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St. Francis Xavier University
Coat of arms of the university
Former names
Arichat College
St. Francis Xavier College/ Seminary (1855–1866)
MottoQuaecumque Sunt Vera (Phil 4,8) (Latin)
Motto in English
What so ever things are true
TypePublic liberal arts university
Established1853; 171 years ago (1853)
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic
Academic affiliations
Maple League of Universities, AUCC, IAU, CUSID, CBIE, CUP.
Endowment$140 million[1]
ChancellorJohn Peacock[2]
PresidentAndrew Hakin
Academic staff
Location, ,
45°37′05″N 61°59′40″W / 45.61806°N 61.99444°W / 45.61806; -61.99444
ColoursBlue   and   White
NicknameX-Men and X-Women
Sporting affiliations
U Sports

St. Francis Xavier University is a public undergraduate liberal arts university located in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada. It is a member of the Maple League, a group of primarily undergraduate universities in Eastern Canada.


St. Francis Xavier College was founded as Arichat College, a Roman Catholic diocesan educational institution at Arichat, Nova Scotia, in 1853.[3] Arichat College was moved to its present location in Antigonish, and established as St. Francis Xavier College in 1855.[4] On May 7, 1866, St. Francis Xavier College was given university status, becoming St. Francis Xavier University.[5] The university awarded its first degrees in 1868.

Xavier Hall

In 1883 Mount St. Bernard Academy was founded for female education, with girls from primary grades to grade 12 taught by the Sisters of Notre Dame.

Architect Henry Frederick Busch designed the college building in 1888.[6]

In 1894, the academy affiliated with St. Francis Xavier University as Mount St. Bernard College. In 1897, the school became the first co-educational Catholic university in North America to grant degrees to women. Four women were awarded university degrees in 1897.[5]

A metal plaque in the St. Francis Xavier University Chapel is dedicated to the thirty-three members of the college, now St. Francis Xavier University, who were killed in service during the First World War (1914–18).[7]

In February 1922, St. Francis Xavier University's War Memorial Rink, with a brick exterior and wooden interior, opened. After the War Memorial Rink was officially closed on February 8, 2002, the building was torn down and a new science complex was built in the old rink's place.[8]

StFX's extension department has engaged in community development in Antigonish since 1928 while the Coady International Institute at StFX has engaged in community development globally since 1959.[9]

A metal plaque, unveiled on 5 May 1984, was dedicated by the university's class of 1984, in honour of those students killed in armed conflict while defending the liberty of Canadians.[10]

In 1985 the number of women students at St. Francis Xavier became equal to the number of men for the first time. In 1990, the women's college existed as a residence only.[3]

In the early 20th century, professional education expanded beyond the traditional fields of theology, law and medicine. Graduate training based on the German-inspired American model of specialized course work and the completion of a research thesis was introduced.[11] The policy of university education initiated in the 1960s responded to population pressure and the belief that higher education was a key to social justice and economic productivity for individuals and for society.[11]

The St. Francis Xavier tartan was designed as a university tartan in 1994.[12]

In 1996 StFX implemented Canada's first Service Learning program, which provided opportunities for international learning.[9]

In February 2019, Dr. Andy Hakin was named the university's 19th president and vice-chancellor by StFX's board of governors. He began his tenure on July 1, 2019. [13]


Angus L. MacDonald Library


University rankings
Global rankings
Canadian rankings
Maclean's Undergrad[14]7
Maclean's Reputation[15]34

Maclean's 2022 Guide to Canadian Universities ranked St. Francis Xavier seventh in the magazine's undergraduate university category. In the same year, the university placed 34th in Maclean's reputational survey of Canadian universities.[citation needed]

Between 2000 and 2004, more St Francis Xavier students, on a per capita basis, have received Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) awards for post-secondary study than any other university in Canada.[16]

Faculties and programs

St Francis Xavier University is organized into the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Science, the Gerald Schwartz School of Business, Faculty of Education, the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government and the Coady Institute. Faculties are headed by a dean elected from among the constituent professors.[citation needed]

Scholarships and bursaries

St. Francis Xavier offers over $2 million annually in merit-based scholarships and financial aid to its new and current undergraduates. Applicants with a Grade 12 average of at least 85% are automatically guaranteed an entrance scholarship worth at least $5,000 ($1,250 each year for four years), and at least $7,000 for those with Grade 12 averages above 90% ($1,750 each year for four years). Applicants are also automatically considered for larger merit-based scholarships ranging from $12,000 to $32,000 (Merit, Phillip W. Oland, J.P. McArthy, Canadian, President's).[17] Area-specific scholarships also exist for applicants from certain provinces and the United States. In order to receive each subsequent installment of a scholarship (typically there are four installments), students must maintain a university course average of at least 80%.[18]

StFX offers scholarships to students of Indigenous and African Nova Scotia descent thanks to support from the Jeannine Deveau Educational Equity Endowment. Deveau, a StFX graduate from 1944, created the endowment to help remove financial barriers that typically prevent students from minority racialized populations in Nova Scotia from accessing post-secondary education. The Jeannine Deveau Educational Equity Endowment has contributed $22 million toward financial aid at StFX, making it the largest single amount pledged by a StFX alumna or alumnus in the university's history.[19]


St. Francis Xavier University Class Ring of 1945

St. Francis Xavier University ceremonially awards to students a distinctive X-Ring. The ring is awarded on December 3 (Saint Francis Xavier's feast day) of each year before the students' graduation. On average, more than 95% of the graduating class opt for the ring.[20]

Campus renewal

Coady International Institute
Physical Sciences Center lab

Since Riley was named president in 1996, the university has undergone a $230 million campus renewal initiative to improve educational and residential opportunities throughout campus. To date, the initiative has seen the completion of eleven large-scale projects.[21]

Gerald Schwartz School of Business


Football field and running track

See also: St. Francis Xavier X-Men and X-Women

See also: Father George Kehoe Memorial Award

St. Francis Xavier is represented in the Atlantic University Sport conference by 12 varsity athletics teams. The X-Men teams include men's football, basketball, cross-country, track and field, soccer, and hockey. The X-Women teams include basketball, cross country, track and field, hockey, rugby and soccer.[28]

St.FX women's hockey

In 2006, the X-Women Rugby team became the first female St. Francis Xavier varsity team to win a CIS Championship, as 10-time defending AUS Rugby Champions. In 2008, the team placed 2nd at the CIS Championships in Lethbridge, Alberta after capturing their 12th consecutive AUS Championship.[29]

Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

StFX University was one of only two universities in Nova Scotia to offer in-person classes during the 2020-21 academic year, proceeding under a hybrid model that saw almost 75% of classes delivered in person and the remaining 25% offered online.[30] The university introduced a series of protective measures in line with guidance from Nova Scotia public health officials, including mandatory mask wearing both inside and outside while on campus, as well as regular COVID-19 testing for students from outside of Atlantic Canada completing their mandatory 14-day self-isolation period upon arrival in the region.[31]

The university partnered with the wider community to offer the Neighbours Helping Neighbours initiative, matching local volunteers with off-campus students completing their travel-related COVID-19 isolation. Approximately 500 volunteers signed up to assist isolating students, providing services such as grocery delivery and other related support. Residence students had meals delivered to their door.[32] These procedures were repeated at the beginning of each semester for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years.

2021 COVID-19 outbreak

On December 3, 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Francis Xavier University held its annual X-Ring ceremony with the majority of the graduating students attending. Public health officials declared an outbreak at the university on December 8, 2021.[33] On December 13, 2021, the university's president tested positive for COVID-19.[34] As of December 17, 2021, 183 students had notified the university that they had tested positive for COVID-19.[35]

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston announced on December 17, 2021 that the university and the students' union had both been issued summary offence tickets and fined $11,622.50 each; the maximum amount that can be handed out. Houston said the university failed to abide by the province's COVID-19 restrictions, specifically masking requirements.[35]

Post stamp

On 4 April 2003 Canada Post issued "St. Francis Xavier University, 1853–2003" as part of the Canadian Universities series. The stamp was based on a design by Denis L'Allier, based on a photograph by Guy Lavigueur. The 48¢ stamps are perforated 13.5 and were printed by Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited.[36]

Noted faculty

Noted alumni

Brian Mulroney: 18th Prime Minister of Canada (1984–1993)
Frank McKenna: Premier of New Brunswick (1987–1997); Canadian Ambassador to the United States (2005–2006)
Allan J. MacEachen: first Deputy Prime Minister of Canada (1977–1979, 1980–1984)
Governors Hall Residence


See also


  1. ^ StFX President Riley's Contract Extended To 2011 Archived 2009-02-21 at the Wayback Machine, St. Francis Xavier University Media Room
  2. ^ "Chancellor | StFX University". 14 March 2017. Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  3. ^ a b St. Francis Xavier University, Encyclopedia of Music in Canada
  4. ^ John George Bourinot (February 17, 1881). "The Intellectual Development of the Canadian People, A historical review". The Project Gutenberg EBook #6466. House of Commons.
  5. ^ a b Pound, Richard W. (2005). 'Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates'. Fitzhenry and Whiteside.
  6. ^ "Busch, Henry Frederick". Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, 1800–1950. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  7. ^ "St Francis Xavier University Chapel memorial (World War One): Memorial 12007-064 Antigonish, NS". National Inventory of Canadian Military Memorials. Veterans Affairs Canada. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  8. ^ "St Francis Xavier University War Memorial Rink: Memorial 12007-103 Antigonish, NS". National Inventory of Canadian Military Memorials. Veterans Affairs Canada. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Saint Francis Xavier University". Archived from the original on 2014-08-22.
  10. ^ "St Francis Xavier University memorial plaque (1984): Memorial 12007-066 Antigonish, NS". National Inventory of Canadian Military Memorials. Veterans Affairs Canada. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  11. ^ a b University, Encyclopedia of Canada[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Tartan Details – St. Francis Xavier University". The Scottish Register of Tartans. National Records of Scotland. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  13. ^ "Hakin named StFX president". 101.5 The Hawk. February 14, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2024.
  14. ^ "Canada's best Primarily Undergraduate universities: Rankings 2023". Maclean's. Rogers Media. 6 October 2022. Retrieved 17 October 2022.
  15. ^ "Canada's best universities by reputation: Rankings 2023". Maclean's. Rogers Media. 7 October 2022. Retrieved 17 October 2022.
  16. ^ St. Francis Xavier University Archived 2007-08-07 at the Wayback Machine, Associations of Universities and Colleges of Canada
  17. ^ "Scholarships". 7 July 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  18. ^ Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool
  19. ^ Rickard, Kelli (February 29, 2024). "StFX receives huge gift". Surge 105.1. Retrieved March 22, 2024.
  20. ^ The X-Ring Archived 2008-12-22 at the Wayback Machine, St. Francis Xavier University
  21. ^ Message from the President Archived 2013-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, St. Francis Xavier University
  22. ^ "Brian Mulroney Institute of Government Announced at STFX". St. Francis Xavier University. 26 October 2016. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  23. ^ Riley Hall officially opens on the StFX campus Archived 2014-10-11 at the Wayback Machine, St. Francis Xavier University
  24. ^ 10 of Canada's Best University Residences, UniversityHub, September 22, 2015
  25. ^ Official opening ceremony for O’Regan Hall – updated, The Casket, September 7th, 2013
  26. ^ "Frank McKenna Centre designed to spark public policy, leadership". SaltWire Network. May 12, 2011. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  27. ^ Coady, StFX Host Historic Groundbreaking Archived 2009-02-21 at the Wayback Machine, St. Francis Xavier University Media Room
  28. ^ "StFX Official Athletics Website". Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  29. ^ CIS Rugby Silver Lining Archived 2009-02-21 at the Wayback Machine, St. Francis Xavier University Athletics
  30. ^ Palmeter, Paul (June 19, 2020). "St. FX to use mixture of online, in-person classes for fall semester". CBC Nova Scotia. Retrieved March 17, 2024.
  31. ^ Beswick, Aaron (September 2, 2020). "St. F.X. and the math of COVID-19 with returning university students". Saltwire. Retrieved March 20, 2024.
  32. ^ "St. FX following Similar COVID-19 Protocols in Winter Semester". 989 XFM. Retrieved March 20, 2024.
  33. ^ Scotia, Communications Nova (2018-05-11). "34 New Cases of COVID-19, 18 Recoveries, Outbreak at St. Francis Xavier University". News Releases. Retrieved 2021-12-18.
  34. ^ "St.FX president tests positive for COVID-19, 125 students isolating amid outbreak". CTVNews. 2021-12-12. Retrieved 2021-12-18.
  35. ^ a b "St. FX issued two summary offence tickets for failing to comply with COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions". Atlantic. 2021-12-17. Retrieved 2021-12-18.
  36. ^ Canada Post Stamp
  37. ^ Moll, Michael (July 1999). "Music Traditions in Cape Breton". Folk World. Retrieved 2006-09-06.