By 1945, with the addition of the veterans, more than 500 students were clamouring for space in residence. StFX brought in New England architect Jens Larson, who’d also designed Morrison Hall, to create a 200-person residence out of local sandstone, in the Georgian Colonial style – Cameron Hall.

Feature 2: StFX & Climate Action
“One of the most important things we can do to address the climate change crisis is talk about it.”

Science & Heart: The Most Perfect Union

On a gorgeous autumn day, students loll on the low walls in front of the recently-built Mulroney Hall. Their conversation is briefly interrupted by the roar of a truck approaching on Martha Drive, delivering another load of furnace oil to the Central Heating Plant.

Amidst the bucolic idyll, the CHP is a relic from days gone by, when it was built on what was then the outskirts of campus. Now, it’s tucked snugly amidst Morrison, MacKinnon, and Mulroney Halls, and directly abutted by the Nasso Family Science Centre. From the CHP, fuel is converted into steam, which travels through a series of underground tunnels to deliver heat to campus buildings.

“The thing is,” notes Kevin Latimer, the university’s Energy Manager, “is that by the time it gets to the Mount or Xavier Hall, we’ve already lost 31% of the fuel’s potential usefulness.” Dated boilers currently operate at only 85% efficiency, and scavenger loads – energy consumed in heating the plant’s oil tanks – combine with aging steam pipes to diffuse the fuel’s potential, before heat even arrives at its destination.

The Central Heating Plant
is a top priority for Mr. Latimer, who spends his days collecting and analyzing mountains of data.

Feature 3: The Ecosystem of Social Entrepreneurship at StFX

Wicked Problems

And the Students Who Solve Them

Ben Collings-MacKay spent the summer after his first year at StFX on the wharves of eastern Prince Edward Island, diving underneath the hulls of lobster boats and cutting tangled ropes free from the propellers.

It’s one in a long line of jobs he’s had that other young people seem reluctant to do, but he liked the wharfside chats – and the cash. He noticed, though, that very few of the fishers wore lifejackets. Men (and some women) who are third- and fourth-generation fishers, he notes, “didn’t grow up wearing them,” despite being all too aware of the myriad dangers of a life on the sea. There’s stigma around wearing lifejackets, and in an ancient trade known for its superstitions, wearing a lifejacket can often be seen as inviting bad luck – as though you’re expecting something bad to happen.

What if, Ben thought, he could design a lifejacket that could be encompassed within the fishers’ existing oil gear, so integrated that it’d be almost undetectable? And what if he could include a GPS locator beacon within the device?

Those who make their living on the ocean sometimes die there, too, their bodies lost forever. Ben wondered if he could make something that would help keep fishers safe – and bring them home.

Feature 4: Wellspring and the Sisters of Saint Martha

The Gift of Hospitality

In 1894, the entirety of StFX was contained within Xavier Hall, and the students were taught by faculty-priests. The college was severely lacking in creature comforts, and so the Bishop of Antigonish appealed to the Sisters of Charity, a Catholic congregation in Halifax.
He proposed that the Sisters of Charity recruit young nuns from the Diocese of Antigonish, who could provide domestic services at StFX.

The first thirteen Sisters of the newly-formed auxiliary order – the Sisters of Saint Martha – arrived in Antigonish that summer and got to work. They did laundry, cleaned the students’ rooms as well as the priests’ offices and classrooms, and nursed sick young men in the infirmary. More than that, they made the college feel like a home.

From StFX, the Marthas expanded into nursing, and were instrumental in the establishment of many hospitals in northeastern Nova Scotia in the first half of the twentieth century.
Back on campus, with increased automation and a swelling student population, the Marthas’ role shifted. By 1994, the Sisters – who’d lived on campus for nearly one hundred years – moved to Bethany, behind the hospital the Marthas had founded in 1912.

Feature 5: Athletics

Karen Gardiner: A Continuing Legacy

At any given home game
at StFX, you can count on seeing more than a few familiar faces in the bleachers.

There’s Father Stan, decked out in blue and white, and Antigonishers of all ages who come to cheer on the X-Men and X-Women. And there’s Karen Gardiner ’89, a member of the StFX Board of Governors and Co-Chair of Women of X-cellence, which supports the X-Women.

Her office – she’s a partner at McInnes Cooper in Halifax – is decorated with StFX memorabilia: a football helmet. A signed Henoc Muamba jersey. A rugby ball signed by a national champion team of X-Women. A Coach K bobble hat. A piece of the old floor from the Oland Centre. 

Gardiner started playing
basketball in junior high in New Glasgow, and often hopped in the car with her father, Donald ’60, to take in a StFX game.

Feature 6: Healthcare
In the spring of 2023, the provincial government pledged $37.4m towards the to-be-constructed Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Hall, which will house the Victor and Mona Dahdaleh Institute for Innovation in Health.

A Path to a Different Kind of Healthcare

The Dahdalehs announced their $15m contribution to the project at an exciting event in Halifax in April. 

The Victor and Mona Dahdaleh Institute for Innovation in Health will coalesce the health-related work that is already being undertaken at StFX, and provide collaborative spaces in which researchers can work together.

$15M

from the Dahdaleh Foundation

These funds will allow StFX
to complete the Xaverian
Commons project, joining
with Mulroney Hall to transform upper campus into an academic hub for students and faculty.

Thank You

For your continued support and for your commitment to the Xaverian community.

Time, Talent, and Treasure

Building the future of StFX

In our latest Strategic Plan, Building Our University the Way It’s Meant to Be, we made it clear that sustainability is a key priority. As such, we’re moving away from printed material and into the digital sphere.

I’m happy to share with you this collection of stories about the many ways in which StFX is impacted by the generosity of Xaverians and friends of StFX – by you.

It’s important that we not only tell you stories, but also that we show you the diverse ways in which members of our community transform that generosity into accomplishments that benefit the wider world. Our health researchers are investigating abnormally high rates of cancer in Atlantic Canada; our students are inventing lifejackets that will help save the lives of people who make their living on the ocean; and our alumni are supporting StFX student-athletes.

I hope you’ll agree that this medium gives us the ability to engage you in campus life in new (and better!) ways, so please take some time to peruse the stories, look at the photos, watch the videos, and listen to students’ voices.

Thank you!

Dr. Andy Hakin
President

“Time, Talent, and Treasure” is a phrase we often use to describe the many ways in which our fellow alumni and other friends of StFX support the university. In sharing these stories with you, we hope you see that there are so many ways to lend a helping hand to StFX, not just financially but also in terms of mentorship, pastoral care, and leadership.

As you’ll read in our piece about the greening of StFX, we all play a role in reducing emissions and waste, and our students are leading the charge in marrying science with emotion. Soon, we’ll embark upon a campaign to reinvent the way we think about residence living at university, so we hope you enjoy learning about the people who first loaned their names and their legacies to Cameron and MacKinnon Halls. We’re eager to break ground on the new Victor and Mona Dahdaleh Institute for Innovation in Health this year, but we’re equally excited to show you the love and care that the Sisters of St. Martha have given to StFX for decades. And, we hope you like reading about a young alumnus’ pledge to support budding entrepreneurs as they find new ways to make an impact on their communities.

Our past is our identity. Our future is bright.

Thank you for being part of the StFX journey.

Wendy Langley
Director of Development  

A Place to Call Home

Here, we’ll explore the tremendous history of support that has made, and which will continue to make, a lasting impact on the lives of our students.

StFX and Climate Action

When it comes to sustainability, it’s not enough to understand the perils of climate change; we must act. From our Campus Heating Plant operations to innovative faculty and students’ initiatives, we are working together towards a better future.

The Ecosystem of Social Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship at StFX is more than an academic discipline – it’s a passion. Our incredibly engaged students bring fresh ideas to traditional professions, supported by faculty and alumni who work together to solve larger societal issues.

Wellspring and the Sisters of Saint Martha

Let’s explore the immeasurable legacy and contribution of the Sisters of St. Martha, who, for nearly 125 years, have modelled selflessness, acceptance, and love to the countless students who’ve been touched by their warmth.

StFX Icon: Karen Gardiner

StFX Athletics fans are known far and wide for their loyalty and their zeal. One superfan has made it her mission to support the student-athletes who wear the Blue and White.

The Dahdaleh Institute for Health Innovation

On the heels of the announcement of a multi-million gift by Victor and Mona Dahdaleh, and a significant investment by the Province of Nova Scotia, read about the health research being undertaken by faculty and students.

Feature 1: Residence

A Place to Call Home

It’s 1945.
The Second World War has ended. You’ve come home from overseas and are taking advantage of the Veterans’ Rehabilitation training scheme.

The federal government will pay for your education, so you enroll at StFX. You look forward to the pastoral setting, only to quickly realize that there are many, many people who’ve had the same idea. The university doesn’t have enough dormitory space to house you, or faculty members to teach you. Rooms that were meant for two have another bed squeezed in, and the basement of the university’s only dormitory – Mockler Hall – is converted into living quarters. A temporary military building is brought to campus; married students live there.

At StFX, this is a story with echoes of the past. In 1900, 100 students attended StFX. They lived and studied in Xavier Hall, alongside the faculty. By 1914, there were 218 students – and Xavier Hall could no longer house them all. Mockler Hall was built in 1915, to “provide clean, bright and airy rooms for the majority of the University students and professors.” The students’ suites were well-appointed, and included brick fireplaces – but the building’s main attraction was indoor plumbing.

By 1945, with the addition of the veterans, more than 500 students were clamouring for space in residence. StFX brought in New England architect Jens Larson, who’d also designed Morrison Hall, to create a 200-person residence out of local sandstone, in the Georgian Colonial style – Cameron Hall.

Feature 2: StFX & Climate Action

Science & Heart: The Most Perfect Union

On a gorgeous autumn day, students loll on the low walls in front of the recently-built Mulroney Hall. Their conversation is briefly interrupted by the roar of a truck approaching on Martha Drive, delivering another load of furnace oil to the Central Heating Plant.
“One of the most important things we can do to address the climate change crisis is talk about it.”
Amidst the bucolic idyll, the CHP is a relic from days gone by, when it was built on what was then the outskirts of campus. Now, it’s tucked snugly amidst Morrison, MacKinnon, and Mulroney Halls, and directly abutted by the Nasso Family Science Centre. From the CHP, fuel is converted into steam, which travels through a series of underground tunnels to deliver heat to campus buildings.

“The thing is,” notes Kevin Latimer, the university’s Energy Manager, “that by the time it gets to the Mount or Xavier Hall, we’ve already lost 31% of the fuel’s potential usefulness.” Dated boilers currently operate at only 85% efficiency, and scavenger loads – energy consumed in heating the plant’s oil tanks – combine with aging steam pipes to diffuse the fuel’s potential, before heat even arrives at its destination.

The Central Heating Plant is a top priority for Mr. Latimer, who spends his days collecting and analyzing mountains of data.

Feature 3: The Ecosystem of Social Entrepreneurship at StFX

Wicked Problems
And the Students Who Solve Them

Ben Collings-MacKay spent the summer after his first year at StFX on the wharves of eastern Prince Edward Island, diving underneath the hulls of lobster boats and cutting tangled ropes free from the propellers.

It’s one in a long line of jobs he’s had that other young people seem reluctant to do, but he liked the wharfside chats – and the cash. He noticed, though, that very few of the fishers wore lifejackets. Men (and some women) who are third- and fourth-generation fishers, he notes, “didn’t grow up wearing them,” despite being all too aware of the myriad dangers of a life on the sea. There’s stigma around wearing lifejackets, and in an ancient trade known for its superstitions, wearing a lifejacket can often be seen as inviting bad luck – as though you’re expecting something bad to happen.

What if, Ben thought, he could design a lifejacket that could be encompassed within the fishers’ existing oil gear, so integrated that it’d be almost undetectable? And what if he could include a GPS locator beacon within the device?

Feature 4: Wellspring and the Sisters of Saint Martha

Those who make their living on the ocean sometimes die there, too, their bodies lost forever. Ben wondered if he could make something that would help keep fishers safe – and bring them home.

The Gift of Hospitality

In 1894, the entirety of StFX was contained within Xavier Hall, and the students were taught by faculty-priests. The college was severely lacking in creature comforts, and so the Bishop of Antigonish appealed to the Sisters of Charity, a Catholic congregation in Halifax.
He proposed that the Sisters of Charity recruit young nuns from the Diocese of Antigonish, who could provide domestic services at StFX.

The first thirteen Sisters of the newly-formed auxiliary order – the Sisters of Saint Martha – arrived in Antigonish that summer and got to work. They did laundry, cleaned the students’ rooms as well as the priests’ offices and classrooms, and nursed sick young men in the infirmary. More than that, they made the college feel like a home.

From StFX, the Marthas expanded into nursing, and were instrumental in the establishment of many hospitals in northeastern Nova Scotia in the first half of the twentieth century.

Back on campus, with increased automation and a swelling student population, the Marthas’ role shifted. By 1994, the Sisters – who’d lived on campus for nearly one hundred years – moved to Bethany, behind the hospital the Marthas had founded in 1912.

Feature 5: Athletics

Karen Gardiner: A Continuing Legacy

At any given home game at StFX, you can count on seeing more than a few familiar faces in the bleachers.

There’s Father Stan, decked out in blue and white, and Antigonishers of all ages who come to cheer on the X-Men and X-Women. And there’s Karen Gardiner, a member of the StFX Board of Governors and former co-chair of Women of X-cellence, which supports the X-Women.

Her office – she’s a partner at McInnes Cooper in Halifax – is decorated with StFX memorabilia: a football helmet. A signed Henoc Muamba jersey. A rugby ball signed by a national champion team of X-Women. A Coach K bobble hat. A piece of the old floor from the Oland Centre. 

Gardiner started playing
basketball in junior high in New Glasgow, and often hopped in the car with her father, Donald ’60, to take in a StFX game.

Feature 6: Healthcare

A Path to a Different Kind of Healthcare

Feature 6: Healthcare

A Path to a Different Kind of Healthcare

In the spring of 2023, the provincial government pledged $37.4m towards the to-be-constructed Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Hall, which will house the Victor and Mona Dahdaleh Institute for Innovation in Health.

The Dahdalehs announced their $15m contribution to the project at an exciting event in Halifax in April. 

The Victor and Mona Dahdaleh Institute for Innovation in Health will coalesce the health-related work that is already being undertaken at StFX, and provide collaborative spaces in which researchers can work together.

$15M

from the Dahdaleh Foundation

These funds will allow StFX to complete the Xaverian Commons project, joining with Mulroney Hall to transform upper campus into an academic hub for students and faculty.

Construction on Dahdaleh Hall is slated to begin in 2024. In the meantime, professors like Dr. Lee are making enormous strides in tackling the health challenges of today. They mentor undergraduate students and run research labs with ambitious mandates – often, with a focus on issues most pertinent to rural Nova Scotians.

In the spring of 2023, the provincial government pledged $37.4m towards the to-be-constructed Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Hall, which will house the Victor and Mona Dahdaleh Institute for Innovation in Health.

A Path to a Different Kind of Healthcare

The Dahdalehs announced their $15m contribution to the project at an exciting event in Halifax in April. 

The Victor and Mona Dahdaleh Institute for Innovation in Health will coalesce the health-related work that is already being undertaken at StFX, and provide collaborative spaces in which researchers can work together.

$15M

from the Dahdaleh Foundation

$15M

from the Dahdaleh Foundation

These funds will allow StFX to complete the Xaverian Commons project, joining
with Mulroney Hall to transform upper campus into an academic hub for students and faculty.

Construction on Dahdaleh Hall is slated to begin in 2024. In the meantime, professors like Dr. Lee are making enormous strides in tackling the health challenges of today. They mentor undergraduate students and run research labs with ambitious mandates – often, with a focus on issues most pertinent to rural Nova Scotians.

These funds will allow StFX to complete the Xaverian Commons project, joining
with Mulroney Hall to transform upper campus into an academic hub for students and faculty.

Thank You

For your continued support and for your commitment to the Xaverian community.