Acadia University

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© Acadia University

Motto: In pulvere vinces
(Latin: "In dust, you will win")
Founded 1838
School type Public
President Gail Dinter-Gottlieb
Location Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Enrollment (2004) 3894 full-time students, undergraduate and graduate
Campus surroundings Town
Sports teams Axemen and Axewomen
Acadia University is a university located in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. It began as Horton Academy (1828), which was founded by Baptists from Nova Scotia. The two major Universities of the day in Nova Scotia were heavily controlled by Denominational structures. King's College (University of King's College) was an Anglican School and Dalhousie University, which was originally non-denominational, had placed itself under the control and direction of the Church of Scotland. It was the failure of Dalhousie to appoint a prominent Baptist pastor and scholar, Edmund Crawley, to the Chair of Classics, as had been expected, that really thrust into the forefront of Baptist thinking the need for a College established and run by the Baptists.

In 1838, the Nova Scotia Baptist Education Society founded Queen's College (named for Queen Victoria). The College began with 21 students in January 1839. The name "Queen's College" was denied to the Baptist school, so it was renamed "Acadia College" in 1841, in reference to the history of the area as an Acadian settlement. It became a university in 1891.

The Granville Street Baptist Church (now First Baptist Church Halifax) was an instrumental and determining factor in the founding of the University. It has played a supporting role throughout its history, and shares much of the credit for its survival and development. "Together, we should feel a great sense of pride in what we have built," said former AU President Dr. Kelvin Ogilvie in some remarks to the congregation on April 16, 2000.

In marking the 50th anniversary of the latest church building, Dr. Ogilvie delivered a fitting tribute to the congregation. Many members are graduates of Acadia University and have been associated with the Acadia Divinity College. "This unique relationship between Acadia Divinity College and Acadia University is an important one; one which we must work to preserve," commented Dr. Ogilvie.

Many individuals who have made significant contributions to Acadia University, including the first president John Pryor, were members of the First Baptist Church Halifax congregation.

The original charter as a college stated:

And be it further enacted, that no religious tests or subscriptions shall be required of the Professors Fellows, Scholars, Graduates or Officers of the said College; but that all the privileges and advantages thereof shall be open and free to all and every Person and Persons whomsoever, without regard to religious persuasion... And it shall and may be lawful for the trustees and Governors of the said College to select as Professors, and other Teaches or Officers, competent persons of any religious persuasion whatever, provided such person or persons shall be of moral and religious character.

This was unique at the time, and a direct result of Baptists being denied entry into other schools that required religious tests of their students and staff.

As of 2005, Acadia has approximately 4,000 students. Some would consider Acadia University's most outstanding factor to be its Acadia Advantage programme. The initiative (which was unique in Canada for several years after beginning in 1996) integrates the use of laptop computers, which are loaned to all students, into the undergraduate curriculum. Acadia also has the highest tuition in Canada, in part because of the additional fees students must pay to participate in the Acadia Advantage programme.

As of 2005, Acadia's president is Gail Dinter-Gottlieb; she took on her position after the retirement of past president Kelvin Ogilvie in 2003. In February and March of 2004, Acadia experienced its first ever strike by the faculty. Professors and librarians were off the job for two weeks before they reached a settlement.

The university is also home to the Baptist Seminary Acadia Divinity College.

Acadia's sports teams are called the Axemen and Axewomen. They participate in the Atlantic University Sports conference of Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

The Acadia Advantage

The Acadia Advantage is an academic programme unique in Canada whereby each or the undergraduate (and many or the graduate) students receive laptop computers to use from September to May. Honours students may use their computers in the summer before their last year. Other students have the option to rent their laptops over the summer months. From 1996-2004, the university had a contract with IBM; the 2004-2005 year saw a shift to the Dell Lattitude D600 computers.

Students come to Acadia with different computer backgrounds, but almost every student leaves with some highly developed computer skills. Students have access to resources like the User Support Centre, and faculty receive a lot of support from the Acadia Institute for Teaching and Technology.

Most of the classrooms at Acadia are equipped with ergonomic chairs, acoustic tile, data projectors, and network drops or wireless network access. There are over 7,000 data connections on the campus, and many areas support wireless internet access including the Student Union Building (Acadia Students' Union), the Vaughan Memorial Library, the Acadia Divinity College, and the KC Irving Centre (named for K.C. Irving).

Former Acadia President Dr. Kelvin Ogilvie, explains, "We are moving the classroom into a new, dynamic, and exciting environment that brings students and faculty together in a fashion that has never before occurred. The dynamism of the classroom is unprecedented. The possibilities are limited only by the imagination."

The Acadia Advantage Programme has received recognition from the Smithsonian Institution, and is part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. In addition, Acadia University received the Pioneer Award for Ubiquitous Computing in 2001, it has achieved high rankings in the annual Maclean's University Rankings, including Best Overall for Primarily Undergraduate University in their opinion survey, and it received the Canadian Information Productivity Award in 1997 as it was praised as the first university in Canada to fully utilize information technology in the undergraduate curriculum.

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See also Acadia Students' Union

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