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New Perspectives from Hertog: Students participate in competitive seminar in Washington, DC

PUBLISHED DATE: Thursday, August 9, 2018
Two Political Science and Great Books students explored new perspectives on influential texts through the Hertog program in Washington, DC.
Jonathan Taylor, of Saint John, NB, and Abbie LeBlanc, of Fredericton, NB, each earned a spot in the competitive two-week seminar program, which brings top students to the US capital to explore the theory and practice of politics.

Taylor was part of the Literature and Politics program that focused on Shakespeare and Plato—two writers he’s encountered through his studies at STU.

“I was really drawn toward the books,” he said. “The Roman Plays were a section of Shakespeare’s catalogue that I hadn't ever had the opportunity to explore. Being able to look at those texts was something I wanted to do for a long time.”

The fourth-year student was surprised to discover the different backgrounds and perspectives other participants brought to the program.

“They had engineering students, economics students, and someone who is now pursuing a doctorate in Psychology,” he said. “The mix of people and the mix of assumptions brought to the table were quite different and they have given me a greater appreciation for new perspectives.”

LeBlanc, who was part of the Great Debates: Ancient and Moderns section that focused on Aristotle and Machiavelli, is looking forward to working through the new ideas brought up during the seminar.

“The program has made me really excited to get back into my classes at STU, and to get back to chewing over complicated texts,” she said. “I’m looking forward to bringing the perspectives I encountered in Washington to the texts I read this year.”

Although the majority of their time was spent in class or at evening lectures from prominent speakers, Taylor and LeBlanc each had an opportunity to experience Washington.

“We went to the National Art Gallery and the Shakespeare Library,” Taylor said.

“A highlight of the trip for me was getting to see the Supreme Court,” LeBlanc said. “Having participated in Moot Court and simulated Supreme Court proceedings, it was really exciting to see the building where it actually happens.”

For Taylor and LeBlanc, this experience has cemented the decision to pursue graduate school following the completion of their Bachelor of Arts degrees.

“Grad school is the path I want to pursue,” LeBlanc said. “Having taken classes with students with similar intentions, I now know through experience that STU has prepared me for academia just as well as any big name school in the states—if not better.”

St. Thomas University Celebrates Indigenous Graduates with Eagle Feather Ceremony

PUBLISHED DATE: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Indigenous graduates at St. Thomas University were recognized for their resilience, discipline, and dedication in an Eagle Feather Ceremony prior to Spring Convocation.

The ceremony—the first of its kind at St. Thomas and one of few in the Atlantic provinces—gifted each Indigenous graduate with an eagle feather, which they carried with them as they received their degree at Spring Convocation. The Hon. Graydon Nicholas, Endowed Chair in Native Studies, Miigam’agan, Elder in Residence, and Trenton Augustine, Indigenous Student Services Coordinator, facilitated the presentation.

“For many Indigenous students, graduating from university is one of the greatest accomplishments of their life,” Augustine said.

“For us to be able to acknowledge and honour them by presenting them with an eagle feather is an incredible feeling for both us and them.”

The Story of the Eagle Feather

In Indigenous communities, there’s a sacred connection between the Eagle and the Creator, as the Eagle flies highest to the Creator and carries prayers from humans. In “The Story of the Eagle Feather,” the Eagle offered one of its feathers to a human family as a sign of continued love and healing, and a reminder of the importance of the “Sacred Teachings.”

“In our culture, receiving an eagle feather is a special and humbling experience,” Augustine said. “It’s not often you receive an eagle feather as it’s one of the most honourable gifts you can receive.”

The idea for the ceremony was put forth by Indigenous students on campus and supported by the Ad-Hoc Senate Committee on Indigenization. The Eagle Feather Ceremony will now be an annual part of Spring Convocation events at St. Thomas.

A special thanks to the family of the late Dr. Brian Carty for providing the eagle feathers for this ceremony.