Acadia’s History of Partnership

“Acadia Divinity College has a proud history of partnership with the African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia. We are committed to strengthening our relationship as we equip a new generation of church leaders to minister in a spirit of justice and equality.”

~ Rev. Dr. Anna RobbinsPresident, Acadia Divinity College, Dean of Theology, Acadia University

ADC’s connection with the Black community is steeped in a rich and long history. The accomplishments of the following Black alumni mark significant firsts in our journey together.

While we celebrate the milestones these remarkable individuals represent, we recognize they faced systemic racism and overcame many obstacles. Acadia Divinity College strives to eradicate these barriers and forge greater educational opportunities in theology for the African Nova Scotian community.


Ms. Lalia Halfkenny of Dorchester, New Brunswick, was the only Black woman in the Acadia Ladies’ Seminary Class of 1890. She was also the first Black woman to graduate from the Seminary.


Rev. Dr. Edwin Borden, born and raised in Truro, was the first Nova Scotian of African descent to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (1892) and Master of Arts (1896) from Acadia. He is also recognized as one of the first Black persons in Canada to achieve this level of education.


Rev. Dr. William White graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1903 and was ordained to Christian ministry that same year. Acadia University awarded Rev.  Dr. White an Honorary Doctor of Divinity in 1936, the first Black person in Canada to receive such a distinction.


Rev. Dr. William Pearly Oliver graduated from Acadia University with a Bachelor of Arts, and with a Bachelor of Divinity in 1936, the first African Nova Scotian to earn this degree.


Marion Prevost Skinner graduated from Acadia University with the Women’s Leadership Training Certificate and is believed to be the only African Nova Scotian to achieve this credential.


Rev. Tracey Grosse was the first Black woman to be ordained in the AUBA and the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada, as well as the first ordained woman Moderator of the AUBA.


Rev. Dr. Lionel Moriah, born in Guyana, South America, became the first professor of African descent at ADC when he joined the faculty as the John Gladstone Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship.


Rev. Dr. Lennett Anderson is the first African Nova Scotian faculty member in the history of ADC.