Celebrating Acadia's Students of African Descent

Month-long displays and a special recognition event set for February 13


(Wolfville, N.S.) - - Acadia University and the Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association (VANSDA) will together mark African Heritage Month with presentations celebrating Acadia students and alumni of African descent.

Beginning in early February and continuing throughout the month, Acadia's Vaughan Memorial Library will feature a visual display highlighting Acadia students, alumni, and honorary degree recipients of African descent.

"More than 170 years ago, Acadia was well ahead of its time when it was founded on the belief that everyone has a right to higher education no matter what their class, religion, gender, or race," says Ray Ivany, Acadia's president and vice-chancellor. "These events in February will allow us to celebrate the African heritage of our students. It is about honoring their past and their future. Since our inception, students of African descent have been an important part of our community. It's a tradition of which we're proud and one we'd like to strengthen and grow."

On Saturday, February 13, all are invited to enjoy a full day of sports and celebration as part of African Heritage Month when Acadia will honour athletes of African descent.

Special guests will take centre court at 3:30 p.m., during a commemorative unveiling as part of the day's celebration. The event will take place in between the women's and men's basketball games in Acadia's War Memorial Gymnasium.

"We believe it is important to recognize and name the people of African descent who have attended Acadia University and who took their place in the classroom and on the playing field," says Robert Ffrench. Mr. Ffrench serves as the Executive Director of VANSDA and is an Acadia Alumnus. "They all have played a role in the development of the community in the Annapolis Valley."

The event will feature guest performer and Acadia student athlete, Jasmine Parent, who will perform the Black National Anthem "Lift Every Voice," an African Drumming performance, as well as special guests. There will be a display and reception in the Athletic Complex Mezzanine.

February 2010 will mark the 26th year Nova Scotians have celebrated African Heritage Month. In Nova Scotia, the celebration of Black History Month was initiated in the early 1980s through the efforts of the Black History Month Association. It is now known as African Heritage Month.

For information on other African Heritage Month events, visit: http://www.gov.ns.ca/ANSA/

About the Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association

VANSDA's role in the community development of the Annapolis Valley "is to improve the quality of life for African Nova Scotians in the Valley by creating Partnerships in Employment, Training and Government/Economic Development." With a focus on increasing employment opportunities the organization strives to create and expand opportunities for community members.  www.vansda.ca

About Acadia University

Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia has long been recognized as one of Canada's premier undergraduate institutions. With its nationally and internationally recognized research initiatives, small classes, and technology-rich teaching and learning environment, Acadia offers students an experience that includes academic achievement combined with personal growth and development. For more information about Acadia, visit our website at http://www.acadiau.ca /

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For more information contact:

Robert Ffrench, Executive Director, Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association, 678-4620, ffrench@vansda.ca

Sherri Turner, Public Affairs Officer, Acadia University, 585-1362, sherri.turner@acadiau.ca


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