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CAUT Bulletin Archives

November 2009

Mount Royal & Grant MacEwan Named as Universities

The new Alberta universities — Mount Royal University (top) & Grant MacEwan University
The new Alberta universities — Mount Royal University (top) & Grant MacEwan University
Two Alberta colleges officially became universities in September. Mount Royal College in Calgary was granted the right to use the name university by the Government of Alberta on Sept. 3 and Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton was allowed to change its name to university on Sept. 24.

Mount Royal University

Robin Fisher, Mount Royal provost and vice-president academic, said the switch to university status was a proud moment for a school with humble beginnings in 1911 as a private Methodist institution with 179 students.

But the mandate of Mount Royal changed over the years and “the reality is we became a university ahead of the name,” Fisher said. “We’ve already implemented a range of degree programs and we’ve set up a new system of academic governance to oversee academic matters.”

Being named Mount Royal University is a fitting recognition of the school’s recent growth, Fisher said. “Each and every staff and faculty member and student should be congratulated on this success.”

Mount Royal now has seven bachelor’s degrees and “graduates will have more opportunity as a result of the new status,” said David Hyttenrauch, president of the Mount Royal Faculty Association in a statement to CBC News.

“It’s been difficult over the years for graduates of colleges, generally, to move on to graduate studies at universities,” he said. “Having the university name doesn’t really change the programs we offer, but it changes the national recognition and our status among other institutions.”

Grant MacEwan University

Paul Byrne, president and CEO at MacEwan, which opened its doors nearly 40 years ago to 400 students, said the university name enhances the public perspective on what the institution offers.

“We’re very experienced in offering a university-calibre curriculum — the name change reflects the next step in our evolution,” Byrne said. “MacEwan now offers five undergraduate degrees with potential to add more in the years ahead … we evolve and we respond but our DNA stays the same.”

He said the decision to concentrate increasingly on undergraduate teaching while continuing to offer diploma and certificate programs did not come lightly. “It took a lot of research, consultation and soul searching to determine if this was truly a step in the right direction. The reaction to the name change from students, faculty and staff has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The name change is “just formal recognition of what we’ve been doing for quite some time,” Jerry Zdril, head of MacEwan’s faculty association, told the Edmon­ton Journal.