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Do you know a student on campus whom you consider a notable student leader and who is dedicated to student advocacy, activism, and leadership? Has one of your fellow StFX students shown a clear commitment to the improvement of our university and our community?

Often, such dedicated student leaders do not get the recognition they deserve. The annual Friel X-Talks, an event created to champion and celebrate student leadership, activism, and advocacy, are here to change that.

Student Protest

Every winter semester, the Frank McKenna Centre hosts the John Friel X-Talks, which focus on student advocacy and student leadership. The John Friel X-Talks consist of a keynote lecture and two additional talks.

The Friel X-Talks honour the legacy of Judge John C. Friel, a dedicated StFX alumnus. The event is supported through an endowment created by Frank McKenna, who emphasized in his address at the inaugural Friel X-Talks that there is no better way “to honour John” than through an event that is “all about creating the next generation of leaders by animating their activism.”

The event brings a noted student leader to our campus who will deliver the keynote lecture and whose work may serve as an inspiration for StFX students. Additionally, the Friel X-Talks provide two StFX students with notable accomplishments in student leadership, advocacy, and activism with a platform to deliver a talk on their work and with a way to recognize their successes in the effort to create positive change.

Students who have been selected to deliver a Friel X-Talk will receive an award of $250 and will be invited to the all-student dinner following the event.

The Friel X-Talks are fully student-focused: StFX students are invited to nominate the event’s keynote speaker as well as the StFX student speakers. To nominate a student leader to deliver a talk on their work, submit a 300-500-word description of the speaker and of the speaker’s accomplishments in activism or leadership to: The annual nomination deadline is November 30.

In early December, we will post the profiles of all candidates online along with a poll, so that the student body is able to decide on the two winning speakers. Final results will be announced shortly following the vote.

List of speakers by year:


  • Tina Oh (keynote speaker)
  • Claire MacDougall
  • Emma Kuzmyk