Fredericton Faculty of Arts

Adieu from the Faculty of Arts

Author: Fredericton Arts

Posted on Sep 14, 2015

Category: Faculty , Opinion , Arts , News

September 2015

oweek address

Adieu from the Faculty of Arts!

Does it seem a bit odd to welcome you to our new blog with a goodbye wish?  Perhaps, but “farewell” is an interesting place to begin.

This June, UNB’s 186th graduation, or “Encaenia,” as we call it, took place over the course of several ceremonies.  The Faculty of Arts is an old hand at Encaenia: at the first one in 1828, the university’s whole graduating class (there were three of them!) received a BA.  We’ve been there at every graduation since.  At this year’s celebration, 166 undergraduate and graduate Arts students crossed the stage towards a new beginning, leaving our faculty and university a better place thanks to their time here.

Encaenia isn’t a word we hear that often, and UNB is one of just a few Canadian universities that use it to describe graduation.  It’s a fitting term.  In Greek it means “beginning,” so Encaenia embodies – both as a word and an event – the starting point for our graduates.  Receiving a degree may be an end of a university program, but also the beginning of the next stage of life and learning.

We’re welcoming our new students at this time of year, so let’s imagine where they will be when their Encaenia comes around.  What lasting effect they will have on the Faculty of Arts?  What new courses will we launch thanks to their curiosity?  How will they enrich our faculty’s teaching?  Where will their participation move our research?  We don’t know, of course, but we eagerly wait to see.

One of the first rituals our new students will experience is our welcoming ceremony, which we call “commencement.”  It also means “beginning,” and some universities use commencement instead of graduation.  Confused yet?  At UNB, commencement is held in the same hall as Encaenia, so our new students will meet once again as a group when they graduate.  A beginning and a beginning, rather than an end!  

Changes will come along the way, as they do with every new group of students.  This year applications to Arts are up, as are our admissions to programs.  Over 300 new students will join us in the fall, and they’ll arrive with their own experiences, traditions, questions, and ambitions.  It’s up to all of us to adapt.

We want this blog space to become a communal discussion site for Arts students, staff, and faculty at UNB, a place to tell our stories and connect with members of our community.  In the blogs ahead, we’ll view video, read narratives, ask and answer questions, and learn a little about what makes our faculty and its people unique.  We’ll look for your input, so think about how you can be part of the conversation.  The conversations that our students have is an incredibly important aspect of their education and experience at UNB, and this blog will offer another space to engage in those conversations.  

Saying goodbye may seem strange as an introduction but bidding adieu to our students at their Encaenia is our most important purpose as a university. We are always sharing new beginnings with our students and seeing them off on the next chapter in their story.  In the meantime, we benefit and grow with new members joining us every year. We’re glad to have you sharing this beginning with us.


George MacLean
Dean of Arts