Acadia University Convocation 2017: awards and distinctions

Convocation will take place on Sunday, May 14 and Monday, May 15 in Wolfville

Wolfville, NS, May 11, 2017 – History will be made at Acadia University on May 15, when Cynthia Bruce and Elizabeth “Betsy” Jardine will each receive their PhD in Educational Studies. These are the first PhDs ever awarded in the University’s 178-year history. This degree is offered jointly by Acadia, Mount Saint Vincent and St. Francis Xavier Universities through the Nova Scotia Inter-University Doctoral Program in Educational Studies.  

Acadia’s first PhD recipients

  • Cynthia Bruce, PhD (’17) – Bruce received a Bachelor of Music from McGill University and a Masters of Music Therapy from Southern Methodist University prior to coming to Acadia to complete her Ph.D. in Educational Studies. Personal experience and a passion for disability advocacy led to Bruce’s dissertation, Precarious Possibilities: Disability, Self-Advocacy, and University Learning. It draws on the voices of 30 disabled students from three Nova Scotia universities and their experiences with learning accommodations at their respective institutions. Bruce found that while some procedures and accommodations are in place, students must self-advocate for access which can create a barrier between the student, their classmates and their professors. Her findings also suggest that strengthening positive student/faculty relationships could change how universities think about and respond to disability.
  • Betsy Jardine, PhD (’17) Jardine holds multiple Bachelor and Master Degrees from four different post-secondary institutions. Past education, work experience and her commitment for the environment all factored in her decision to come to Acadia to complete her doctorate in Educational Studies. Jardine’s dissertation, Cultural Interpretations of Ecological Identity and their Ontologies, examines the relationship between humans and the natural world in several cultures globally. Applying two different theories to her work, she was able to demonstrate that the relationship to the natural world, forged in childhood, can form patterns of re-occurring behaviors throughout one’s lifetime. By understanding this relationship, individuals are able to travel through the stages of cognitive development.


Recognizing excellence in teaching

The Associated Alumni of Acadia University has chosen Ann Dodge, Professor in the Faculty of Professional Studies, to receive its 2017 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. This award, established in 1986, is given to a faculty member who has demonstrated a number of professional and teaching accomplishments throughout their career.

Professors Emeriti

Acadia will confer the distinction of Professor Emeritus to Dr. William Brackney of the Acadia Divinity College and Dr. Paul Hobson from the Department of Economics. This honour recognizes a retiring or retired Professor, Librarian, or Archivist for their distinguished academic career and exemplary service to Acadia University and recipients are nominated and selected by their faculty peers.  

Baccalaureate Service

The Baccalaureate Service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 14 in Convocation Hall. This service of worship recognizes that graduates have a greater calling beyond themselves and reminds the graduating class of its responsibility to make a contribution to society and to be prepared to make an extra effort toward the betterment of humanity. Dr. William H. Brackney will be guest speaker for the service. He is the Dr. Millard R. Cherry Distinguished Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics as well as the Director of the Acadia Centre of Baptist and Anabaptist Studies and will be retiring at the end of this academic year. Lindsey Larder-Hylands (’17) will be the Cap and Gown speaker.

Honorary Degree recipients

Each convocation ceremony will include the presentation of Honorary Degrees. This year’s recipients were announced on May 5, 2017, and are being recognized for their lifetime commitment to academic, social, and scientific achievement.

Faculties of Arts and Theology, Sunday, May 14, 3 p.m.

  • Maureen McTeer, Doctor of Civil Laws
  • Rick Tobias, Doctor of Divinity

Faculty of Science, Monday, May 15, 10 a.m.

  • Conville Brown, Doctor of Science
  • Robert Walker, Doctor of Science


Faculty of Professional Studies, Monday, May 15, 2:30 p.m.

  • Sandra Irving, Doctor of Humanities


This year will mark the final Convocation for Acadia’s 15th President and Vice-Chancellor, Ray Ivany, as he will retire at the end of June.

To learn more about Honorary Degree recipients, the Convocation program or to watch a live-streaming webcast of each Convocation ceremony, visit the Convocation website.

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