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Congratulations on 100 Years, Mount Royal University

by Christine Hayes - 0 Comment(s)

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Mount Royal College, 1962

Alison Jackson Photography Collection, AJ 0196

The early part of the 20th century was heady times for the city of Calgary. As you will notice over the next few years, a lot of our important institutions will be celebrating important anniversaries. The library will be 100 years old in 2012 as will the Calgary Stampede, Calgary Transit celebrated 100 years in 2009, Old City Hall, itself, will celebrate its centenary this year and Mount Royal College (now University) just turned 100.

The Methodist Church received a charter in 1910 to run a co-ed boarding school. It chose as the first president of the college, Dr. George W. Kerby, the very popular minister of Central Methodist church. His goal was to provide a good education to both boys and girls. In 1911 a two storey brick building was built at 11 Street and 6th Avenue SW.

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Dr. G.W. Kerby's Residence, 1125 7th Avenue SW

Alison Jackson Photography Collection, AJ 0436

A list of the Board of Governors from the 1915 calendar is a veritable who’s who of Calgary business and society. It included W.H. Cushing, A. Judson Sayre, A. Melville Scott, Pat Burns, E.H. Crandell, Dr. T.H. Blow, and O. Devenish, many of whom had children in attendance at the college. The school was described as a “high class and residential college for boys and young men, for girls and young women” in the Merchants and manufacturers record of 1911. The college had “122 registered, and more coming daily.” Courses were offered in academic subjects, commercial and shorthand, expression and physical culture and the conservatory of music.

By 1929 the college had outgrown its building and was seeking 20 acres of land near the Technical School grounds. This never came to pass and in 1931 ground was broken on an addition to the college. In the 1930s, the college gained affiliation with the University of Alberta and university courses were offered. In the 1940s the college experienced an influx of servicemen seeking to further their education and was forced, by a shortage of space, to offer classes in army huts on the grounds of Mewata Park. The article mentions that this will be only until “the proposed new college building is constructed.” (Calgary Herald June 28, 1946) In 1948, a start was made on building a gym, named after Dr. Stanley, who had sat on the board since 1910, and a memorial building in honour of Dr. Kerby. The memorial building was opened in June of 1949, the gym in November 1949. The Kerby building was enlarged in 1961 to keep up with the continuing success of the college, but by 1964 enrollment was once again at capacity and the school was bursting at the seams.

This pushed the drive for the new campus and in the 1966 land in Lincoln Park was acquired as a new site for the college. The Lincoln Park campus opened for classes in the fall of 1972. By 1981 the school had established satellite campuses. Growth continued and by 2000, 10,000 students were enrolled. In 2009 the Mount Royal College officially became Mount Royal University.

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Corridor at Mount Royal College, ca. 1920s?

Postcards from the Past, PC 1782a


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