Early Acadian Students
Acadian names can be found peppered throughout the academic records in the archival holdings. They appear as early as 1899, when an E. A. Melanson from Middle Sackville is listed as a student at the Wesleyan Academy for boys, one of Mount Allison's founding institutions. Despite being present in the records, little can be gleaned about the unique experiences of these first students. Many of them received their education at the Male and Female Academies and the Commercial College rather than at the university, and sometimes only attended as day students.
One such student was Georgina Ethel Melanson, born 25 October 1887 in Joggins Mines, Nova Scotia. She was the daughter of Edward Melanson (1852-1944) and Margaret Hennessey (1862-1919). “Georgie,” as she was called by her classmates, entered the Mount Allison Ladies’ College in the fall of 1903. Georgie would travel from Joggins Mines to Sackville regularly for her lessons in Piano and Violin, and though she was not a resident of the Ladies’ College, she was very much involved in the campus community. While in attendance, Georgie played first violin in the orchestra and performed in a number of recitals until she graduated with a Piano Teacher’s Diploma in 1908. Thereafter, Georgie moved to Amherst, where she begun to give lessons in piano, and frequently travelled to Sackville to continue her own studies. She completed her post-graduate work in Violin in 1910.
Georgie was joined in the winter of 1904 by her cousin, Alice Maude Melanson, daughter of Charles Melanson (1851-?) and Sara Hennessy (1864-?). Alice graduated with a Piano Teacher’s Diploma in 1910 and promptly returned to Joggins’ Mines, Nova Scotia where she taught music. Despite the women’s anglicized names, both families are listed in the 1901 census as being French and of Roman Catholic faith. It is likely, however, that the two women enjoyed the benefits of having learned both English and French at home. Eventually, Georgie settled in Moncton, New Brunswick, where she married John MacInnes and had two daughters: Margaret Olwin and Elaine. Georgina died on 18 June 1952 in Moncton.
Early Acadian Graduates
While students of Acadian descent had been in attendance at all of the Mount Allison institutions since the turn of the century, the first Acadian to receive a degree from Mount Allison University was in 1932, when Aurore Bourque earned a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in French. The number of Acadian graduates rose steadily thereafter. The following list provides information on the first Acadians to receive degrees from each discipline, dating from 1932 to 1958.