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University of Victoria
Motto "Let there be light" and "A multitude of the wise is the health of the world".
Established 1903 Victoria College. Now named University of Victoria (1963-present)
Type Public
Endowment $225 million
Chancellor Murray Farmer[1]
President Dr. David H. Turpin, FRSC
Provost Jamie Cassels, QC
Faculty 850 faculty
Staff 4, 679 employees
Students 19, 432 [2]
Undergraduates 16, 839
Postgraduates 2, 593
Location Canada Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Sport Teams Victoria Vikes
Colours Red     , Gold      & Blue     
Nickname Vikes
Mascot "Thunder" the Viking
UVictoria logo.png

The University of Victoria (UVic) is the second oldest degree granting university in British Columbia. This medium-sized university is located in Greater Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (northeast of Victoria) with an enrollment figure of more than 19,000 students. The campus is famous for its prestige, beautiful gardens and mild climate. It attracts many students in part because of its size, its picturesque location, and its cooperative education program, which is the third largest in Canada. The university is the nation's lead institution in the VENUS and NEPTUNE projects.



University of Victoria was established on 1 July 1963 in Victoria, British Columbia when an existing college of the University of British Columbia gained autonomy as a university.[3] The non-denominational university had enjoyed 60 years of prior teaching tradition at the university level as Victoria College. This 60 years of history may be viewed conveniently in three distinct stages. Between the years 1903 and 1915, Victoria College was affiliated with McGill University, offering first- and second-year McGill courses in Arts and Science.[4] Administered locally by the Victoria School Board, the College was an adjunct to Victoria High School and shared its facilities. Both institutions were under the direction of a single Principal: E.B. Paul, 1903-1908; and S.J. Willis, 1908-1915.

The opening in 1915 of the University of British Columbia, established by Act of Legislature in 1908, obliged the College to suspend operations in higher education in Victoria. University of British Columbia was created in 1908. A single, public provincial university, it was modeled on the American state university, with an emphasis on extension work and applied research. The governance was modeled 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 two bodies and to perform institutional leadership.[3]

In 1920, as a result of local demands, Victoria College began the second stage of its development, reborn in affiliation with the University of British Columbia.[4] Though still administered by the Victoria School Board, the College was now completely separated from Victoria High School, moving in 1921 into the magnificent Dunsmuir mansion known as Craigdarroch Castle. Over the next two decades, under Principals E.B. Paul and P.H. Elliott, Victoria College built a reputation for thorough and scholarly instruction in first- and second-year Arts and Science. It was also during this period that future author Pierre Berton edited and served as principal cartoonist for the student newsletter, The Microscope.

The final stage, between the years 1945 and 1963, saw the transition from two year college to university, under Principals J.M. Ewing and W.H. Hickman.[4] During this period, the College was governed by the Victoria College Council, representative of the parent University of British Columbia, the Greater Victoria School Board, and the provincial Department of Education. Physical changes were many. In 1946 the College was forced by postwar enrollment to move from Craigdarroch to the Lansdowne campus of the Provincial Normal School (This is the current location of the Camosun College Lansdowne Campus). The Normal School, itself an institution with a long and honourable history, joined Victoria College in 1956 as its Faculty of Education. Late in this transitional period (through the co-operation of the Department of National Defence and the Hudson's Bay Company) the 284 acre (1,1 km²) now 385 acre (1.6 km²) campus at Gordon Head was acquired. Academic expansion was rapid after 1956, until in 1961 the College, still in affiliation with UBC awarded its first bachelor's degrees.

UVic sign at the northern campus entrance

In the early part of this century, professional education expanded beyond the traditional fields of theology, law and medicine. Graduate training based on the German-inspired American model of specialized course work and the completion of a research thesis was introduced.[3]

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.[3]

The university gained its autonomy in 1963 as the University of Victoria.[4] The University Act of 1963 vested administrative authority in a chancellor elected by the convocation of the university, a board of governors, and a president appointed by the board; academic authority was given to the senate which was representative both of the faculties and of the convocation.

The historical traditions of the university are reflected in the coat of arms, its academic regalia and its house flag. The BA hood is of solid red, a colour that recalls the early affiliation with McGill. The BSc hood, of gold, and the BEd hood, of blue, show the colours of the University of British Columbia. Blue and gold have been retained as the official colours of the University of Victoria. The motto at the top of the Arms of the University, in Hebrew characters, is "Let there be Light"; the motto at the bottom, in Latin, is "A Multitude of the Wise is the Health of the World."


Medical Sciences Building at UVic

The main Campus is located in the Gordon Head area of Greater Victoria. With a total area of 403 acres (1.6 km²), the campus spans the border between the municipalities of Oak Bay and Saanich. The original campus plan was prepared by the San Francisco firm of Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons, Architects and Planners. The general concept of the original design is still being followed with the academic portions of the campus located inside Ring Road which forms a perfect circle 600 m in diameter. Outside of Ring Road are the parking lots, Student Union Building, residence buildings, the sports facilities as well as some of the academic facilities that are more self contained (Law and Theatre for example). Some of the more prominent buildings on campus are:

  • Bob Wright Centre - the School of Earth & Ocean Sciences, the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling & Analysis, Chemistry and Astronomy labs
  • Business and Economics Building - besides the obvious, this building also houses the offices of senior university administrators.
  • Clearihue - Faculty of Humanities, including the Departments of English, Philosophy, Linguistics, Greek and Roman Studies, Medieval Studies, Slavonic Studies, History, Women's Studies, Pacific and Asian Studies, and languages. Also included are student computing facilities, the UVic Computer Store, and classrooms. Clearihue is the oldest building on campus, originally constructed in 1962 and augmented by an addition in 1971. It is named after Joseph Clearihue, who was chairman of Victoria College from 1947 until it gained university status in 1963.
  • Cornett - includes classrooms and the Departments of Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology.
  • Cunningham - includes the Department of Biology, a herbarium, numerous specialized research laboratories and the Centre for Forest Biology.
William C. Mearns Centre for Learning, formerly known as the McPherson Library.
  • David Strong - classrooms, seminar rooms and the Mathews and McQueen auditorium.
  • Elliott - includes the Departments of Chemistry and Physics and Astronomy, as well as a number of classrooms and laboratories. The building is topped by the Climenhaga Observatory.
  • Engineering Buildings - includes the Engineering Office Wing, the Engineering Lab Wing and the Engineering/Computer Science building (ECS) - home to the Faculty of Engineering, which includes the Departments of Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.
  • Fraser - formerly known as the Begbie building - houses the Faculty of Law, the Institute for Dispute Resolution and the Centre for Pacific-Asia Initiatives. The building also houses classrooms, seminar rooms, a moot courtroom and the Diana M. Priestly Law Library.
  • Hickman - formerly called the Centre for Innovative Teaching - includes "Smart" classrooms featuring closed-circuit cameras and remote projection systems to link teachers and students with other classrooms.
  • Human and Social Development Building - Classrooms and offices for Child and Youth Care, Dispute resolution, Health Information Science, Indigenous Governance, Nursing, Public Administration, and Social Work.
  • Ian Stewart Complex - the main fitness facility. Includes tennis courts, an ice rink, an outdoor pool and a gym.
  • MacLaurin - includes the Faculty of Education and School of Music, as well some classrooms and the David Lam Auditorium.
  • McKinnon Gymnasium - the School of Physical Education, the main Gymnasium and an indoor swimming pool.
  • William C. Mearns Centre for Learning
Rabbits on campus.
  • Medical Sciences Building - the Island Medical Program.
  • Petch Building - the Department of Microbiology and Biochemistry, and School of Earth and Ocean Sciences.
  • Phoenix Theatre - the Theatre department.
  • University Centre - includes many administrative offices (Accounting, Payroll, Advising, Record Services) as well as the main public cafeteria, Maltwood art gallery and the Farquhar auditorium.
  • Sedgewick - Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives (CAPI), Centre on Aging, Centre for the Study of Religion in Society, Centre for Global Studies; administration offices.
  • Social Sciences and Mathematics - houses the Departments of Geography, Political Science, and Mathematics, as well as the School of Environmental Studies.
  • Student Union Building - popularly known as "the Sub", it houses a movie theatre, food services, a bookstore, and the headquarters of several clubs and campus organizations, including a radio station (CFUV). There is also a student pub, Felicita's, and a defunct nightclub, Vertigo, which is now study space.
  • Army Huts - nine single-storey wood-frame utilitarian Second World War buildings (1940) on the northern part of the University of Victoria campus are on the Registry of Historic Places of Canada [5]
  • First Peoples House - It is open to the public.

The university also offers on-campus housing for over 3,200 students. A variety of housing is available, including single and double rooms, apartment-style housing with four people per unit (Cluster Housing) and family housing (Lam Family Housing). One of the buildings is named for General Sir Arthur William Currie.

Much of the university property has been dedicated to nature, notably Finnerty Gardens and Mystic Vale, a 44,000 m² forested ravine. The campus is home to deer, owls, squirrels, the occasional cougar and many other wild animals native to the area. The large population of domestic rabbits, which likely descended from abandoned house pets from the surrounding community, is a memorable feature of the campus.

Faculties and divisions


Maclean's Magazine, a major Canadian news magazine, has ranked UVic as one of the top three comprehensive universities in the nation for three consecutive years. Its Faculty of Law has also ranked first in the country, 8 out of the last 11 years. Currently, they are ranked 4th by Canadian Lawyer Magazine. University of Victoria's MBA program is consistently ranked as the top 10 of its kind in the nation.[2] UVic is British Columbia's second largest research university after UBC, and is one of Canada's top 20 research institutions[3]. According to ScienceWatch, UVic is nationally ranked first in geoscience, second in space science and education, and third in engineering and mathematics for the period of 2000-2004.[4]

  • 2004. Maclean's Magazine ranked UVic as 3rd in comprehensive university category.
  • 2005. Maclean's Magazine ranked UVic as 2nd in comprehensive university category.
  • 2006. Maclean's Magazine ranked UVic as 3rd in comprehensive university category.
  • 2007. Maclean's Magazine ranked UVic as 1st in comprehensive university category.
  • 2007. Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked the University of Victoria as 200-300th in the world. [5]
  • 2007. THES-QS World University Rankings ranked University of Victoria as 213th in the world and 12th in Canada. [6]
  • 2008. Maclean's Magazine ranked SFU and UVic as 1st in comprehensive university category.[7]
  • 2008.THES-QS World University Rankings ranked University of Victoria as 244th in the world and 14th in Canada. [7]
  • 2009. Maclean's Magazine ranked SFU and UVic as 1st in comprehensive university category.[8]
  • 2009.THES-QS World University Rankings ranked University of Victoria as 241th in the world and 14th in Canada. [8]


The university is represented in the Canada West Universities Athletics Association (CWUAA), Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) by the team Victoria Vikes.

The university currently has teams in the following sports:

  • Basketball (M/W)
  • Cross Country & Track (M/W)
  • Field Hockey (M/W)
  • Golf (M/W)
  • Rowing (M/W)
  • Rugby (M/W)
  • Soccer (M/W)
  • Swimming (M/W)

The university has a sports hall of fame. The Charter Inductees are as follows:

  • Lorne Loomer: Rowing Coach - Builder/Administrator
  • Wally Milligan: Men's Soccer Coach - Builder/Administrator
  • Gareth Rees: Rugby - Athlete Category
  • Ken Shields: Basketball - Coach Category
  • Kathy Shields: Basketball - Coach Category

Canadian Inter-University Sports(CIS) Championships[9]
Men's basketball: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1997
Women's basketball: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1992, 1998, 2000, 2003
Men's cross-country: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
Women's cross-country: 1981, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
Women's field hockey: 1985, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003
Men's soccer: 1976, 1988, 1997
Women's soccer: 2005

Canadian University Championship Titles[10]
Men's rugby: 1998, 1999
Men's rowing: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2009
Women's rowing: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
Men's golf: 2003


Sport Clubs

UVic has 28 sport clubs which are administered by Vikes Recreation, and run by students. Some of those clubs include:

  • The Figure Skating Club
  • The Hockey Club
  • The Outdoors Club
  • The Sailing Club
  • The Badminton Club
  • The Tennis Club
  • The Dance Company
  • The Waterpolo Club
  • The Juggling Club
  • The Equestrian Club
  • The Starcraft Club
  • The Kendo Club
  • The Synchronized Swimming Club



  • W. Harry Hickman, 1963-1964 (Acting)
  • Malcolm G. Taylor, 1964-1968
  • Robert T. D. Wallace, 1968-1969 (Acting)
  • Bruce J. Partridge, 1969-1972
  • Hugh E. Farquhar, 1972-1974
  • Stephen A. Jennings, 1974 (Acting)
  • Howard E. Petch, 1975-1990
  • David F. Strong, 1990-2000
  • David H. Turpin, 2000-present

Notable faculty (past and present)

  • Alan Astbury, physics professor emeritus, he was part of the Nobel-prize winning discovery of a new subatomic particle, and eventually won the Rutherford Medal and Prize for physics[11]
  • Mowry Baden, sculptor, winner of the 2008 Governor General's Award in Visual Arts
  • David D. Balam, a Canadian astronomer, Asteroid 3749 Balam is named after Balam
  • Harold Coward, a world-reowned scholar in religious studies and a president of Academy 2 of the Royal Society of Canada[12]
  • Werner Israel, a Canadian physicist, discovered the important phenomenon of mass inflation (Together with Stephen Hawking, he has coedited two important celebratory volumes).
  • Stephen Arthur Jennings, a mathematician who made significant breakthroughs in the study of modular representation theory
  • Patrick Lane, a Canadian poet, the recipient of almost every major literary prize in Canada.
  • Marshall McCall, scientist, expert on the chemical evolution of galaxies. [13]
  • Erich Mohr, researcher in experimental therapeutics for central nervous system disorders.[14]
  • Andrew Weaver, one of the world's leading climate researchers, member of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was co-awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Al Gore [15] and member of the British Columbia's Climate Action Team.
  • Anne Zeller, a physical anthropologist who specializes in the study of primates.
  • William Gaddes, noted Canadian psychologist and one of the first specialists in learning disorders in BC.
  • Otfried Spreen, neuropsychologist and aphasia researcher.
  • Jesse Read, musical conductor, composer, and bassoonist.
  • Mary Kerr, production designer for the 1994 Commonwealth Games opening and closing ceremony.
  • Don VandenBerg internationally acclaimed astrophysicist for his work on modelling stars.
  • Julio Navarro (astrophysicist) involved in formulating a density profile for dark matter halos.
  • Benjamin Butterfield, internationally acclaimed operatic tenor.

Notable alumni

The university counts over 88,000 alumni. Some notable alumni follow.

Government/Public sector

Entertainment and Arts sector

Athletes/Sports sector

  • Kirsten Barnes, two-time Olympic gold medalist in rowing (Barcelona, 1992)[18]
  • Gareth Rees, CEO for Rugby Canada and Canada's all-time leading goal scorer in Rugby
  • Kyle Hamilton, gold medalist at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the men's eights (rowing)
  • Ken Shields, former basketball head coach of Canadian National Team.
  • Alison Sydor, world mountain bike champion who won three world mountain bike championships gold medals (was awarded the Velma Springstead Trophy as Canada's top female athlete in 1995 and 1996)
  • Stephanie Dixon, swimmer, gold medalist in Paralympic Games Athena 2004 and Sydney 2000, other numerous medals in the Parapanamerican Games
  • Ryan Cochrane, 2008 Olympic bronze in the men’s 1500m freestyle.

Business sector

  • Stewart Butterfield, Canadian-born entrepreneur and businessman, co-founded the photo sharing website Flickr and its parent company Ludicorp.
  • Jeff Mallett, former president and chief operating officer of Yahoo
  • Peter Ciceri, former vice-president of Compaq Computer Corporation,U.S.A [19]
  • Richard Flury, former chief executive of BP. [20]
  • Mark Hill, co-founder and former Vice-President of WestJet.[21]
  • Bob Cummings, Executive Vice-President - Guest Experience and Marketing of WestJet. [22]
  • Tim Price, chair and director of Trilon Financial Corporation. [23]
  • Sheridan Scott, former head of Competition Bureau of Canada and a vice-president of Bell Canada.

Student affairs

  • The Martlet - The UVic weekly student newspaper, which is distributed all over campus, and the Victoria area. The Martlet is partly funded by student fees, and is online at [24].
  • CFUV - A campus/community radio station serving Greater Victoria at 101.9 and, via cable on 104.3, Vancouver Island and many areas in the lower mainland and North Western Washington State. The station also has a large international listernership on the internet at [25].


The asteroid 150145 UVic was named in the university's honour on 1 June 2007 the first university in BC to have an asteroid named after it. [26]

See also


External links

Coordinates: 48°27′48″N 123°18′42″W / 48.463325°N 123.311751°W / 48.463325; -123.311751


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