Oh what a year!

In 2023, MSVU turned 150, received the largest donation in its history, and helped host a former First Lady of the United States.

Our impressive students soared not just in the classroom, the research lab, and in the community, but also on the basketball court and the soccer field.

Before we welcome 2024 – and launch our next 150 years – let’s take a look back at our 10 most popular news stories of 2023 (based on website page views and social media engagement).

10. Five things to know about Drag Queen Story Time – and more Conversation Canada pieces

This year, MSVU faculty shared their expertise as authors on a number of articles published by the independent daily news source The Conversation Canada. They wrote about reading disabilities as a human rights issue, sex workers’ rights, pronoun policies, the power of food to promote heart health and much more.

One of the most popular of these stories was a piece written by MSVU psychology faculty Dr. Conor Barker and Dr. Daniel Séguin that explained how drag queen story time events can support child development and promote acceptance.

9. Celebrating our 2023 academic award winners | Celebrating MSVU’s 2023 science award winners

Stories that put a spotlight on our amazing students are always a big hit – as they should be! In the spring, we celebrated MSVU students’ exceptional academic achievements. These students are an inspiration to the university community and a great source of Mystic pride!

8. New electric bike program coming to MSVU

With support from HCi3’s Accelerating to Zero Grant Program, MSVU and Zen Electric Bikes are partnering to bring a fleet of 15 electric bikes and new solar powered e-bike storage and charging station to campus – believed to be the first initiative of its kind on an Atlantic Canadian university campus. The program is now expected to launch in 2024.

7. Convocation stories!

Convocation is the most wonderful time of the year at MSVU. It’s our chance to celebrate the success of our hardworking students, together with their families and friends. It’s no surprise that our convocation stories, featuring our wonderful graduates, are among our most read stories every year. Here are two such pieces that got the most “clicks” this year:

We’re thrilled to announce that Tyler Simmons is one of three Spring 2023 Valedictorians!
Congrats to all the grads who will cross the stage during our Fall Convocation ceremony on Sunday, October 22

Riva Spatz Women's Wall of Honour

6. MSVU celebrates the installation of 42 more women on its Riva Spatz Women’s Wall of Honour

The only one of its kind in Canada, the Riva Spatz Women’s Wall of Honour at MSVU is a celebration of almost 600 extraordinary women from all walks of life. The name of each honouree is engraved on a leaf on the wall as a lasting tribute. On June 28, 2023, we celebrated our newest additions to the wall of honour.

5. Welcoming new faculty

This fall, we introduced eight professors and a librarian new to MSVU. As Dr. Lori Francis said in her welcome message, “These individuals bring an expertise that will enhance our university’s educational and research endeavours, and we’re delighted that they’ve made MSVU their new university home.”

4. The Honourable Margaret McCain announces legacy gift to MSVU in support of early childhood

October 31, 2023 was a very big day for MSVU. On that day, we shared the news of the largest gift in our history: a legacy gift of $10 million from the Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain in support of teaching, research and practice on early childhood education at MSVU.

Mrs. McCain has long recognized the benefits of quality play-based early childhood programming and the unparalleled opportunities it provides Canada’s youngest citizens. She’s also been an unwavering champion of MSVU’s work to help build capacity in the sector in Nova Scotia and beyond.

3. Announcement of New Vice-President Academic & Provost and Vice-President Administration

When we welcomed Dr. Lori Francis and Isabelle Nault to the MSVU community this past summer (in the roles of VP Academic & Provost and VP Administration, respectively), we became home to the only all-women executive leadership team at an Atlantic Canadian university.

2. MSVU part of team hosting former First Lady Michelle Obama this October

MSVU joined with a number of other local organizations to host former First Lady Michelle Obama in Halifax this past October as part of our 150th anniversary celebrations. As a partner in this initiative, our focus was on providing event access to underrepresented individuals. Through the HER Impact and Diversity Delegation programs, we made it possible for a diverse group of more than 700 girls, women, youth and emerging leaders to attend.

1. Does ice cream really cool you down?

So there’s a story behind this story that features MSVU professor and nutrition researcher Dr. Bohdan Luhovyy. We didn’t publish this piece in 2023. But it’s been consistently among our most read articles since we published it in 2019, because it’s still being cited by media around the globe.

The piece addresses a question that media outlets have asked us more than once: does ice cream really cool you down? As home to an exceptional program in Applied Human Nutrition, we get media calls about food topics a lot. And so a few years ago, we published a story answering this question ourselves. Since then, this story has been referenced many times (even by National Geographic Kids!), to the point that it’s still topping our charts.

Spoiler alert: eating ice cream in the summer is awesome, but it may not be the best choice if you’re looking to cool down.