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St. Thomas University (New Brunswick)

St. Thomas University
Motto Latin: Doce Bonitatem Scientiam et Disciplinam
Motto in English
Teach me Goodness and Knowledge and Discipline[1]
Established 1910
Type Public
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic[2]
Chancellor Robert Harris
President Prof. Dawn Russell
Students 2,300
Undergraduates 2,300
Location Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Campus Urban
Colours Gold      & Green    
Athletics CISAUS
Nickname Tommies
Affiliations UACC

St. Thomas University (STU) is a small, exclusively liberal arts university located in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. It is a primarily undergraduate university offering bachelor's degrees in the arts (humanities and social sciences), education, and social work to approximately 2,300 students. The average class size is 30 and no class is larger than 60.[3]

The university offers a number of unique programs including recognized majors in Criminology, Journalism, Human Rights, and Communications and Public Policy. St. Thomas is the home of the Frank McKenna Centre for Communications and Public Policy. The university is unique in Canada for its sole focus on liberal arts and its commitment to social justice.

St. Thomas University


  • History 1
  • Relationship with UNB 2
  • Academics 3
  • Scholarships & Bursaries 4
  • Research 5
  • Campus life 6
  • Notable alumni 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11


The origin of St. Thomas University dates back to 1860 when James Rogers, the newly appointed Bishop of Chatham, founded St Michael's Academy. Bishop Rogers's successor Bishop Thomas F. Barry, Bishop of Chatham, invited the Basilian Fathers of Toronto to assume charge of St Michael's, an institution in Chatham, New Brunswick, providing education for boys at the secondary and junior college levels. The Basilians agreed to do so in 1910, insisting on changing the academy's name to St Thomas College so as to avoid confusion with their St Michael's College in Toronto. The chancellor of the college remained the Bishop of Chatham.

The Basilian Fathers remained at St. Thomas until 1923. That year Bishop Patrice Chiasson, an Acadian who had succeeded Bishop Barry in 1920 as bishop of Chatham, managed with the help of a few priests to keep the college operating. From 1910 until 1934, St. Thomas College retained its original status as a High School and Junior College. It became a degree-granting institution upon receipt of a University Charter on March 9, 1934, at which time the provincial legislature of New Brunswick enacted the following:

“St. Thomas College shall be held, and taken, and is hereby declared to be a University with all and every power of such an institution, and the Board of Governors thereof shall have full power and authority to confer upon properly qualified persons the degree of Bachelor, Master, and Doctor in the several arts and faculties in the manner and upon the conditions which may be ordered by the Board of Governors.”

In 1938, Chiasson, with the permission of the Vatican, transferred the See of the Diocese from English-speaking Chatham to French-speaking Bathurst, which caused considerable concern among St Thomas's supporters in Chatham. In 1959, after six years of secret negotiations, the predominantly English-speaking section of Northumberland County, including within its territorial limits Chatham and St. Thomas College, was transferred from the Diocese of Bathurst to the Diocese of Saint John, making Alfred Leverman, Bishop of Saint John since 1953, St. Thomas's new chancellor.[4]

In 1953, St Thomas granted its first honorary degree to Lord Beaverbrook, a keen supporter of the college. The St Thomas graduating class of 1953 made his lordship an honorary member of their class.

In 1960, an act of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick changed the name of St. Thomas College to St. Thomas University, reflecting its expanded departments. The following year, the high school courses were eliminated from the curriculum.

From the middle 1950s, the President of UNB, Colin B. Mackay, pushed to have St Thomas moved to the UNB campus in Fredericton. After much political maneuvering on the part of Bishop Leverman and the new president of St Thomas since 1961, Msgr Donald C. Duffie, in the spring of 1962 it was finally announced that, as a recommendation of the Deutsch Royal Commission, St Thomas would be moving to the UNB campus in Fredericton. The announcement engendered a major controversy, the move being opposed by St Thomas's loyal supporters in Chatham.[5]

In 1963 an agreement was drawn up between St. Thomas University and the University of New Brunswick. According to this agreement, St. Thomas University would be an "affiliated university" with UNB, with a 99-year lease to a large portion of the UNB campus. It would continue to grant its own undergraduate degrees in arts and education but gave up its former right to grant degrees in Nursing or graduate degrees. The agreement further provided that St. Thomas University would retain control of the content and administration of its curriculum. President Duffie agreed that its new academic and residential buildings would be designed by UNB's noted architectural firm Larson & Larson. To avoid duplication, and in return for a portion of St Thomas's provincial grant turned over to UNB, the two universities would share various services and facilities such as the library holdings and various scientific, cultural, and athletic facilities.

On September 2, 1964, St. Thomas University opened its new premises in Fredericton. Since its relocation, the university has undergone significant growth in the number of students, faculty, and facilities. From fewer than 500 students, 22 faculty and 3 buildings at that time, St. Thomas has grown to nearly 3000 students, 121 full-time faculty and 12 buildings.

St. Thomas is now nationally recognized for the beauty of its campus and the quality of its learning environment. In 1964, the institution consisted of the Administration Building (now George Martin Hall), Harrington Hall (residence), and Holy Cross House (classrooms, faculty offices and residence). Vanier Hall (residence) was added in 1965; Edmund Casey Hall (classrooms and faculty offices) in 1969; a new wing to Edmund Casey Hall in 1985; Sir James Dunn Hall (student area, classrooms) in 1994, and the J.B. O'Keefe Fitness Centre and the Forest Hill Residence (now Harry Rigby Hall) in 1999.

The new century saw the opening of the Welcome Centre (Admissions) and Brian Mulroney Hall (classrooms, faculty offices, and student areas) in 2001; Chatham Hall was added to the Forest Hill Residence in 2003. During that year, St. Thomas University also began leasing classroom space in a CBC broadcast facility for use by its journalism programme, a unique and beneficial arrangement. Margaret Norrie McCain Hall, an academic building consisting of a large auditorium, a two-storey student study hall, and numerous classrooms and seminar rooms, opened for students in January 2007.[6]

Relationship with UNB

St. Thomas University and the University of New Brunswick's Fredericton campus are located in the College Hill neighbourhood in Fredericton. The two institutions share facilities for their student unions, libraries, athletics, and a common heating plant and building maintenance services. Students from STU are permitted to take a certain number of classes at UNB and vice versa. However, STU and UNBF itself are financially and academically separate. STU is able to offer many amenities other smaller schools can't, thanks in large part to its UNB partnership. The two universities have a good-natured rivalry with each other.


STU offers the following programmes to students: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Applied Arts, Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Social Work.[7]

STU offers the following degrees to students: Anthropology, Catholic Studies, Communications and Public Policy, Criminology & Criminal Justice, Economics, Education, English Language and Literature (with the option to additionally concentrate in Creative Writing or Drama), Environment and Society, Fine Arts, French, Gerontology, Great Books, History, Human Rights, Humanities, Interdisciplinary Studies, International Relations, Irish Studies, Journalism, Mathematics, Media Studies, Native Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Romance Languages, Science and Technology Studies, Social Work, Sociology, Spanish, Women's Studies and Gender Studies.

Scholarships & Bursaries

The Government of Canada sponsors an Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool that lists over 680 scholarships, bursaries, and other incentives offered by governments, universities, and industry to support Aboriginal post-secondary participation. St. Thomas University scholarships for Aboriginal, First Nations and Métis students include: ATV Media Scholarship.[8]


At St. Thomas University, there are 6 focal areas of research: qualitative analysis, human rights and social justice, New Brunswick studies/Atlantic region, narrative studies, global and international studies, and on learning and teaching. The university holds Canada Research Chairs (with the associated research centres) in New Brunswick studies, social justice, qualitative analysis, and narrative. The university is home to the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Narrative. [9]

Campus life

There are six academic buildings on campus housing classrooms and faculty offices. They are: James Dunn Hall, Edmund Casey Hall, George Martin Hall, Brian Mulroney Hall, Holy Cross House, and Margaret Norrie McCain Hall.

STU's athletic facility is called the J.B. O'Keefe Centre.

There are five residence buildings at St. Thomas University. Three are located on campus (Harrington and Vanier Halls, and Holy Cross House), while two are located a short distance away (Chatham and Rigby Halls).

The university maintains its own campus police force. Campus police members are students who are hired annually by the University to maintain security at campus events.[10]

The student newspaper, The Aquinian, is available on campus and around the city during the regular academic year. In addition, St. Thomas University has its own Her Campus chapter, which was launched in January 2014.[11]

Notable alumni

See also


  1. ^ Verse 66, Psalm 119(
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ William Spray and Anthony Rhinelander, Church, Politics, and STU: The Relocation of St. Thomas University from Chatham to Fredericton (Fredericton, NB: STU, 2014).
  5. ^ William Spray and Anthony Rhinelander, Church, Politics, and STU: The Relocation of St. Thomas University from Chatham to Fredericton (Fredericton, NB: STU, 2014).
  6. ^ History of St. Thomas University
  7. ^ St. Thomas University Programmes
  8. ^ St. Thomas University Overview of Scholarships
  9. ^
  10. ^ Employment on Campus
  11. ^

Further reading

  • Fraser, J. A. "By Force of Circumstance": A History of St. Thomas University. Fredericton: Miramichi Press, 1970.
  • Spray, William and Anthony Rhinelander. Church, Politics, and STU: The Relocation of St. Thomas University from Chatham to Fredericton. Fredericton, NB: STU, 2014.

External links

  • St. Thomas University
  • Virtual Tour
  • St. Thomas University Students' Union
  • Faculty Assn. of the University of St. Thomas (FAUST)

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