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“Everyone is so friendly and helpful” – International Chancellor’s Scholarship recipient Quynh Giao Dang, Vietnam, on starting at STU

PUBLISHED DATE: Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Quynh Giao Dang, of Quang Tri Province, Vietnam, chose St. Thomas for its focus on liberal arts, commitment to social justice, and close-knit community.

Just a few weeks into her first semester, Dang is seeing the benefits of her decision.

“Everyone is so friendly and helpful,” she said. “My residence is like a new family for me and my professors are really approachable. Some of them already remember my name,” she said.

Dang graduated from the Le Quy Don School for the Gifted and came to St. Thomas as one of two International Chancellor’s Scholarship recipients. The scholarship, which covers the cost of international tuition and residence, is one of the highest awarded by the university.

“I was over the moon excited to receive the scholarship. Here I can pursue my dream majors, receive support from professors, staff, and peers, and enjoy opportunities for self-development like volunteer work, travel studies, and clubs,” Dang said.

“I tried my best in school with the goal of earning a scholarship and I’m glad I can lessen the burden for my parents.”

“After my four years at STU, I want to be remembered as someone who was involved.”

Dang, who plans to study International Relations, Political Science, and Economics, was an active member of her community in Vietnam. She spearheaded the Model United Nations association at her high school, participated in the Provincial Creative Youth Competition, established a Facebook page that promotes tourism in her province, and volunteered at local hospitals.

She hopes to continue being involved now that she’s at St. Thomas.

“I really hope to continue similar activities at STU, because I enjoy the feeling of being helpful and dedicated to my community,” she said. “After my four years at STU, I want to be remembered as someone who was involved.”

Tommies Volleyball Duo Among CCAA National Scholar Athletes in 2016-17

PUBLISHED DATE: Friday, September 8, 2017
Seventeen student athletes from St. Thomas University were recognized as Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association National Scholars for achieving excellence in the classroom and in competition.

The National Scholar award is given to students who maintain a strong grade point average while competing in CCAA—a benchmark applicable to members of the Tommies’ men’s and women’s volleyball, soccer, and basketball teams.

Nicholas Jackson, a third-year setter for the men’s volleyball team, said receiving the award validates the sacrifices he makes in prioritizing academics.

“Receiving this award means a great deal to me. It proves I made the right decision when I gave up a night with friends for a night at home prepping for a test or completing an assignment,” he said. “This award validates all the hard work I put in during the school year.”

Jackson, of North Wiltshire, PEI, is pursuing an honours in Economics and minors in French and Mathematics. On top of his “student first” mentality, time management plays a large role in his ability to balance his athletic and academic commitments.

“You have to be able to prioritize certain things over others,” he said. “My top priorities are school work and volleyball—everything else is put on the back burner until I’ve completed those commitments.”

Véronique McGrath, a fourth-year setter for the women’s volleyball team, has the same approach when it comes to life as a student athlete.

“I try to get my school work out of the way as soon as possible so I can have a clear head and commit fully to my team afterward,” she said.

The Caraquet, NB, resident is studying Anthropology with the hopes of continuing her studies after she earns her Bachelor of Arts. She said earning the National Scholar award serves as recognition of her hard work.

“I’m very proud to receive the CCAA National Scholar award because I’ve worked hard to keep my grades up and commit myself to volleyball. It feels good to be recognized for that.”

With the addition of this year’s 20 award recipients, the Tommies have now earned 246 National Scholar awards since 2004-05.

2016-2017 Recipients

Dylan Gallant, Basketball
Nicolas Levesque, Soccer and Basketball
Quentin Sock, Basketball
Sara Banks, Basketball
Rebecca MacNeil, Basketball
Jayme Hunt, Basketball
Madison Owens, Basketball
Ryan Dickson, Volleyball
Jonah Burridge, Volleyball, Golf
Nicholas Jackson, Volleyball
Jessica Barna, Volleyball
Lauren MacDonald, Volleyball
Veronique McGrath, Volleyball
Moira Jenney, Soccer
Dominique Bourque, Soccer
Mary Cronin, Soccer
Sarah Hickman, Soccer
Katie MacDermaid, Soccer
Vanessa Pettersson, Soccer
Todd Legere, Golf

Jack Walsh BA’75, Tom Isaac BA’87 and Michelle Arévalo BA’04 to Receive Carolyn Layden-Stevenson Distinguished Alumni Awards at Gala Dinner on October 14

PUBLISHED DATE: Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Prominent lawyer and jurist Jack Walsh, nationally recognized Aboriginal law expert Tom Isaac and international human rights activist Michelle Arévalo will be honoured with the Carolyn Layden-Stevenson Distinguished Alumni Award at the university’s Gala Dinner on October 14.
Three St. Thomas University alumni whose accomplishments are national and international in scope are being recognized with the Carolyn Layden-Stevenson Distinguished Alumni Award.
Prominent lawyer and jurist Jack Walsh, nationally recognized Aboriginal law expert Tom Isaac and international human rights activist Michelle Arévalo will be honoured with the Carolyn Layden-Stevenson Distinguished Alumni Award at the university’s Gala Dinner on October 14.
“These alumni are well established in their fields and each have earned professional and personal acclaim in Canada and around the world. By living values of integrity, fairness and service, they are very strong role models for our students. We are pleased to honour them as alumni of STU, where they got their start,” said STU president and vice-chancellor Dawn Russell.
The Carolyn Layden-Stevenson Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of alumni who have earned prominence as a result of their professional achievements and/or service to society.  The award is in memory of alumna Carolyn Layden-Stevenson, a much admired and accomplished educator, lawyer and judge.
The Gala Dinner is part of the university’s Alumni Weekend and is being held Saturday, October 14 at the Fredericton Convention Centre. For tickets, please call (506) 452-0645 or e-mail
Mr. Justice John J. (Jack) Walsh, BA’75, earned a bachelor of arts from St. Thomas University and a bachelor of laws from the University of New Brunswick. He was in private practice for a decade before becoming a Crown Prosecutor in New Brunswick. He is nationally known for being one of the first lawyers in Canada to introduce DNA evidence against an accused in the trial of serial killer Allan Legere and is considered one of Canada’s leading legal experts on DNA evidence. He was seconded to the Government of Canada’s Department of Justice in Ottawa to assist with the development of federal DNA legislation and to provide case consultation to police and prosecutors. He was later appointed Queen’s Counsel and was named Regional Crown Counsel for the Miramichi Region. He practiced at both the trial and appellate levels throughout his career, including before the Supreme Court of Canada. He was appointed a Judge of the Provincial Court of N.B. in 2008 and a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of N.B. in 2009.
Walsh is the author of book chapters and articles in legal and scientific publications, and has presented papers nationally and internationally in the areas of criminal law, the criminal justice system and forensic DNA evidence. He was a faculty member of the Canadian Federation of Law Societies National Criminal Law Program and presented for many years at National Judicial Institute Programs. He was awarded the Canadian Bar Association’s John Tait Award of Excellence in Public Sector Law, the N.B. Crown Prosecutor’s Association’s Robert Murray Q.C. Award and the Canadian Bar Association’s (N.B. Branch) Distinguished Service Award.
Tom Isaac, BA’87, is a nationally recognized authority on Aboriginal law and has advised across Canada on Aboriginal legal matters and related environmental, regulatory and constitutional issues. He regularly negotiates with Aboriginal groups on behalf of industry and governments on impact, benefit and access agreements. He also advises on consultation and accommodation processes and has mediated complex multi-jurisdictional disputes.  He is presently serving as the Special Representative for the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to conduct exploratory discussions on the class action lawsuit against the Government of Canada relating to residential school day students. He has appeared before every level of court in Canada and his published works on Aboriginal law have been cited with approval by Canadian courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada. He is a former chief treaty negotiator for British Columbia and assistant deputy minister responsible for establishing Nunavut. 
Born in Saint John, Isaac received his bachelor of arts from St. Thomas University and went on to earn a master’s of arts from Dalhousie, a bachelor of laws degree from the University of New Brunswick and a master’s in law from the University of Saskatchewan. He is the author of 14 books and monographs, including Aboriginal Law, now in its fifth edition, and his books have been used in law schools and universities in Canada and the United States. Isaac has written two reports — A Matter of National and Constitutional Import: Métis Section 35 Rights and the Manitoba Metis Federation Decision and A Path to Reconciliation — which were lauded for their approaches to reconciliation. He has also taught Aboriginal, constitutional and business law at several Canadian universities.
Michelle Arévalo, BA’04, a social entrepreneur and human rights activist, earned a bachelor of arts from St. Thomas University and later completed a master’s in international human rights law from Oxford and a master’s in public policy from the University of California at Berkeley.  After working as a refugee adjudicator, she founded the Ecuadorian offices of Asylum Access, a non-profit legal aid clinic focused on ensuring the rights of refugees from neighbouring Colombia. She later became the first global director of Asylum Access and managed its three international offices from Geneva as it provided services to refugees in Asia, Africa and Latin America. 
As a consultant, she has focused on increasing the impact of grassroots organizations, including an association of families of disappeared children in El Salvador and communities at risk of development-induced displacement in Thailand, Cambodia and India. She was manager for TECHO Ecuador, Latin America’s largest housing-focused NGO, and Latin America-lead for HURIDOCS, a human rights and technology non-governmental organization. Arévalo was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper, an initiative designed to bring young global change agents together with word leaders.  She was later invited  to join a WEF Global Agenda Council, a group of academics, politicians, non-governmental organization leaders and business executives exploring the world's most pressing issues. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and has spoken on human rights, entrepreneurship and the role of the private sector in creating a better world. She is currently the CEO of IMPAQTO, a co-working space and business incubator with a mission to create a vibrant impact entrepreneurship ecosystem in Ecuador.

A Conference Towards Reconciliation September 27-29

PUBLISHED DATE: Thursday, August 31, 2017
Tetpawtihkene [Wolastoqey – “Let’s realign our path towards a shared vision”]
Ilsu’teka’tiqw [Mi’kmaq – “Re-aligning our path and coming together toward a new direction”]
A New Path, A Shared Vision, A New Direction

Register now:

September 27th-29th
Kinsella Auditorium, McCain Hall – St. Thomas University

The conference is part of a series of events to address how St. Thomas University can participate in meeting the demands of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Wednesday, September 27th
1:00 pm – 4:30 pm
A new path for communities: Working together and becoming allies

  • Opening Prayer and Greeting Recognizing Traditional Territory
  • Welcome
  • Keynote – Eddy Robinson, “Working Together and Becoming Allies”
    Eddy Robinson has dedicated his life to helping institutions develop an appreciation of Indigenous people. He approaches becoming an Indigenous ally through grounding learners with his personal insight to the Indigenous narrative in Canada and culturally safe methodologies of inclusivity and Indigenous ways of knowing to help form and foster better relationships with Indigenous people and communities.
  • Panel discussion with Chief Patricia Bernard of the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation, Elder Gilbert Sewell of the Pabineau First Nation(Mi'kmaq), and Patsy McKinney (representing the NB Aboriginal Peoples Council).
  • Breakout Sessions
  • Wrap-up
Thursday, September 28th
9:00 am – 12 Noon
A shared vision for students: The two-eyed seeing approach
  • Opening Prayer and Greeting Recognizing Traditional Territory
  • Keynote – Rebecca Thomas, “Etuaptmumk: The Two-Eyed Seeing   Approach”
    Etuaptmumk is the Mi’kmaw word for two-eyed seeing which refers to learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, and from the other eye with the strengths of Western knowledges and ways of knowing, and then learning to use both eyes together for the benefit of all. Spoken-word artist and Halifax Poet Laureate Rebecca Thomas is the Coordinator of Aboriginal Student Services at the Nova Scotia Community College.
  • Panel discussion with students Mandy Richard, Trish Arcaro, and Philippe Ferland.
  • Breakout Sessions
  • Wrap-up
1:00 pm –  4:30 pm (Lower Courtyard)
Celebration of Indigenous Culture
  • Traditional teachings, songs, drumming, poetry, art, dance, music, and food.
Friday, September 29th
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
A new direction for curriculum: Incorporating Indigenous content

  • Opening Prayer and Greeting Recognizing the Traditional Territory
  • Keynote – Dr. Marie Battiste, “Incorporating Indigenous Content”
    Dr. Battiste is a Mi'kmaw educator from the Potlotek First Nation, Nova Scotia and professor at the Department of Educational Foundations at the University of Saskatchewan. She is a nationally recognized expert on Aboriginal life-long learning, decolonizing and indigenizing the academy, and violence prevention and anti-bullying in schools.
  • Panel discussion with Dr. Kathleen McConnell, Dr. Andrea Bear Nicholas, and Prof. Natasha Simon.
  • Breakout Sessions
  • Wrap-up
  • Closing
  • Lunch
For further information, please contact Dr. Kim Fenwick at


Alumnus and Author David Adams Richards Appointed to the Senate of Canada

PUBLISHED DATE: Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Alumnus and award-winning author David Adams Richards has been appointed to the Senate of Canada and will represent New Brunswick in the Red Chamber.

“David’s selection by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is inspiring,” said President and Vice-Chancellor Dawn Russell.  “He will be a fine representative for a province he has written about so movingly for more than four decades.”
In making the announcement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Richards “has done an extraordinary job of telling the stories of the Miramichi River valley of New Brunswick to Canadians and to the world.”
“His dedication to the arts and his love of place and of country will be an extraordinary asset to the independent thinkers in the Senate. I am pleased to say that David Adams Richards is going to be a credit not just to New Brunswick but to all of Canada,” he added.
Richards is one of Canada’s most respected writers. The New Brunswick native is one of only three people to win the Governor General’s award in the categories of fiction and non-fiction. He is also an award-winning poet, essayist and screenwriter. The author of 16 novels, two books of short stories, and six books of non-fiction, Richards is highly regarded in the eyes of both his readers and reviewers. He has received every major literary award in Canada including the Giller Prize.

An Honorary Degree and Artist in Residence

Richards attended STU in the early 1970s and received an honorary degree in 1990. More recently at STU, he co-chaired the university’s centenary celebrations, was a featured speaker at the National Congress of the Humanities when it was hosted at STU and UNB, was Artist in Residence and the Irving Chair in Journalism. In these roles, he has spoken with thousands of students, and some members of faculty have published scholarly studies of his work.

“His lectures at STU were standing-room only events and he held his audiences spellbound,” Russell added. 
“At the same time, I have seen him quietly work with our students, in classrooms and in one-on-one sessions.  Perhaps it is most impressive that he always found the time to listen to and encourage young writers. The generosity that permeates his writing is reflected in his personal graciousness and interest in young students. Indeed, many of these students are amazed that such a humble person is a writer whose novels are read, celebrated and studied world-wide.” 

Through the annual David Adams Richards Prizes for Fiction and Non-Fiction, STU students continue to benefit from his legacy.

Richards holds four honorary degrees, including one from St. Thomas University, and was named to the Order of New Brunswick and Order of Canada.

Statement by Dawn Russell, President and Vice-Chancellor of St. Thomas University on the Announcement of the Appointment of David Adams Richards to the Senate of Canada

PUBLISHED DATE: Wednesday, August 30, 2017
On behalf of the STU community, I am pleased to offer our congratulations to writer David Adams Richards on his appointment to the Senate of Canada. From his time as a student at STU to more recently, David has been a special contributor to our university.
David attended STU in the early 1970s and received an honorary degree in the late 1990s. More recently at STU, he co-chaired our centenary celebrations, was a featured speaker at the National Congress of the Humanities when it was hosted  at STU and UNB, was Artist in Residence and was the Irving Chair. In these roles, he has spoken with thousands of students, and some of our faculty have published scholarly studies of his work.
He has an unparalleled body of work and has received every major literary award in Canada. His lectures at STU were standing-room only events and he held his audiences spellbound.  At the same time, I have seen him quietly work with our students, in classrooms and in one-on-one sessions.  Perhaps it is most impressive that he always found the time to listen to and encourage young writers.  The generosity that permeates his writing is reflected in his personal graciousness and interest in young students.  Indeed, many of these students are amazed that such a humble person is a writer whose novels are read, celebrated and studied world-wide. 
We are proud of our long association with David. Through the David Adams Richards Prizes for Fiction and Non-Fiction, our students continue to benefit from his legacy.
Congratulations to David. His selection by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is inspiring.  He will be a fine representative for a province that he has written about so movingly for more than four decades.

A Unique Outlet for Poetry: Katlin Copeland, BA’17, and Professor Kathleen McConnell’s Poetic Places Fredericton app showcases local poets

PUBLISHED DATE: Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Katlin Copeland, BA’ 17, is hoping her Poetic Places Fredericton app will provide a unique outlet for experiencing poetry in the city.

The Fredericton version of the app—inspired by the original Poetic Places that was created in London at the British Library—is the first of its kind in North America.

“The app might target a different audience than the people who are already interested in buying poetry or going to the library and picking it up themselves,” Copeland said. “It’s just a different way of getting Fredericton poetry out there.”

Copeland, who completed an honors in History and a double major in English and Great Ideas, worked with Dr. Kathleen McConnell, of the Department of English Language and Literature, to produce the Fredericton application.

“You download the app and when you walk around downtown Fredericton your phone will send you a push notification and say that you’re near a poem,” Copeland explained. “When you open the app, you’ll see the poem, a bibliography of the author, and a little bit of information about the place we’ve set the poem.”

The locations included in the app have either inspired poems directly or were of importance to the poet.

“I think it’s neat,” McConnell said of the app. “People who aren’t poets or aren’t involved in the literary world can suddenly say ‘hey, someone wrote a poem about this place.’”

To date, there’s 18 authors featured in Poetic Places Fredericton, many of whom have connections to the STU community, including Frederick Mundle, Lynn Davies, Raymond Fraser, and Sheree Fitch.

The app will operate on the web and Android devices initially with the hope of extending to Apple products in the future.

Following the official launch of Poetic Places Fredericton, Copeland will begin her studies in the STU School of Education.

Moot Court World Champions: Navy Vezina and Abbie LeBlanc use creative arguments to capture Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition

PUBLISHED DATE: Monday, July 31, 2017
Navy Vezina and Abbie LeBlanc became the first-ever Canadian team to win the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition hosted at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

The STU duo edged the University of Buenos Aires in the final round to finish first out of 38 teams.

“There were gasps and there were tears. It was a very shaky, slow-motion type moment, but it was definitely one of the best of my life,” Vezina said of the win.

Vezina and LeBlanc faced solid competition throughout the event, and because the two final teams can’t be from the same United Nations region they had to finish number one overall to qualify. That meant finishing ahead of the University of Oxford and Yale University.

“The creativity of our arguments helped a lot. It made us more engaging for the judges,” Vezina said. “At these types of competitions you kind of try to stand out because everyone’s arguments sound the same. It’s riskier and it’s harder that way, but it tends to pay off.”

Despite being an undergraduate university at an event open to law and masters of law students, Vezina and LeBlanc never felt like underdogs. Their biggest challenge throughout the competition was impressing the judges.

“The judges were the biggest part because they were so well informed and were all experts in their field,” LeBlanc said. “It’s intimidating because you’re always trying to impress them—that’s basically the nature of the game.”

The six-person STU International Law Society team of Vezina, LeBlanc, Emily Williams, Emma Walsh, Camille Xavier, and Brianna Matchett qualified for the World Moot Court Championships in June by submitting a brief that finished in the top five in their United Nations region.

Vezina and LeBlanc were the two members chosen from the group to attend the competition in Switzerland and each had a different goal—Vezina hoped to finish in the top five and LeBlanc hoped to finish in the top two. With their history-making win, both goals were surpassed.

“I’m really proud of all six of us. It’s a great win,” LeBlanc said. “I hope it encourages people to keep doing things like this at STU. Keep trying things; find something you love to do and do it.”

“What’s really great about STU is that six of us could make a club and it was really easy to get the club going. It’s not like that at other universities,” Vezina added. “Not every university offers that kind of freedom to its students.”

Both Vezina and LeBlanc gave credit to Dr. Amanda DiPaolo, Director of Human Rights at STU, for supporting the group’s decision to pursue this competition independently as the members of the STU International Law Society.

Moot Court at STU
The students’ experience competing as members of the Moot Court team, offered as part of the Human Rights major, provided a strong foundation during their preparation and competition in Geneva. The STU team competes in the American Moot Court Association and has had much success in the last two years, qualifying for the National Championships in California and Florida.

For more information about Moot Court at STU, click here.

Adding More Value to Your Degree: St. Thomas Announces Certificate in Experiential Learning and Community Engagement

PUBLISHED DATE: Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Students at St. Thomas University will now have the opportunity to connect their in-class learning with practical experience and work in the community through an interdisciplinary Certificate in Experiential Learning and Community Engagement.

The certificate, which students can complete concurrently with their Bachelor of Arts, will provide tangible evidence of the hands-on learning and community service completed during their studies at St. Thomas.

Experience Employers Will Notice

“This will be an opportunity for students to document and be recognized for their community involvement and course-based experiential learning,” said Jessica Hughes, manager of the Office of Experiential Learning and Community Engagement. “With this certificate, students will be better equipped to communicate their achievement to potential employers and in post graduate opportunities.”

Dr. Kim Fenwick, Vice President Academic and Research, said students are looking for more than traditional learning and are seeking opportunities to add more value to their degree. The experiential learning and community engagement focus of this certificate complements a St. Thomas education.

 “We think this is going to be a win for the community and a win for students,” Fenwick said.

“Experiential learning fits well into what we do in liberal arts, because we provide transferable skills that can be used in almost any area of life or employment. Part of a liberal education is being able to affect the world in a positive way, so we want students to see how what they’re leaning can help others, professionally and through volunteerism.”

“The highlight of my grad year”

Rebecca Boone, a recent graduate who majored in History, took advantage of the experiential learning opportunity offered to her as a researcher at the Centennial Building. Through her work, she came to a better understanding of the role of the Centennial Building in Fredericton and the country, while also analyzing its significance to Canadian society and its evolution over the past 50 years.

“Material history is a field that can be very relatable to the public, as objects can be more relatable than concepts or people, because we interact with objects—like the Centennial Building—every day,” she said. 

“This experiential learning opportunity was the highlight of my grad year, and let me feel as though I was making a real contribution to the field of history.”

In the fall, Boone will begin her Bachelor of Education degree at St. Thomas.

Certificate Requirements

Students wishing to earn the Certificate in Experiential Learning and Community Engagement must complete nine credit hours from the list of academic courses to be provided by the Registrar’s Office, as well as 30 hours of non-paid community service paired with critical thinking and reflective exercises.

A list of approved community service opportunities will soon be available from the Office of Student Services and Residence Life.

For more information, see here