St. Thomas University At Night

St. Thomas University At Night

St. Thomas University (STU) is jointly a public and Roman Catholic liberal arts university located in Fredericton. It offers degrees exclusively at the undergraduate level for approximately 2,500 students in the liberal arts, humanities, journalism, education, and social work.

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St. Thomas University traces its roots back to 1860 when St Michael’s Academy was established by James Rogers, the newly instated Bishop of Chatham. Following Rogers, Bishop Thomas F. Barry, his successor, enlisted the Basilian Fathers from Toronto to take over St Michael’s, an institution in Chatham, New Brunswick, offering secondary and junior college education for boys. The Basilians, in 1910, agreed to this proposal on the condition of renaming the academy to St Thomas College to avert any confusion with their own St Michael’s College in Toronto. The Bishop of Chatham maintained his position as the college’s chancellor.

The Basilian Fathers remained in charge of St. Thomas until 1923. Then Bishop Patrice Chiasson, an Acadian who had taken over from Bishop Barry in 1920 as the Bishop of Chatham, managed to keep the college running with the assistance of several priests. From 1910 to 1934, St. Thomas College retained its status as a High School and Junior College. On March 9, 1934, the college transitioned into a degree-awarding institution following the receipt of a University Charter. Consequently, the New Brunswick provincial legislature proclaimed:

“St. Thomas College is hereby recognized as a University, equipped with all the powers of such an institution. The Board of Governors thereof shall possess full authority to confer Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in the various arts and faculties upon suitably qualified individuals, in accordance with the conditions set by the Board of Governors.”

In 1938, Chiasson moved the See of the Diocese from the English-speaking Chatham to the French-speaking Bathurst, with Vatican’s approval. This caused significant worry among the supporters of St Thomas in Chatham. After six years of confidential discussions in 1959, the largely English-speaking segment of Northumberland County, including Chatham and St. Thomas College, was shifted from the Diocese of Bathurst to the Diocese of Saint John. This made Alfred Leverman, Bishop of Saint John since 1953, the new chancellor of St. Thomas.

In 1953, St Thomas conferred its first honorary degree upon Lord Beaverbrook, a staunch supporter of the college. That same year, his lordship was made an honorary member of the graduating class of St Thomas.

An act of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick in 1960 renamed St. Thomas College to St. Thomas University to denote its expanded departments. The following year, high school courses were phased out from the curriculum.

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