Acadia University Receives $1M Gift to Transform Student Centre

Acadia University has received a transformative $1 million gift from the Acadia Alumni Association that will propel the Build: The Student Centre campaign closer to its $24 million fundraising goal. The generous donation, announced during the Acadia Alumni Awards Dinner in Halifax on April 18, sets the stage for a reimagined student centre that will redefine the university experience on the Wolfville campus.

"This gift is about the Acadia family investing in the future of our university and ensuring that every student has access to the resources they need to succeed," said Matt Rios (‘14), president of the Acadia Alumni Association and past president of the Acadia Students' Union. "The campaign is about creating a space that reflects the diverse needs and aspirations of today's students in a space that is modern and efficient."

The Alumni Association pledge brings the campaign closer to reaching its goal by spring 2025, paving the way for a modern student centre that will serve as a vibrant hub for student life, learning, and leadership. The revitalized facility will prioritize inclusivity, accessibility, and well-being. There will be dedicated spaces for students of African descent, Indigenous, and international students, as well as health and counselling services and accessible learning resources. Sustainability is also a focus of the new student centre.

"This generous gift is a testament to our alumni's enduring love and support for Acadia," said Campaign Chair Nancy McCain (’82, ’21 HON). "It brings us one step closer to our goal of transforming the Students’ Union Building into a vibrant hub that will serve all students for generations to come."

Supporting Student Success

James Sanford ('87), Executive Director of Student Services at Acadia, explained the need to revitalize the aging space because current design and function are not meeting the campus community's needs.

“With this transformation, the new student centre will be more than a building. It will be a home away from home for our students,” he said. “It will be one of the places where they forge lifelong friendships and discover their passions while accessing the support they need to pursue their dreams.”

The Build: The Student Centre campaign has three key components:

  • Build Opportunity: Creating an inclusive environment where all students can access the support they need to succeed;
  • Build Community: Fostering a sense of belonging and purpose by providing spaces for socialization, collaboration, and personal growth;
  • Build Success: Establishing a foundation for future student success by incorporating sustainable practices and serving as a hub for student leadership and achievement.

Acadia Students’ Union President Sadie McAlear (’24) has led the charge for change on behalf of students. "This will be a game-changer for the Acadia community. I know it will make the university experience even more rewarding and memorable for every student."

Like student leaders before her, including Harrison McCain (49, ’91 HON), who chaired a committee to build the first student union facility that opened in the 1950s, followed by a new SUB in the early 1970s, McAlear said the revitalization is overdue and essential for Acadia’s students.

Vice-President of Advancement Nancy Handrigan ('92) highlighted the diverse cabinet behind the campaign. "We have a fantastic team of dedicated alumni and employees who want to give back to Acadia and help students succeed," she said. "They understand the challenges of adapting to university life and are committed to ensuring every student thrives at Acadia and beyond."

As part of the campaign, Acadia is calling on alumni, students, faculty, staff, and community members to contribute. Every donation, no matter the size, brings Acadia closer to creating a student centre that will serve as a catalyst for student success.

"This gift is a reminder that when we come together as the Acadia family, there is no limit to what we can achieve," Handrigan said. "We are excited to continue to build on this momentum and create a student centre that will inspire and empower generations of Acadia students."

Learn More

Visit the website of the Build: The Student Centre campaign

Make a donation to Build: The Student Centre

Media Contact

Sherri Turner
Communications Director, Donor Relations
Office of Advancement
Acadia University

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