Spencer Richard named 2024 recipient of The Athenaeum and Acadia Alumni Student of the Year Award

By Fred Sgambati (’83, ’85)

If you were to combine talent, humility, intelligence, and grace in one person and say that individual was the epitome of what makes Acadia great, you would have Spencer Richard.

A 4.0 GPA student, student-athlete and captain of the Acadia football Axemen, perennial Academic All-Canadian, Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience (S.M.I.L.E.) program leader, mentor, role model and all-around good person, Spencer Richard has made the most of his time at Acadia. Humble and honourable, he will leave an indelible impression at the end of his academic and personal journey in Wolfville, and every member of the Acadia family will be that much richer for it.

A natural and empathetic leader whose attributes include equal measures of hard work, kindness and commitment, Spencer is finishing up a two-year Master of Science in biology at Acadia after obtaining a BSc with honours in 2022. He has great potential as a scientist and has approached the degree thoughtfully and creatively, earning the praise of his professors and all project partners who have worked with him to facilitate his research.

While taking a full class load and writing a thesis, he has served as the Student Director of S.M.I.L.E., selecting student volunteers, pairing the volunteers with program participants, and creating and leading the physical activity programming with a philosophy of acceptance and inclusion for all individuals of any ability level.

He also facilitated an annual S.M.I.L.E. Holiday Toy Drive to ensure that several program participants would receive Christmas gifts. This began when Spencer was in first year and it has become a tradition ever since. For the past five years, Spencer has provided large Christmas baskets and a $100 gift card annually to 7-10 families in the region, seeking no recognition for this remarkably kind gesture and preferring instead to focus on those it will help rather than any accolades for a job well done.

In science, life and sport, Spencer Richard has consistently taken a leadership role, mentoring young people, amplifying their talents, and helping them to realize their goals, dreams and ambitions. The Acadia Alumni Association takes tremendous pride in his many accomplishments, and is delighted to acknowledge him as the 2024 recipient of The Athenaeum and Acadia Alumni Student of the Year Award.

“Students are the greatest asset the University has,” says Alumni Association President Matthew Rios (’14), “and they are the foundation of the Acadia experience. Throughout their academic and personal journey, each acquires and develops skills that translate beautifully upon graduation to our alumni family, and the University, countless communities and the Acadia Alumni Association are the beneficiaries of that.

“The vitality and integrity of their commitment to success and the betterment of one another and those around them has long been a hallmark of the personalized educational experience Acadia offers, and few have distinguished themselves as comprehensively as Spencer Richard. He exemplifies the values we hold dear as an Association and sets a standard of excellence to which students and alumni alike can aspire. It is a privilege to applaud his devotion to Acadia and recognize him as the 2024 recipient of The Athenaeum and Acadia Alumni Student of the Year Award.”

Spencer will be honoured at this year’s Acadia Alumni Awards Dinner, starting at 5:30 p.m. on April 18 at Pier 21 in Halifax.

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