What a tradition! Family
First-year student Hannah Bridgham is the 18th member of her family to attend Acadia By Fred Sgambati (’83)
ighteen-year-old Hannah Bridgham came to Wolfville Sept. 1 ready to move in and get settled. Her mom Sarah, dad Greg and younger sisters Payson, 16, and Leah, 11, came with her, but so did a remarkable tradition that makes Hannah the 18th member of her family to attend Acadia University.
“We all tend to come here,” Sarah says, “partly because of the tradition and the quality of the education.”
Sarah, who graduated from Acadia with a BA in 1984, says her father Philip attended prep school at Horton Academy in the 1940s. He came to Acadia largely because his father, who owned RW Canning Lumber (a lumber operation in the northeast at the time) knew the area and was well-acquainted with Acadia.
She adds that Cannings “are very linear people. We’re traceable and we tend to run in packs. We’re very close, and knowing that family was here was big for us.”
While Philip was at Horton, his two older sisters – Shirley and Ruth Canning – attended Acadia. Sarah says her father went on to study at Acadia too, but he chose to serve in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and subsequently left Wolfville. However, his brother William – Sarah’s Uncle Billy – attended Acadia too. Later, Sarah’s Aunt Ruth’s children came to comprise the so-called Chapman branch. Hailing from Hingham, Mass., they are: Elizabeth (a Music major); Margaret (Languages); Ross (History); and William (who attended Acadia, but didn’t graduate. He transferred to U. Mass.).
Quality education Next came her father’s children; the Philip Canning branch. Sarah’s eldest sister Sandra lived in Tully for a while before transferring elsewhere, but her other sister Martha Canning graduated with a B.S. and Honours in Biology and earned a doctorate in immunology while living in the Netherlands. Sarah arrived next, completed her undergraduate degree at Acadia, and went on to earn a four-year B.Sc. in Nursing in Maine. But the story doesn’t stop there. Sarah notes that her great-uncle Frank Canning attended Acadia, as did Jane Canning, who married Peter McConnell (also an Acadia grad). Their two sons – Warren and Jay – graduated from Acadia. Hannah is the next in a long line of family members to attend. 28
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Her family has lived in Bermuda and Maine and, “for my parents, the level of safety and trust they had in the University was huge, for my mother especially.”
She admits that she was very young and a bit homesick when she first arrived at Acadia. “I wasn’t very connected to the University as a whole and I moved off-campus after my first year, which I won’t allow my daughter to do.” She believes the oncampus experience is invaluable and wants Hannah to explore it to the fullest. However, she’s quick to add that coming to Acadia was entirely Hannah’s decision and choice. “I never pushed Acadia on my children,” she says. Hannah discovered Acadia while browsing American colleges online and ended up visiting her father’s alma mater in Texas. Sarah suggested that if Hannah was going to look at his college, she should at least check out hers. She did, and liked what she saw. “It had the programs of study I wanted,” Hannah says. “And then Leigh-Ann Murphy (Manager of Student Recruitment at Acadia) did a recruiting showcase at Waynflete School in Portland. I heard some information and we decided to visit in August (2010).” If anything, that trip was the clincher. “It was beautiful,” Hannah says. “I needed just one tour and I was sold. Sitting down at dinner later, Mom asked me what I thought and I said, ‘It’s my number one choice.’”
Lifelong friendships No surprise then that she’s excited about the possibilities and looking forward to pursuing a degree in Environmental and Sustainability Studies (http:// environment.acadiau.ca/). Only 25 students are accepted to the program each year and she’s thrilled to have the opportunity to meet new people and forge
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