Mount Allison University

Mount Allison University (also Mount A or MTA) is a primarily undergraduate Canadian liberal arts and science university situated in Sackville, New Brunswick. It is located near the regional city of Moncton. With a combination of historical architecture and modern facilities as well as its well-kept grounds, the campus is among the most beautiful in Canada . Ranked first or second in the country for the last 15 years by Maclean's magazine and given top ratings in Maclean's annual alumni survey, Mount Allison University is considered the best undergraduate university in Canada.

Mount Allison University was the first university in the British Empire to award a baccalaureate to a woman (Grace Annie Lockhart, B.Sc, 1875). Over the years, Mount Allison graduates have been awarded a total of 47 Rhodes Scholarships; more than any other liberal arts university in North America (Williams College, in Massachusetts, is second with 37 Rhodes Scholars). Mount Allison is the wealthiest university in Canada on an endowment per student basis. Mount Allison students and alumni are referred to as "Allisonians".


Mount Allison University is a United Church-affiliated, non-sectarian university established at Sackville, New Brunswick in 1862. Its origins were steeped in the Methodist faith. It was designed to prepare men for the ministry and to supply education for lay members. The university's affiliation was transferred to the United Church of Canada following church union in 1925. Original components of the university included: the Mount Allison Wesleyan Academy for Boys (1840-1958), the Ladies' College (1854-1958), and Mount Allison College. Mount Allison College was established in 1862 with degree-granting powers on behalf of the other two.

Mount Allison's origins go back to a boys' academy founded in 1839 by a local Methodist merchant, Charles Frederick Allison. Charles Allison's grandfather had emigrated from Ireland to Canada in the late 1700s because of the after effects of a dinner with the local government tax collector. Wanting to impress the man, the family had set the table with their one valuable possession; silver spoons. After entertaining their guest, the Allisons were informed by the tax collector that if they could afford silver spoons, then they could certainly afford to pay more taxes. The Allisons left Ireland shortly thereafter. The offending spoons are now on display in the main university library.

In June 1839, Charles Allison proposed to the Wesleyan Methodists that a school of elementary and higher learning be built. He offered to purchase a site in Sackville, to erect a suitable building for an academy, and to contribute operating funds of £100 a year for 10 years. This offer was accepted and the Wesleyan Academy for boys subsequently opened in 1843.

In 1854, a girls' institution (later known as the "Ladies College") was opened to complement the boys' academy.

In July 1862, the degree-granting Mount Allison College was organised. The first two students, Howard Sprague and Josiah Wood, graduated in May 1863. Mount Allison was the first university in the British Empire to confer a Bachelor's degree to a woman (Grace Annie Lockhart, B.Sc. 1875). It was also the first university in Canada to grant a Bachelor of Arts to a woman (Harriet Starr Stewart). For nearly a century, Mount Allison functioned as three distinct, mutually enriching parts: the College proper, the Boys' Academy and the Ladies College.

The governance was modelled on the provincial University of Toronto Act of 1906 which established a bicameral system of university government consisting of a senate (faculty), responsible for academic policy, and a board of governors (citizens) exercising exclusive control over financial policy and having formal authority in all other matters. The president, appointed by the board, was to provide a link between the 2 bodies and to perform institutional leadership.

In the early part of the 20th century, professional education expanded beyond the traditional fields and graduate training based on the German-inspired American model of specialized course work and the completion of a research thesis was introduced.

By 1920, Mount Allison University had three faculties: Arts, Theology, and Engineering. It awarded the degrees of Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Divinity (BD), and Master of Arts. It had 246 male students and 73 female students, as well as 28 academic staff, all male.

The closure of the School for Girls in 1946 and the Boy's Academy in 1953 coincided with a period of expansion and provided much-needed space for the growing university. In 1958, a period of construction and acquisition of buildings began, easing the strain of overcrowding at the institution. At this time the university board and administration decided to reaffirm the traditional aims of Mount Allison in providing a high-quality undergraduate liberal arts education, along with continuing to offer professional programmes in already-established fields. As such, the university decided not to compete for new professional programs and generally avoided post-graduate course development.

The policy of university education initiated in the 1960s responded to population pressure and the belief that higher education was a key to social justice and economic productivity for individuals and for society.


In December 2007, Mount Allison University was ranked the #1 university in Canada for the 12th time in the primarily undergraduate university category, as rated by Maclean's magazine. Mount Allison has also produced 47 Rhodes Scholars, the highest number per capita of any university in the Commonwealth

The mission statement of Mount Allison University promotes "the creation and dissemination of knowledge in a community of higher learning, centred on the undergraduate student and delivered in an intimate and harmonious environment". Mount Allison currently offers Bachelor's degrees in Arts, Science, Commerce, Fine Arts and Music, as well as Master's degrees in Biology and Chemistry and Certificates in Bilingualism. A Bachelor's degree in Aviation has recently been developed in conjunction with the Moncton Flight College.

The university has a controlled full time enrollment of about 2,250 students. The student body at Mount Allison comes from every province in Canada and there is a large proportion of international students as well. They are attracted by the university's reputation, academic standards, collegiality and small class size

Faculties & Departments

  • Faculty of Arts (B.A, B.Mus.,B.F.A.)
    • Classics
    • English
    • Fine Arts
    • History
    • Modern Languages & Literatures
    • Music
    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • American Studies
    • Canadian Studies
    • Drama
    • Women's Studies
  • Faculty of Social Sciences (B.A., B.Comm.)
    • Anthropology
    • Commerce
    • Economics
    • Geography & Environment
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Environmental Studies
    • International Relations
  • Faculty of Science (B.Sc., M.Sc.)
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics & Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Aviation (in conjunction with Moncton Flight College)
    • Biochemistry
    • Environmental Science
    • Cognitive Science


Mount Allison has housing facilities available for approximately 50 percent of its student population. More than 90 percent of first-year students choose to live in residence. Each residence is unique and provides a positive living and learning environment, which promotes a balanced university experience. On-campus accommodations are guaranteed to all first-year students who meet admission and deposit deadlines. All rooms come with high speed as well as wireless Internet.

All buildings are co-ed with wing to wing or integrated bathrooms. Sixty percent of rooms are either single or ensuite style and 40 percent are double accommodation. Campbell Hall, a newly built residence and winner of CBIP Award for incorporation of environment features , offers large single rooms with ensuite bathrooms. In addition, students may now choose to live in an environmentally sustainable residence located on campus. Cuthbertson House gives students the opportunity to employ environmental practices and policies in residence living. For students wishing to immerse themselves in French language and culture, based on student interest, the university offers students the opportunity to live together.

The following halls are open for new and returning students:

  • Campbell Hall (House of the Year 2007/08 and home to Frosh of the Year 2007/08 , Sacha Nadeau)
  • Harper Hall
  • Windsor Hall
  • Bigelow House
  • Bennett House
  • Trueman House (renovated and opening in September 2008 as the new Student Center)
  • Hunton House
  • Thorton House (Upper-year students only)
  • Edwards House
  • Cuthbertson Sustainable Residence

Social Life

Social life at Mount Allison tends to focus on extracurricular activities. Mount Allison students also socialize at places like Ducky's, the Tantramarsh Club ("The Pub") , Joey's, and the Bridge Street Café.

Mount Allison's campus paper, The Argosy, is produced weekly by Argosy Publications Inc., an independent organization funded by the students through an annual fee. The publication dates from 1875, making it one of the oldest continuous publications in Atlantic Canada. Its community radio station, CHMA 106.9 FM, is owned and operated by the members of Attic Broadcasting Company Ltd., a non-profit organization with its offices on the university campus.

Tintamarre theatre company was founded at Mount Allison by Professor Alex Fancy and produces a bilingual collective each year, staged at the Windsor Theatre and later presented at junior and senior high schools throughout the Maritime provinces. There is a performing arts series staged at Convocation Hall (one of the largest concert halls east of Montreal) during the school year. A Shakespearean "Festival by the Marsh" is traditionally staged by the Swan Pond in the summer.

Notable alumni

Mount Allison has produced more Rhodes Scholars (noted by RS in the list below) per capita than any other university in the Commonwealth. The latest, Dara MacDonald, was nominated in 2007 for the year 2008 and was the school's 47th scholar.


The school's team name in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) is the Mount Allison Mounties. Although the football team has appeared in the Vanier Cup twice (1984 & 1991), the team has not fared well in recent years. They won their first game in more than three years in October 2006 against Saint Francis Xavier University, with a score of 24-18. This win broke a losing streak of 34 games. The football Mounties finished their 2006 season with a record of 2-5, their best record since 1999. Mount Allison is also home to a CIS-level women's hockey team, as well as swim, badminton and soccer teams. Basketball and volleyball teams compete against colleges and other smaller universities. Mount Allison is also the winner of the first ever ACAA men's rugby championship.


See also


  • Dr. Marie Hammond Callaghan, Ed. 'We Were Here: Women's History at Mount Allison University' (Sackville: © Mount Allison University Press, 2006);
  • J.W. Falconer and W.G. Watson 'A Brief History of Pine Hill Divinity Hall and the Theological Department of Mount Allison University' (Halifax: Pine Hill Divinity Hall, 1946 Pamphlet)
  • John G. Reid, 'Mount Allison University: A History to 1963' (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984);
  • John G. Reid, 'The Mount Allison Ladies College: A Short History, 1984. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984);

External links

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