Mount Saint Vincent University

Mount Saint Vincent University, HALIFAX, was founded in 1873 by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul as a women's academy. The original purpose of the Academy was to train novices and Sisters as teachers, but the Sisters quickly recognized the need to provide opportunities in post-secondary education for other women as well. After 1914 post-secondary education was provided by affiliation with DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY. Mount Saint Vincent achieved degree-granting status in 1925, becoming the first independent college for women in the Commonwealth. In 1951 a fire of unknown origin totally destroyed the buildings that housed the Motherhouse, the Academy and the College. Classes continued in various temporary locations until 1959, when the facilities were completely rebuilt at a new location. Because of its modern facilities it was able to accommodate a substantial increase in enrolment. In 1966 Mount Saint Vincent College was renamed Mount Saint Vincent University, and the following year men were first admitted as students. In 1988 the ownership of the university was transferred from the Sisters of Charity to the Board of Governors.

While approximately one-quarter of the student population is now male, the university still retains its primary objective of providing an environment and opportunity for the higher education of women within the Roman Catholic tradition. The university offers degree programs in arts, applied arts, business administration, education, human ecology, public relations, science and tourism and hospitality management; diploma programs in executive, legal and medical secretarial studies; a certificate program in gerontology and both a certificate and a diploma in business administration and education as well as certificates in gerontology, marketing and proficiency in French. Graduate programs are offered in the fields of education, school psychology and human ecology and women's studies. The university has over 4000 students. Women still represent a large portion of the student population -- over 85%.