Joel Schlesinger © Postmedia Network Inc.
St. Mary’s University may be one of Canada’s smaller universities. But it’s also arguably among the mightiest, with an outsized impact on its graduates’ lives, the communities in which they live and work and the broader world.
Amid implementing a strategic plan over the next five years, St. Mary’s University aims not only to grow its campus and enrolment, but also its impact.
“We have set our sights on becoming Canada’s preeminent Catholic university,” says Dr. Sinda Vanderpool, president and vice-chancellor of St. Mary’s University.
“We want to be known as a centre of academic excellence, providing a vibrant student experience, preparing future leaders committed to the betterment of their communities.”
Located on 14.1 hectares bordering Fish Creek Provincial Park in southeast Calgary, and currently home to about 1,000 students, St. Mary’s plans to add new facilities — from classrooms to offices — while boosting enrolment to 1,500 students per year.
St. Mary’s is indeed ‘small, but mighty’ as Vanderpool and others at the university describe it, but even in Calgary, until now, St. Mary’s University has been one of the city’s best-kept secrets. St. Mary’s has prepared sought-after teachers, entrepreneurs, lawyers and health-care professionals for decades now.
“We believe we could be a good fit for a lot of learners in the city,” she says. “We want to put St. Mary’s more at the forefront of the broader community in order to elevate and enrich our vibrant city.”
That will include the addition of new initiatives to already popular ones such as the Inspiration Unplugged lecture series, which highlights guest speakers from Calgary and beyond. The lecture series will culminate with Mary’s Festival on June 1, an event featuring live music, a disc golf tournament and other family fun that is open to all Calgarians.
The school’s growing educational programs are equally community-minded.
Vanderpool points to its expanding psychology program as one example. “Given the current need for mental-health services, we intend to expand our psychology offerings as a second centre of excellence, the first being our renowned Bachelor of Education program.”
Growth aside, St. Mary’s will always retain its close-knit atmosphere that makes it such a great place to learn, Vanderpool adds.
“We want to remain small as far as universities go so that we still provide students with robust, holistic care, creating graduates who will have a positive impact on the lives of others.”
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Calgary Economic Development.