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First occurrence: 24 July 1830

Encaenia ceremony at the Lady Beaverbrook Rink, 1973. PR; Series 1; Sub-series 3; Item 5731.

Origins: The word "Encaenia" is from the Greek "Encoenia", meaning festival of the founders; Encaenia was intended to celebrate the founders of King's College, a ceremony that was based on a tradition of Oxford University, from which King's College vice-president Edwin Jacob was a graduate of.

History: The first Encaenia of King's College was instituted by Edwin Jacob with week-long events including a commemoration sermon by Rev. James Somerville and an examination of the Collegiate School and awarding of prizes. Finally, it ended with a ceremony held in the university chapel, wherein degrees conferred and an oration was delivered by Edwin Jacob. It's main focus was not the granting of degrees, but rather the acknowledgement of the founders of the institution. It was also a precursor to Founders' Day. Over time the act of paying tribute to those people who founded the institution became supplanted by awarding degrees and acknowledging students' achievements.

Encaenia has grown from a day-long event to a week full of commemorative activities. The events surrounding Encaenia week have changed over the years; one of the most popular functions was once a dinner dance held for the graduating class. The Baccalaureate Service has continued until present day, as well as the Encaenial Tea service.

See also: [UNB Honorary Degrees Database]


  • Montague, Susan. A Pictorial History of the University of New Brunswick. Fredericton, NB: University of New Brunswick, 1992, p. 23.
  • UNB Scrapbooks (UA RG 100), January - November 1946.
  • UNB Traditions, [183rd Encaenia]
  • UA Case 128; Section 2; File 1.

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