Endowment Fund

Endowment fund established for Immersion Service Learning

StFX Immersion Service Learning has reason to celebrate. Not only did the program celebrate its 10th anniversary Feb. 5 with a wine and cheese reception at Bloomfield Centre, officials took the opportunity to announce a new endowment fund started by Antigonish residents Hugh and Doris Gillis.

“We are excited about this endowment. It should enable more students to participate in the program which is so attuned to the traditional StFX support for social justice,” says Dr. Hugh Gillis, a former academic vice-president at StFX, who was supportive in that position when Service Learning was introduced to campus.

The 10th anniversary celebration for StFX’s Immersion Service Learning program proved a real celebration when it was announced Antigonish residents Drs. Hugh and Doris Gillis have started an endowment fund. Dr. Hugh Gillis, a former academic vice president at StFX, and Dr. Doris Gillis, a human nutrition professor who has been a past leader with the program, are pictured here with several past student participants. From left are Adam Harris, Students’ Union president and a Guatemala 2007 participant, Doris and Hugh Gillis, Maïca Murphy, Romania ’07, and Lindsay Balsom, Guatemala ’07.

Dr. Doris Gillis, a StFX human nutrition professor, has in the past been a leader with the program. Immersion Service Learning, where students travel in groups lead by a StFX faculty member to diverse communities in Canada and abroad, was introduced to StFX by Dr. Ann Bigelow in 1997.

To date, over 400 students and 45 faculty leaders have traveled to China, Cuba, Grenada, Guatemala, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Montreal, Romania, L’Arche Daybreak in Toronto and L’Arche Ottawa.

Current immersions include Cuba, Grenada, Guatemala, Mexico and Romania. Approximately 40-65 students take part in the program each year.

Current AVP, Dr. Mary McGillivray thanked the Gillis’ for their inspired action in creating the endowment fund, which should greatly enhance participation opportunities for students. The fund will be open to others for donations.

The immersion component, which usually takes place during the February study break, is often described as a life-altering experience. Several student and faculty participants spoke passionately about their recent experiences. Alumni Association president Ed McHugh added his words of support.

If you would like to contribute to the fund please contact Lynn O’Donnell at lodonnel@stfx.ca. On behalf of the students who will be assisted through the Endowment Fund, your contribution is very much appreciated.