Feature : St Francis Xavier University , Antigonish ,Nova Scotia, Canada
Arriving at St Francis Xavier University, I immediately gained the impression; this is a University that places unrivalled importance in the pursuit of educational excellence. Set within the confines of its own village style campus; StFX, as it is affectionately known, is as superbly pristine and immaculate as its alumni is successful.
The university brings together 4,200 students from across Canada and around the world to study arts, science, business and information systems and applied programmes. The small town of Antigonish in Nova Scotia with it’s population of 4,236 (2006) is the students’ adopted home.
A Roman Catholic institution founded in 1853, St.Francis Xavier College was given university status in 1866, becoming St. Francis Xavier University and awarding its first degrees in 1868. In the long history of StFX, a lot has changed—but the important things, the things that make StFX who they are, have stayed the same.
Over the course of the following decades StFX flourished, expanding its curriculum. You might say the school was finding its identity.
In the 1930s, that identity was solidified with The Antigonish Movement—a programme whose mandate aligned perfectly with StFX’s original principles of community outreach and service to society. In 1959, the Coady International Institute was formed, allowing those principles to be taken to all corners of the globe.
StFX has since grown into a renowned institution that works hard to maintain the qualities upon which it was founded.
There have been numerous changes—changes in faculty, changes in the student body, changes in academic programmes. But, while most of Canada’s smaller universities have either abandoned their roots or consolidated into larger institutions, StFX have vigorously maintained their autonomy, guarded thier character, and upheld the same traditions of freedom and service that inspired the men and women stepping onto the eastern Nova Scotian shores a century and a half ago.
Arriving at the doorstep of StFX means joining a long line of successful graduates—including Prime Ministers, CEOs, and internationally acclaimed artists—whose global awareness and ongoing commitment to social justice reflect their enduring Xaverian values. You can identify them easily by their X-Rings, the unmistakable emblem that links you to fellow Xaverians around the world for the rest of your life.
The X-Ring is said to be, after Super Bowl and Papal rings, the third most recognized ring in the world. It’s a permanent reminder of the StFX experience and its lasting solidarity. As StFX president Dr. Sean Riley says every year in his convocation address, “If you fall, a fellow Xaverian is there to pick you up.” The X-legacy is strong, proud and ever-growing. We invite you to become part of it!
The X-ring is awarded to students on December 3 of each year before their graduation. December 3 marks the feast day of the University’s patron saint and namesake, Saint Francis Xavier. On average, more than 95% of the graduating class opts for the ring.
The X-Ring is presented to students in a ceremony during the afternoon, which only recipients may attend. Traditionally, this ceremony was held in the University Chapel; however, in recent years it has been hosted in the new Keating Millennium Centre. There is typically a live video link of the ceremony available for family and friends to watch from across the world or from a large screen set up in a nearby campus.
Each X-Ring is engraved with initials and other distinguishing marks so that no two rings are exactly alike. This ensures that if an X-Ring is ever lost, the finder can send it back to the University and the original owner can be traced.
In addition to those awarded to students, there is one honorary X-Ring awarded annually.
Life on Campus
Let’s put it plainly: StFX is Canada’s best residential experience. There’s a reason so many students—about half overall, and about 90% of those in first year—choose to live on campus: It’s a true focal point of activity, discussion, learning, and just plain fun. From the theatre to campus dining, few campus experiences are better than the one you’ll have at StFX.
Living in Residence
A residential experience at StFX can be unforgettable. That’s why a higher proportion of students live in residence than anywhere else in the country. High-quality, comfortable living quarters, great food, and great friends.
Arts & Culture
StFX’s thriving, eclectic arts and culture scene has always been one of its most appealing features. There’s truly something for everyone, which is why students can be constantly found enjoying StFX’s and Antigonish’s creative side
Sports and Athletics
Championships. CIS medals. A Gold with Team Canada. StFX’s proud athletic tradition continues to impress.
Top athletes and coaches are drawn to StFX because of our reputation for athletic, as well as academic excellence. Both the X-Men and X-Women varsity teams are consistently among the Canada’s best.
“Everything we do within StFX Athletics involves pride, passion and tradition. We are extremely proud of the more than 80 AUS and CIS championships, but the main objective is for student athletes to become leaders and make strong contributions to society.”
Leo MacPherson – Director, StFX Athletics and Recreation
Meals & Food Services
It isn’t just the classroom that contributes to your university experience StFX have created a campus eating atmosphere as comfortable and accessible as it is healthy and varied. With six different food venues on campus, you’ll never be lacking for options.
And, like everything else they do at StFX, they make eating a unique experience through programmes like Balanced Way, which offers students educational tools for eating correctly while providing them delicious meals, and guest chefs who conduct on-campus customized cooking.
Canadian weekly news magazine, Maclean’s Magazine has ranked St Francis Xavier as the top Primarily Undergraduate university in Canada no fewer than 5 times in recent years.