St. Thomas University (Canada)

University of New Brunswick Enlarge Brian Mulroney
St. Thomas University
St. Thomas University (Canada) coat of arms.png
Latin: Universitatis S. Thomae
Former name
St. Thomas College (1910–1960)
MottoDoce Bonitatem Scientiam et Disciplinam (Latin)
Motto in English
Teach me Goodness and Knowledge and Discipline[1]
Established1910; 110 years ago
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic[2]
PresidentDawn Russell
VisitorChristian Riesbeck (as Bishop of Saint John)[3]
Location, ,
ColoursGold      & Green     
St. Thomas University (New Brunswick) Logo.svg

St. Thomas University (also St. Thomas or STU) is a public Catholic 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 1,900 students. The average class size is 30 and no class is larger than 60.[5]

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.[6] The university is unique in Canada for its sole focus on liberal arts and its commitment to social justice.

St. Thomas' notable alumni includes a Canadian prime minister, Brian Mulroney, a New Brunswick premier, Shawn Graham, federal and provincial cabinet ministers, clerics, university presidents as well as several Rhodes Scholars.[7]


St. Thomas University traces its institutional origins to the establishment of a Catholic academy in the former community of Chatham, New Brunswick (now Miramichi) in the late nineteenth century. Due to an influx of Irish immigration in northwestern New Brunswick, Chatham saw a need for more centres of education and religious instruction. Officially opened in October of 1860, St. Michael’s Academy was inaugurated by Bishop James Rogers of the newly formed Diocese of Chatham.[8]

St. Michael’s Academy catered to young English-speaking males in the Miramichi River Valley and the growing port town of Chatham. A women’s academy was created a year later. St. Michael’s consisted of a single wooden structure constructed near the seat of the Diocese of Chatham, the new St. Michael’s Cathedral. The institution offered a classical education and was intended to prepare students to study for the diocesan priesthood. From 1865, the school was known as St. Michael’s College. It closed for several years in the 1870s and 1880s.[9]

Its uneven operation was curbed by the Basilian Fathers, a religious order who assumed the administration of the College in 1910. Since the Toronto-based religious order already had a Catholic college in the Ontario capital, named St. Michael's College (a federated component of the University of Toronto), St. Michael’s in Chatham was renamed St. Thomas College after Thomas Aquinas. It remained a high school and a junior college; however, in 1934 the institution gained degree granting status from the Government of New Brunswick.[10]

STU's lower campus in Fredericton

After 1923, the Basilian Fathers transferred the administration of the college to the Diocese of Chatham.[11] The diocese was restructured as the Diocese of Bathurst. Its seat was moved to the primarily francophone community, Bathurst, south of Chatham. While St. Thomas College remained in Chatham, its future remained uncertain. In 1959, the college was subject to territorial changes in the reorganized Diocese of Bathurst. English-speaking parishes and the college were transferred to the Diocese of Saint John with its seat in New Brunswick's major port city.[12] The Bishop of Saint John became the Chancellor of St. Thomas. By mid-century, the economic and social significance of post-secondary institutions saw an increased role of state intervention. In 1960, the institution was renamed St. Thomas University by an act of the New Brunswick Legislature.[13] Under the government of Louis Robichaud, the Royal Commission on Higher Education was launched. Headed by John James Deutsch, a professor and administrator from Queen’s University, the commission recommended greater centralization and public funding in post-secondary education.[14]

Arising from the Commission’s recommendations, St. Thomas University was encouraged to relocated to the campus of the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton to share facilities. Not without controversy and animosity, St. Thomas University moved to the provincial capital and abandoned its secondary school curriculum.[15] A new campus was built in the Neo-Georgian style by the architects of the University of New Brunswick (Larson & Larson) to compliment the campus of its institutional neighbour.[16] It officially welcomed students in October of 1964.[17]

Today, St. Thomas University is largely a secular institution and remains the only exclusive liberal arts university in Canada.

Relationship with the 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 cannot, in large part to its UNB partnership. The two universities enjoy a good-natured rivalry.[18]

Now sharing a campus with the University of New Brunswick (pictured), STU relocated to Fredericton from Chatham, New Brunswick in 1964[19]


STU offers the following programmes to students: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Applied Arts, Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Social Work.[20]

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 and 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.[21]

STU's upper campus


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.[22]

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 four residence buildings at St. Thomas University. Three are located on campus (Harrington and Vanier Halls, and Holy Cross House), while one is located a short distance away (Rigby Hall).

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.[23]

The student newspaper, The Aquinian, is available on campus and around the city during the regular academic year.

Graduates may chose to wear the traditional T-ring


Bishop of Chatham (1910–1938) after Bishop of Bathurst (1938–1959)

Bishop of Saint John (1959–2019)

lay Chancellors

Presidents and Vice Chancellors

Notable alumni

Notable faculty and staff

See also


  1. ^ Psalm 119, Verse 66; also, motto of the Basilian Fathers.
  2. ^ "Mission statement". St. Thomas University. 2014. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  3. ^ Founding Member, Board of Governors,
  4. ^ "Full-time plus Part-time Enrollment" (PDF). Association of Atlantic Universities. 2016-10-01. Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  5. ^ "St Thomas University". Archived from the original on 2014-08-26.
  6. ^ "Frank McKenna donates $1M to STU". CBC News New Brunswick.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Church, Politics, and STU: The Relocation of St. Thomas University from Chatham to Fredericton, p. 3-4.
  9. ^ Church, Politics, and STU: The Relocation of St. Thomas University from Chatham to Fredericton, p. 3-4.
  10. ^ Church, Politics, and STU: The Relocation of St. Thomas University from Chatham to Fredericton, p. 3-4.
  11. ^ Church, Politics, and STU: The Relocation of St. Thomas University from Chatham to Fredericton, p.3-4.
  12. ^ Church, Politics, and STU, 53-55.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Church, Politics, and STU, p.176-177.
  17. ^
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  19. ^
  20. ^ St. Thomas University Programmes Archived 2012-04-05 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ St. Thomas University Overview of Scholarships Archived 2013-01-31 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Narrative". St. Thomas University. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  23. ^ Employment on Campus
  24. ^ Brunswick Liberal Association, MLA profile
  25. ^ profile
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  33. ^ "CBC Digital Archives: "Looking Back on the Mulroney Years."".
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