Resilience of Acadia alumni community a focal point for celebration at 2022 Alumni Dinner

By Fred Sgambati (’83)

There was certainly magic in the air at Pier 21 in Halifax on April 28, 2022 when more than 200 Acadia alumni and friends gathered for this year’s Acadia Alumni Dinner, honouring Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipients Dr. Trevor Jain (’93) and Lucas Oickle (’13).

Executive Director, Alumni Affairs Oonagh Proudfoot (’93, ’06) was emcee for the evening, and guests heard from Chancellor Bruce Galloway (’68, ’03 HON), University President Dr. Peter Ricketts, Vice-President, Advancement (Interim) Nancy Handrigan (’92), Alumni Association Vice-President Matt Rios (’14), and Alumni Association President Donalda MacBeath (’75). Dr. Jain delivered the keynote.

The theme centered around the University motto, In Pulvere Vinces, ‘through effort, you will succeed’, and people were inspired by rousing and deeply personal accounts that applauded and celebrated the resilience and determination of the Acadia community as it navigated over the past couple of years the global coronavirus pandemic, a labour disruption, and challenging circumstances on and off campus.

Dr. Jain’s speech was a testament to the valuable life lessons learned in the aftermath of the Swissair Flight 111 disaster off Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia on Sept. 3, 1998. While serving as a reservist in the Canadian infantry and a medical student at the time, he was asked to design, set up and run the morgue as the pathology operations officer in the wake of the disaster, and later received the Meritorious Service Medal of Canada for his efforts from the Governor-General in 1999.

That singular experience tinged many of the personal and professional choices he has made since, and Dr. Jain offered a moving and heartfelt message about difficult decisions, resilience and fortitude. "Never let anyone or anything define your worth,” he said. “It's not how you fall; it's how you get up.” He also expressed his sincere appreciation, saying, “I'm blown away and deeply honored that Acadia would choose me as its Distinguished Alumni Award recipient."

We also celebrated the remarkable accomplishments of composer and educator Lucas Oickle (’13). Since graduation, Lucas has composed over 30 new works and had numerous commissions and performances by professional ensembles. Currently an associate composer at the Canadian Music Centre, Lucas resides in the Kansai area of Japan and has just recently opened "The Scotia School" in Moriyama City, Shiga prefecture.

His continued success has brought great pride to Acadia and is one of the reasons why he was chosen as the 2022 recipient of the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award. To honour his many accomplishments, Alumni Dinner attendees had the pleasure of viewing a stirring video performance featuring the Acadia University Singers under the direction of Dr. Michelle Boyd (’01) singing Lucas’s arrangement of ‘Farewell to Nova Scotia’:

All in all, it was a lovely evening that included a raffle draw in support of Acadia’s Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience (S.M.I.L.E.) program for a Toronto Maple Leafs Dream Weekend, donated by Paul Bailey (’75), and concluded with a spirited rendition of ‘Stand Up and Cheer’, to great applause!

Acadia University, the Office of Advancement, and the Acadia Alumni Association would like to thank all the alumni who attended and the many wonderful sponsors who gave so generously to support Acadia University and its students.

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Office of Alumni Affairs
Wu Welcome Centre @ Alumni Hall
512 Main Street
Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6, Canada
Alumni Inquiries: 902.585.1708
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