Dalhousie University

Dalhousie University (commonly known as Dal) is a public research university in Nova Scotia, Canada, with three campuses in Halifax, a fourth in Bible Hill, and medical teaching facilities in Saint John, New Brunswick. Dalhousie offers more than 4,000 courses, and 180 degree programs in twelve undergraduate, graduate, and professional faculties.[6] The university is a member of the U15, a group of research-intensive universities in Canada.

Dalhousie University
Latin: Universitas Dalhousiana
Former names
Dalhousie College
The Governors of Dalhousie College and University
MottoOra et Labora  (Latin)
On seal: Doctrina vim promovet insitam  (Latin)
Motto in English
Pray and work
On seal: Teaching promotes innate ability
TypePublic university
Established1818 (1818)
Endowment$481.4 million[1]
ChancellorAnne McLellan
PresidentDeep Saini[2][3]
Academic staff
  • 867 full-time
  • 274 clinical dentistry & medicine
  • 826 part-time
Students20,380 [4]
Location, ,
44°38′13″N 63°35′30″W
  • Studley campus, 79 acres (32 ha)
  • Agricultural Campus, 151 acres (61 ha)
ColoursGold, slate grey, black[5]
  • ACU
  • AUCC
  • CARL
  • CBIE
  • IAU
  • U15
  • U Sports, (AUS, RSEQ)
    22 varsity teams
    8 varsity teams

Dalhousie was established as a nonsectarian college in 1818 by the eponymous Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, George Ramsay, 9th Earl of Dalhousie. The college did not hold its first class until 1838, until then operating sporadically due to financial difficulties. It reopened for a third time in 1863 following a reorganization that brought a change of name to "The Governors of Dalhousie College and University". The university formally changed its name to "Dalhousie University" in 1997 through the same provincial legislation that merged the institution with the Technical University of Nova Scotia.

There are currently two student unions that represent student interests at the university: the Dalhousie Student Union and the Dalhousie Association for Graduate Students. Dalhousie's varsity teams, the Tigers, compete in the Atlantic University Sport conference of Canadian Interuniversity Sport. Dalhousie's Faculty of Agriculture varsity teams are called the Dalhousie Rams, and compete in the ACAA and CCAA. Dalhousie is a coeducational university with more than 18,000 students and 130,000 alumni around the world. The university's notable alumni include a Nobel Prize winner, 91 Rhodes Scholars, and a range of senior government officials, academics, and business leaders.


Dalhousie was founded as the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia George Ramsay, 9th Earl of Dalhousie desired a non-denominational college in Halifax.[7] Financing largely came from customs duties collected by a previous Lieutenant Governor, John Coape Sherbrooke, during the War of 1812 occupation of Castine, Maine;[lower-alpha 3] Sherbrooke invested GBP£7,000 as an initial endowment and reserved £3,000 for the physical construction of the college.[8] The college was established in 1818, though it faltered shortly after as Ramsay left Halifax to serve as the Governor General of British North America.[9] The school was structured upon the principles of the University of Edinburgh, where lectures were open to all, regardless of religion or nationality. The University of Edinburgh was located near Ramsay's home in Scotland.[10]

In 1821 Dalhousie College was officially incorporated by the Nova Scotia House of Assembly under the 1821 Act of Incorporation.[11] The college did not hold its first class until 1838; operation of the college was intermittent and no degrees were awarded.[9] In 1841 an Act of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly conferred university powers on Dalhousie.[12]

In 1863 the college opened for a third time and was reorganized by another legislative act, which added "University" to the school's name: "The Governors of Dalhousie College and University".[13][14] Dalhousie reopened with six professors and one tutor. When it awarded its first degrees in 1866 the student body consisted of 28 students working toward degrees and 28 occasional students.[9]

The original Dalhousie College building in 1871. The university was situated at the Grand Parade until it moved in 1886.

Despite the reorganization and an increase in students, money continued to be a problem for the institution. In 1879, amid talks of closure due to the university's dire financial situation, George Munro, a wealthy New York publisher with Nova Scotian roots, began to donate to the university; Munro was brother-in-law to Dalhousie's Board of Governors member John Forrest. As such, Munro is credited with rescuing Dalhousie from closure. In honour of his contributions, Dalhousie observes a university holiday called George Munro Day on the first Friday of each February.[15] The first female graduate was Margaret Florence Newcombe from Grafton, Nova Scotia, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1885.[16]

Originally located at the space now occupied by Halifax City Hall, the college moved in 1886 to Carleton Campus and spread gradually to Studley Campus.[9] Dalhousie grew steadily during the 20th century. From 1889 to 1962 the Halifax Conservatory was affiliated with and awarded degrees through Dalhousie.[17] In 1920 several buildings were destroyed by fire on the campus of the University of King's College in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Through a grant from the Carnegie Foundation, King's College relocated to Halifax and entered into a partnership with Dalhousie that continues to this day.[18]

Dalhousie expanded on 1 April 1997 when provincial legislation mandated an amalgamation with the nearby Technical University of Nova Scotia. This merger saw reorganization of faculties and departments to create the Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Computer Science and the Faculty of Architecture and Planning.[19] From 1997 to 2000, the Technical University of Nova Scotia operated as a constituent college of Dalhousie called Dalhousie Polytechnic of Nova Scotia (DalTech) until the collegiate system was dissolved.[20] The legislation that merged the two schools also formally changed the name of the institution to its present form, Dalhousie University.[21] On 1 September 2012 the Nova Scotia Agricultural College merged into Dalhousie to form a new Faculty of Agriculture, located in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia.[22][23]


The Faculty of Architecture and Planning building is located at Sexton Campus. Sexton was the former campus of the Technical University of Nova Scotia before its merger with Dalhousie in 1997.

Dalhousie has three campuses within the Halifax Peninsula and a fourth, the Agricultural Campus, in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia.[7]

Studley Campus in Halifax serves as the primary campus; it houses the majority of the university's academic buildings such as faculties, athletic facilities, and the university's Student Union Building.[24] The campus is largely surrounded by residential neighbourhoods.

Robie Street divides it from the adjacent Carleton Campus, which houses the faculties of dentistry, medicine, and other health profession departments. The campus is adjacent to two large teaching hospitals affiliated with the school: the IWK Health Centre and the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre.[24]

Sexton Campus in Downtown Halifax hosts the engineering, architecture and planning faculties. Sexton Campus served as the campus of the Technical University of Nova Scotia prior to amalgamation.[24] The Agricultural Campus in Bible Hill, a suburban community of Truro, served as the campus for the Nova Scotia Agricultural College prior to its merger with Dalhousie in 2011.[25] The university presently operates the largest academic library system in Atlantic Canada, and hosts the headquarters for the Ocean Tracking Network.

The buildings at Dalhousie vary in age from Hart House, which was completed in 1864, to the Collaborative Health Education Building, completed in 2015.[26][27] The original building of Dalhousie University was completed in 1824 on Halifax's Grand Parade.[28] It was demolished in 1885 when the university outgrew the premises, and the City of Halifax sought possession of the entire Grand Parade. Halifax City Hall presently occupies the site of the original Dalhousie College.[28]

Libraries and museums

The university has five libraries. The largest, Killam Memorial Library, opened in 1971. It is the largest academic library in Atlantic Canada with over one million books and 40,000 journals.

The first library, named for Charles MacDonald, a former professor at the university

The library's collection largely serves the faculties of arts and social sciences, sciences, management, and computer science.[29] The W. K. Kellogg Health Science Library provides services largely for the faculties of dentistry, medicine, and other health professions.[30] The Sexton Design & Technology Library is located within Sexton Campus. Its collection largely serves those in the faculties of engineering, architecture and planning, and houses the university's rare books collection.[31] The Sir James Dunn Law Library holds the university's collection of common law materials, legal periodicals, as well as books on international law, health law, and environmental law.[32] MacRae Library is located at the university's Agricultural Campus, and has the largest collection of agricultural resource material in Atlantic Canada.[33] The Dalhousie University Archives houses official records of, or relating to, or people/activities connected with Dalhousie University and its founding institutions. The archives also houses material related to theatre, business and labour in Nova Scotia. The collection consists of manuscripts, texts, photographs, audio-visual material, microfilm, music, and artifacts. [34] The university's first library, Macdonald Memorial Library, was built after alumni raised funds on the death of professor Charles Macdonald, who had left the university $2,000 to buy books in English literature on his death in 1901.[35]

The biology department operates the Thomas McCulloch Museum in Pictou, Nova Scotia. The most notable of the museum's exhibits include its preserved birds collection. Other collections include its Lorenzen ceramic mushrooms, its coral and shell collection, and its butterfly and insect collection.[36] The museum's namesake Thomas McCulloch was a Scottish Presbyterian minister who served as Dalhousie's first president and created the Audubon mounted bird collection which is now housed at the museum.[37]

The Dalhousie Art Gallery is both a public gallery and an academic support unit housed since 1971 on the lowest level of the Dalhousie Arts Centre. Admission is free of charge. It is host to a permanent collection of over 1000 works.[38] Some of the outdoor sculptures around the campus are part of this collection, such as the distinctive Marine Venus which has sat in the median of University Avenue since 1969.[39] A notable exhibition from the Dalhousie Art Gallery includes "Archives of the Future" (March – April 2016) exploring the relationship between art creation and commerce with work by artists Zachary Gough, Dawn Georg, Sharlene Bamboat, Katie Vida and Dana Claxton.[40]

Housing and student facilities

LeMarchant Place is one of the newest residence buildings at Dalhousie University

The university has ten student residences throughout its Halifax campuses: Gerard Hall, Howe Hall, LeMarchant Place, Mini Rez, O'Brien Hall, Residence Houses, Risley Hall, Shirreff Hall, Glengary Apartments, and Graduate House.[41] The largest, Howe Hall in Studley Campus, houses 716 students during the academic year. Howe Hall's most recent addition to the residence is called Fountain. It is the only residence in Howe Hall to have a sink in every room.[42] The university also operates three residences in its Agricultural Campus: Chapman House, Fraser House, and Truman House. The largest residence in the Agricultural Campus is Chapman House, housing 125 students during the academic year.[43] The residences are represented by a Residence Council responsible for resident concerns, providing entertainment services, organizing events, and upholding rules and regulations.[44]

The Student Union Building serves as the main student activity centre. Completed in 1968, it is located in the Studley Campus. The Student Union building hosts a number of student societies and organization offices, most notably the Dalhousie Student Union.[24][45] The building houses five restaurants, both independently owned and international franchises such as Tim Hortons.[46]


Dalhousie University is actively involved in sustainability issues and has received a number of sustainability awards and recognition for academic programs, university operations, and research. In 2018, Dalhousie received a GOLD rating from AASHE STARS (Version 2.1).[47] In 2009, the university signed the University and College Presidents' Climate Change Statement of Action for Canada to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.[48] Dalhousie is also a signatory of UNEP's International Declaration on Cleaner Production.[49] In 1999, the university signed the Talloires Declaration, which committed Dalhousie and other higher education institutions to developing, creating, supporting, and maintaining sustainability.[49]

In 2008, the College of Sustainability,[50] the Office of Sustainability,[51] and the Dalhousie Student Union Sustainability Office[52] were formed. During 2008, the President's Advisory Council on Sustainability was also created. The council meets quarterly to discuss pan-university sustainability issues. Dalhousie's international award-winning College of Sustainability offers an undergraduate Major in Environment, Sustainability and Society (ESS) integrating with seven bachelor's degrees and forty subjects across five faculties. The College of Sustainability offers a virtual and a physical space for the intersection of interdisciplinary collaboration, conversation, and teaching with a core of cross-appointed Dalhousie faculty members joined by visiting fellows, distinguished guest lecturers, community leaders, and environmental advocates. In addition, the Sustainability Leadership Certificate program offers students the opportunity to participate in an engaged exploration of personal and group leadership and empowers their sense of personal agency to address environmental and social change.

The Office of Sustainability spearheads a number of campus sustainability plans and policies including the Climate Change Plan, Natural Environment Plan, and Green Building policy. A number of initiatives have been developed and implemented with campus partners including numerous energy and water retrofits, residence Eco-Olympics competition, an Employee Sustainability Leadership Program, and an Employee Bus Pass. The Dalhousie Student Union Sustainability Office promotes awareness and behaviour change. DSUSO hosts "Green Week," the "Green Gala" and the "Greenie Awards" to celebrate campus accomplishments on sustainability. A number of student societies are also active in sustainability issues from on-campus gardening and food security to environmental law.


Henry Hicks Academic Administration Building is located at Dalhousie's Studley Campus, and houses many of Dalhousie's administrative offices.

University governance is conducted through the Board of Governors and the Senate, both of which were given much of their present power in the Unofficial Consolidation of an Act for the Regulation and Support of Dalhousie College in Chapter 24 of the Acts of 1863. This statute replaced ones from 1820, 1823, 1838, 1841 and 1848, and has since been supplemented 11 times, most recently in 1995.[14] The Board is responsible for conduct, management, and control of the university and of its property, revenues, business, and affairs. Board members, known as Governors of the Board, include the university's chancellor, president, and 25 other members. Members include people from within the university community such as four approved representatives from Dalhousie Student Union, and those in the surrounding community, such as the Mayor of Halifax.[14] The Senate is responsible for the university's academics, including standards for admission and qualifications for degrees, diplomas, and certificates.[14] The Senate consists of 73 positions granted to the various faculty representatives, academic administrators, and student representatives.[53]

The president acts as the chief executive officer and is responsible to the Board of Governors and to the Senate for the supervision of administrative and academic works. Deep Saini is the 12th president of the university, and has served since January 2020.[54] Thomas McCulloch served as the first president when the office was created in 1838. John Forrest was the longest-serving president, holding the office from 1885 to 1911.[55]

Affiliated institutions

The campus of University of King's College, located adjacent to Dalhousie's Studley campus. The institution has been affiliated with Dalhousie since the 1920s.

University of King's College is a post-secondary institution in Halifax affiliated with Dalhousie. The institution's campus is located adjacent to Dalhousie's Studley campus. Established in 1789, it was the first post-secondary institution in English Canada and the oldest English-speaking Commonwealth university outside the United Kingdom.[18] The University of King's College was formerly an independent institution located in Windsor, Nova Scotia, until 1920, when a fire ravaged its campus. To continue operation, the University of King's College accepted a generous grant from the Carnegie Foundation, although the terms of the grant required that it move to Halifax and enter into association with Dalhousie.[18] Under the agreement, King's agreed to pay the salaries of a number of Dalhousie professors, who in turn were to help in the management and academic life of the college.

Students at King's have access to all of the amenities at Dalhousie, and academic programs at King's would fold into the College of Arts and Sciences at Dalhousie according to the agreement.[18] Presently, students of both institutions are allowed to switch between the two throughout their enrolment. In spite of the shared academic programs and facilities, the University of King's College maintains its own scholarships, bursaries, athletics programs, and student residences.[56]


The university completed the 2017–18 year with revenues of $697.354 million and expenses of $664.274 million, yielding a surplus of $33.08 million.[57] The largest source of revenue for the university was provincial operational grants, followed by tuition fees. The total endowment revenue reported in fiscal 2017-2018 was $481.372 million.[58]


The university has attempted to increase the representation of under-represented groups at Dalhousie through inclusive recruitment strategies. [59] The university has been criticized for openly restricting straight white men from applying from some teaching positions.[60]


Dalhousie is a publicly funded research university, and a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, as well as the U15, a group of Canadian research-intensive universities.[61][62] As of 2011, there were 18,220 students enrolled at the university and 3,700 courses in over 190-degree programs.[63][64] Dalhousie offers more than 3,700 courses and 190-degree programs in twelve undergraduate, graduate, and professional faculties.[65] The requirements for admission differ between students from Nova Scotia, students from other provinces in Canada, and international students due to lack of uniformity in marking schemes. The requirements for admission also differ depending on the program. In 2011, the secondary school average for incoming first-year undergraduate students was 85 percent.[63]

Canadian students may apply for financial aid such as the Nova Scotia Student Assistance Program and Canada Student Loans and Grants through the federal and provincial governments. Financial aid may also be provided in the form of loans, grants, bursaries, scholarships, fellowships, debt reduction, interest relief, and work programs.[66] The university's registrar provides scholarships for its students in order to provide financial assistance, or to reward academic merits or performances in another fields, such as community involvement and leadership.[66] The value of the scholarships ranges C$380 to $30,400. The university also provides bursaries valued between $152 to $456 for students in need of financial assistance. Dalhousie University offers $3 to $6 million in bursary funding for both domestic and international undergraduate students.


University rankings
Global rankings
ARWU World[67]201–300
QS World[68]272
Times World[69]251–300
Times Employability[70]200–250
U.S News & World Report Global[71]325
Canadian rankings
ARWU National[67]10–12
QS National[68]12
Times National[69]11–14
U.S News & World Report National[71]13
Maclean's Medical/Doctoral[72]7

The 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked Dalhousie University 201–300 in the world and 10–12 in Canada.[67] The 2022 QS World University Rankings ranked the university 272nd in the world, and twelfth in Canada.[68] The 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed Dalhousie 251–300 in the world.[69] In the 2021 U.S. News & World Report Best Global University Ranking, the university placed 322nd in the world, and 14th in Canada.[71] In terms of national rankings, Maclean's ranked Dalhousie seventh in their 2021 Medical Doctoral university rankings.[72] Dalhousie was ranked in spite of having opted out – along with several other universities in Canada – of participating in Maclean's graduate survey since 2006.[73]

Dalhousie also placed in a number of rankings that evaluated the employment prospects of its graduates. In the Times Higher Education's 2018 global employability ranking, Dalhousie placed 200–250 in the world, tied for eighth in Canada.[70] In QS's 2019 graduate employability ranking, the university ranked 301–500 in the world, or 9–17 in Canada.[74]


Dalhousie University is a member of the U15, a group that represents 15 Canadian research universities. In 2018, Research Infosource ranked Dalhousie as 15th on their list for top 50 research universities in Canada, with a sponsored research income (external sources of funding) of $150.038 million in 2017.[75] In the same year, Dalhousie's faculty averaged a sponsored research income of $130,000, while its graduate students averaged a sponsored research income of $44,600.[75] In 2003 and 2004, The Scientist placed Dalhousie among the top five places in the world outside the United States for postdoctoral work and conducting scientific research.[76] In 2007 Dalhousie topped the list of The Scientist's "Best Places to Work in Academia". The annual list divides research and academic institutions into American and international lists; Dalhousie University ranked first in the international category.[77] According to a survey conducted by The Scientist, Dalhousie was the best non-commercial scientific institute in which to work in Canada.[78]

The Marine & Environmental Law Institute is housed at the university's Weldon Law Building. Conducting research and consultancy activities, it is one of several research institutes operated by the university.

Dalhousie's research performance has been noted several bibliometric university rankings, which uses citation analysis to evaluates the impact a university has on academic publications. In 2019, the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities ranked Dalhousie 301st in the world, tied for 12th in Canada with the University of Manitoba;[79] whereas the University Ranking by Academic Performance 2018–19 rankings placed the university 302nd in the world, and 13th in Canada.[80]

Marine research at Dalhousie has become a large focus of the university, with many of the university's faculty members involved in some form of marine research.[81] Notably, Dalhousie is the headquarters of the Ocean Tracking Network, a research effort using implanted acoustic transmitters to study fish migration patterns.[82] Dalhousie houses a number of marine research pools, a wet laboratory, and a benthic flume, which are collectively known as the Aquatron laboratory.[83] Dalhousie is one of the founding members of the Halifax Marine Research Institute, founded on 2 June 2011. The institute, which is a partnership between a number of private industries, government, and post-secondary institutions, was designed to help increase the scale, quality, internationalization and impact of marine research in the region.[84] In 2011, the university, along with WWF-Canada, created the Conservation Legacy For Oceans, which aimed at providing scholarships, funding, curriculum development, and work placements for students and academics dedicated to marine research, law, management, and policy making.[85]

Many of Dalhousie's faculties and departments focus on marine research. The Faculty of Engineering operates the Ocean Research Centre Atlantic, which is dedicated to research and tests in naval and off-shore engineering.[86] Schulich School of Law also operates the Marine & Environmental Law Institute, which carries out research and conducts consultancy activities for governmental and non-governmental organizations.[87] The school's Department of Political Science similarly operates the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, which is primarily concerned with the fields of Canadian and American foreign, security, and defence policy, including maritime security policy.[88]

Student life

The Student Union Building is a hub of student extracurricular and social life on campus. It houses a number of student organizations and clubs including Dalhousie Student Union.

The student body of Dalhousie is currently represented by two student unions; the Dalhousie Student Union, which represents the general student population, and the Dalhousie Association for Graduate Students, which represents the interests of graduate students specifically.[89][90] Dalhousie Student Union began as the Dalhousie Student Government in 1863, and was renamed the University Student Council before taking its present name.[91] The student union recognizes more than 100 student organizations and societies.[92] The organizations and clubs accredited at Dalhousie cover a wide range of interests including academics, culture, religion, social issues, and recreation. Accredited extracurricular organizations at the university fall under the jurisdiction of the Dalhousie Student Union, and must conform to its by-laws.[93] As of 2011, there were three sororities (Omega Pi, Iota Beta Chi, and Alpha Gamma Delta) and three fraternities (Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Chi, and Phi Kappa Pi).[94] They operate as non-accredited organizations and are not recognized by the Dalhousie Student Union.[95]

The university's student population operates a number of media outlets. The main student newspaper, The Dalhousie Gazette, claims to be the oldest student-run newspaper in North America.[96] It is published Thursdays, and is distributed to over 100 locations around the Halifax area. The newspaper's offices are in the Student Union building.[96] Dalhousie's student population runs a radio station which began as a radio club in 1964, and began to broadcast and operate as CKDU in 1975; it began FM frequency broadcasting in 1985. CKDU acquired its present frequency 88.1 in 2006 alongside an upgrading of its transmitting power.[97]

Clubs and societies

In addition to the efforts made by the Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) Council,[98] Dalhousie students have created and participated in over 320 clubs/societies.[99] The Management Society, for example, is a group of students in the Faculty of Management who group together to enhance the experience of students in that faculty by hosting events, providing assistance and giving back. Until 25 July 2016, Dalhousie offered a website named "Tiger Society" which listed all current clubs and societies that were available for students to join. Through this website, students could request to join a society.[100] Dalhousie also holds a Society Fair at the beginning of each fall and winter semester, in which all societies are given the opportunity to display their purpose/efforts and recruit new members.[101] Student societies partake in a range of activities from simple gatherings, study groups, bake sales, intramural sports teams, to organizing larger scale fundraising events.[102]


Dalplex is the largest fitness and recreational centre operated by the university.

Dalhousie's sports teams are called the Tigers. The Tigers varsity teams participate primarily in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) of U Sports. There are teams for basketball, hockey, soccer, swimming, track and field, cross country running, and volleyball. The Tigers garnered a number of championships in the first decade of the 20th century, winning 63 AUS championships and two U Sports championships.[103] More than 2,500 students participate in competitive clubs, intramural sport leagues, and tournaments. Opportunities are offered at multiple skill levels across a variety of sports. Dalhousie has six competitive sports clubs and 17 recreational clubs.[104][105] Dalhousie's Agricultural Campus operates its own varsity team, called the Dalhousie Rams. The Rams varsity team participates in the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association, a member of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association. The Rams varsity teams include badminton, basketball, rugby, soccer, volleyball, and woodsmen.[106]

Dalhousie has a number of athletic facilities open to varsity teams and students. Dalplex is the largest main fitness and recreational facility. It houses a large fieldhouse, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, an indoor running track, weight rooms, courts and other facilities.[107] Wickwire Field, with a seating capacity of up to 1,200, is the university's main outdoor field and is host to the varsity football, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and rugby teams.[108] Other sporting facilities include the Studley Gymnasium, and the Sexton Gymnasium and field.[109] The Memorial Arena, home to the varsity hockey team, was demolished in 2012. The school is working to build a new arena jointly with nearby Saint Mary's University, whose facility is also aging.[110] The Agricultural Campus has one athletic facility, the Langille Athletic Centre.[111]

The Sexton Gymnasium is one of five athletic facilities operated by the university.

As of 2010, through the efforts of alumni and devoted volunteers, the Dalhousie Football Club was reinstated. Playing in the Atlantic Football League (AFL), the team operates on donations and registration from its players. The team plays its home games at Wickwire Field. Additionally, the university boasts the first quidditch team in Atlantic Canada. As of 2014, the Dalhousie Tigers Quidditch varsity club is the top-ranked team in the area and, though still developing, is showing great promise for regional and national bids in the future.

Insignia and other representations


The Dalhousie seal is based on the heraldic achievement of the Clan Ramsay of Scotland, of which founder George Ramsay was clan head. The heraldic achievement consists of five parts: shield, coronet, crest, supporters, and motto. One major difference between the Ramsay coat of arms and the university seal is that the Ramsay seal features a griffin and greyhound, and the Dalhousie seal has two dragons supporting the eagle-adorned shield.[112] Initially, the Ramsay coat of arms was used to identify Dalhousie, but the seal has evolved with the amalgamations the university has undergone.[113] The seal was originally silver-coloured, but in 1950, the university's Board of Governors changed it to gold to match the university's colours, gold and black. These colours were adopted in 1887, after the rugby team led the debate about college colours for football jerseys.[114] The shield and eagle of Dalhousie's seal have been used as the logo since 1987, with the present incarnation in use since 2003, which includes the tagline "inspiring minds".[112]

Motto and song

The university motto Ora et Labora translates from Latin as "pray and work"; it adopted in 1870 from the Earl of Dalhousie's motto to replace the university's original one, which the administration believed did not convey confidence.[115] The original motto was Forsan, which translates as Perhaps, and first appeared in the first Dalhousie Gazette of 1869. It was from Virgil's epic poem Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit, which translates as "Perhaps the time may come when these difficulties will be sweet to remember". In 2020, a notable movement was started among the student government to restore the original motto. Students and staff representatives sought to remove to inherently religious tone of the current motto.[114]

A number of songs are commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement, convocation, and athletic contests, including "Carmina Dalhousiana", written in Halifax in 1882. The Dalhousie University songbook was compiled by Charles B. Weikel in 1904.[116]

Notable alumni

Dalhousie graduates have found success in a variety of fields, serving as heads of a diverse array of public and private institutions. Dalhousie University has over 130,000 alumni. Throughout Dalhousie's history, faculty, alumni, and former students have played prominent roles in many fields, and include 91 Rhodes Scholars.[117]

Dalhousie has also educated Nobel laureates. Astrophysicist and Dalhousie alumni Arthur B. McDonald (BSc 1964, MSc 1965) received the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for identifying neutrino change identities and mass.[118] McDonald was also previously awarded the Herzberg Prize and the Benjamin Franklin Prize in physics. Other notable graduates of Dalhousie includes Donald O. Hebb, who helped advance the field of neuropsychology,[119] Kathryn D. Sullivan, the first American woman to walk in space[120] and Jeff Dahn, one of the world's foremost researchers in lithium battery chemistry and aging.

Notable politicians who have attended Dalhousie include three Prime Ministers of Canada, R. B. Bennett, Joe Clark, and Brian Mulroney.[121][122][123] Eight graduates have served as Lieutenant Governors: John Crosbie,[124] Myra Freeman,[125] Clarence Gosse,[126] John Keiller MacKay,[127] Henry Poole MacKeen,[125] John Robert Nicholson,[128] Fabian O'Dea,[129] and Albert Walsh.[130] Twelve graduates have served as provincial premiers: Allan Blakeney,[131] John Buchanan,[132] Alex Campbell,[133] Amor De Cosmos,[134] Darrell Dexter,[135] Joe Ghiz,[136] John Hamm,[137] Angus Lewis Macdonald,[138] Russell MacLellan,[139] Gerald Regan,[140][141] Robert Stanfield,[141][142] Clyde Wells,[143] and Danny Williams.[144] The first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada, Bertha Wilson, was a graduate from Dalhousie Law School.[145]

Other notable alumni from the Dalhousie include Lucy Maud Montgomery, an author that wrote a series of novels, including Anne of Green Gables.[146] Prominent business leaders who studied at Dalhousie include Jamie Baillie, former CEO of Credit Union Atlantic,[147] Graham Day, former CEO of British Shipbuilders,[148] Sean Durfy, former CEO of WestJet,[149] and Charles Peter McColough, former president and CEO of Xerox.[150]

See also

  • Dalhousie Arts Centre
  • Fenwick Place
  • Fraternities and sororities at Dalhousie University


  1. Three of the university's campuses are located within Halifax. However, the institution's faculty of agriculture also maintains a campus in Truro, Nova Scotia.
  2. Rams is used to refer to athletic teams based at the agricultural campus in Bible Hill
  3. The British named the colony New Ireland.


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