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Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - Le Collège Saint-Joseph de Memramcook: One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary

Le Collège Saint-Joseph de Memramcook

One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary

Hon. Rose-May Poirier: Honourable senators, I rise today to draw your attention to the importance of the Collège Saint-Joseph de Memramcook to Acadia, on the occasion of the college's 150th anniversary.

Anytime we talk about post-secondary education in Acadia, whether referring to the college or the Université de Moncton, the starting point is always the Collège Saint-Joseph de Memramcook. Built on the foundations of the Séminaire Saint-Thomas in Memramcook, the Collège Saint-Joseph welcomed its first students in October 1864.

Founded by Father Camille Lefebvre of the Congrégation de Sainte-Croix, the college earned the title of university in 1888 and was officially recognized by Oxford University in 1906. Beginning in 1963, now recognized as Université de Saint-Joseph, the institution again took its title as a college and became affiliated with the Université de Moncton.

The college was a cornerstone of the Université de Moncton, which was, and remains to this day, at the heart of the Canadian movement. Keeping in mind that the World Acadian Congress was held earlier this year, it is important to note that the first National Acadian Convention took place at Collège Saint-Joseph in 1881. Some 5,000 Acadians took part in the convention, and August 15, the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, was adopted as National Acadian Day.

Collège Saint-Joseph is the symbol of a new beginning for Acadia, which is determined to take charge of its own destiny. The college's mission was to make leaders out of us, leaders who would be able to help the Acadian people come out of the woods, take responsibility, defend the rights of Acadians and work in partnership with other cultures to build a better world for everyone.

In successfully doing so, the college broadened Acadia's horizons, making it possible for Acadians to take their rightful place in Canadian society today. Whether we are talking about business leaders, health professionals, artists, intellectuals, engineers or so on, today's Acadia represents the achievement of the college's mission. However, there is still work to be done to secure our position and expand it even further.

On the solid foundation built by the college and with Acadian determination, I am certain that we will continue to make progress in this world. Honourable senators, that is how the first post-secondary school came to be in Acadia on "Butte à Pétard," in Memramcook.

In the meantime, the college has become the Lefebvre Monument and was designated a national historic site by the Parks Canada Agency, which recognizes this site as a symbol of Acadian renaissance. Join me, honourable senators, in wishing Acadians well as they celebrate the 150th anniversary of Collège Saint-Joseph.

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