Brandon University

Brandon University is a university located in the city of Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, with an enrollment of 3375 (2020) full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students.[2] The current location was founded on July 13, 1899, as Brandon College as a Baptist institution. It was chartered as a university by then President John E. Robbins on June 5, 1967. The enabling legislation is the Brandon University Act.[3] Brandon University is one of several predominantly undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institutions in Canada.[4]

Brandon University
2014 Brandon University vertical logo in RGB.svg
MottoAletheuontes de en Agape "Speaking the truth in love"
Academic affiliations
AUCC, IAU, ACU, CUSID, Campus Manitoba, CUP.
EndowmentC$34 million[1]
ChancellorMary Jane McCallum
PresidentDavid Docherty
Undergraduates2975[2] (2020)
Postgraduates400[2] (2020)
Location, ,
Colours   Blue & gold
NicknameBrandon Bobcats
Sporting affiliations
U Sports
MascotBailey the Bobcat

The university is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), the Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate (CUSID) and a member of U Sports. Brandon University has a student to faculty ratio of 11 to 1 and sixty percent of all classes have fewer than 20 students.[4] In the 2015 Macleans rankings of primarily undergraduate universities in Canada, Brandon University was ranked 16th out of 19 overall[5] and #1 in the student to faculty ratio category[5] The school of music is rated one of the best in Canada.[4] The university press, The Quill, is a member of CUP.


The first Baptist missionaries arrived in southwestern Manitoba in 1869. Settlers began to arrive soon after. In 1880, John Crawford and G. B. Davis founded Prairie College in Rapid City, but the college did not survive. Davis then founded a small academy in Rapid City; this was later taken over by his brother-in-law, S. J. McKee, and moved to Brandon in 1890.

Brandon CollegeEdit

Brandon College was established in Brandon in 1890 by the Baptist Union of Western Canada, and was affiliated with McMaster University.[6] In 1898 Toronto industrialist William Davies, along with his sister-in-law, Mrs. Emily Davies, pledged $25,000 towards the establishment of a Baptist College in Brandon. The first principal of the college was A. P. McDiarmid. McKee's Academy, including its building on Rosser Avenue, was merged into the new institution. On July 13, 1900, the cornerstone was laid by Mrs. Davies for the first building of the present campus, at the corner of 18th Street and Lorne Avenue. This and the adjoining Clarke Hall later became Brandon University's administration buildings.

Clark Hall (1905–06) designed by William Alexander Elliott (architect)

Brandon College, built 1900-01 and the adjoining Clark Hall (1905–06) designed by architect William Alexander Elliott,[7] a 3½-storey brick and stone complex are on the Registry of Historic Places of Canada.[8] At this point Brandon College was a liberal arts college, and offered some training in theology, secondary school classes, and a commercial department. A school of music was added in 1906.

The college remained affiliated with McMaster University between 1911 and 1938, and during this time the School of Music granted graduate diplomas in voice and piano.

Class enrollments were reduced during World War I as potential students signed up for military service. More than 200 Brandon College students served in the war; two of these won the Victoria Cross. A platoon from the college joined the Western Universities Battalion in France in 1916.

In 1922 college added a Science Building, and ceased offering commercial courses. Religious studies were integrated into the arts curriculum in 1928. After 1931, the college no longer taught Grade 9, 10 and 11 courses, but Grade 12 Department of Education courses were introduced and continued until 1955.

The Baptist Church ceased financing the institution in 1938 and the college became non-denominational.[9] Funding to keep the college functioning was raised through public subscriptions, by an endowment from A. E. McKenzie, by tax levy from the City of Brandon, and through an annual grant from the government of Manitoba. The college became affiliated with the University of Manitoba; music courses as credit to BA and BSc degrees were offered, and a Bachelor of Science program was implemented in 1939.

The COTC program was revived at the onset of World War II; once again enrolment dropped, as 234 Brandon College students joined Canada's armed forces. New bursaries and scholarships were introduced. At this point, the college had 14 faculty members and about 100 students. During the late 1940s, the social sciences were introduced.

Brandon College began training high school teachers in 1952, and elementary teachers three years later. The first graduates of the new Bachelor of Training program received degrees in 1971.

As part of a national program to expand universities and colleges, in the 1950s Brandon College increased its enrolment and by 1962 the Arts and Library Building, later named the A. E. McKenzie Building, the J. R. C. Evans Lecture Theatre, the steam plant, Darrach Hall (men's residence), and the dining hall were all completed.

In 1963 the college offered the first B.Mus. program in Manitoba, and the Music Building and Flora Cowan Hall (women's residence) were built. The School of Music developed a conservatory departments and offered private tutoring. The Brandon University Gymnasium was opened in 1965.

A Manitoba Historical Plaque was erected in Brandon, Manitoba by the province to commemorate Brandon College's role in Manitoba's heritage.[10]

Brandon UniversityEdit

In 1967 the college attained university status through the Brandon University Act.[3] Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra and the Honourable Angus Ogilvy were present at the presentation of the charter on June 5, 1967, That year The Education Building was opened, and in 1969 the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium was opened. McMaster Hall, a ten-storey co-ed residence, was completed in 1971, along with the Jeff Umphrey Memorial Centre for Mental Retardation, which housed a bookstore, bank, and a day centre as well as the research centre on mental disability.

The J. R. Brodie Science Centre began holding classes in 1971, and was opened officially in May 1972, providing facilities for a number of departments: chemistry, physics, botany, zoology, geology, geography, mathematics and computer science, and psychology. In early 1980, the Master of Music Degree Program was set up and in September 1980, the Applied Program began. A Master of Music (Education) program was implemented in 1981. A new music building, officially named in 1984 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as the "Queen Elizabeth II Music Building", was completed in 1985.

In September 1986, Brandon University began offering classes in the Department of Nursing and Health Studies program, providing 2-Year Post-Diploma Baccalaureate Degrees in Nursing and Mental Health. In 1990, the university also offered a major in Business Administration through the Faculty of Arts. A Masters of Education program was set up in 1990, and in 1991 the college offered a minor in Women's Studies in the Faculty of Arts. In 1993, a minor in Aboriginal Art was approved, and in 1996, the 4-Year Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing initiated.

Between 1994 and 1997 Clark Hall and the Brandon College Building underwent renovation and reconstruction, with the retention of the original façade; these buildings house faculty and administration as well as classes. In 1997, college initiated the School of Health Studies and a 4-Year Bachelor of Business Administration. In 1998, a Masters program in Rural Development and a bachelor's program in First Nations and Aboriginal Counselling were launched.

In 1999, the university celebrated its centennial. To mark the occasion, an excavation of the original Prairie College school site was carried out with the help of community members. The Applied Disaster and Emergency Studies program was initiated in the fall of 2001. The Health Studies Complex was opened in September 2003, to house the School of Health Studies and the First Nations and Aboriginal Counselling program. The complex includes a large round room equipped for holding traditional ceremonies performed by First Nations and Métis students.

By 2002, Brandon University had enrollment of 3,098 and a faculty of 220. The next year the Bachelor of Environmental Science program was implemented and a four-year Creative Arts program and the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program was begun. In September 2005 Brandon University's Rural and Community Studies Program expanded from its existing three-year BA program to include four-year honours, four-year major, and four-year minor Bachelor of Arts degrees.

In September 2008, a 17-day strike of the university's faculty took place.[11] Contract negotiations broke down again in the fall of 2011, and a 45-day strike by university faculty members ensued.[12]

In 2013, the university opened a Healthy Living Centre athletics facility, on the site of the former Kinsmen Memorial Stadium. The centre, which includes an indoor walking track, hosts the Bobcats and provides fitness facilities for students, faculty, staff and the community.[13]

Faculties, schools, departments, and research centresEdit

  • Faculty of Arts
    • Aboriginal and Visual Arts, Anthropology, Business Administration, Drama, Economics, English, Gender and Women's Studies, History, Classical and Modern Languages, Native Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, Rural Development, Sociology
  • Faculty of Education
    • Administration and Educational Services, Curriculum & Instruction: Humanities, Curriculum & Instruction: Math/Science, Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations, Physical Education, Music Education, Graduate Studies
  • Faculty of Graduate Studies
    • Graduate Diploma in Education, Master in Education, Music Graduate Program, Master of Psychiatric Nursing, Master in Rural Development, Graduate Diploma in Rural Development
  • Faculty of Science
    • Applied Disaster & Emergency Studies, Biology (Botany & Zoology discontinued in 2009), Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geography and Environment, Geology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Physics and Astronomy, Psychology
  • Faculty of Health Studies
    • Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing, Mental Health, Indigenous Health and Human Services, First Nations and Aboriginal Counselling
  • School of Music
    • Honours (General Studies), Performance, Education, Jazz Studies, Graduate Studies in Performance, Music Education and Composition
  • Research Centres
    • Rural Development Institute (RDI)
    • Environmental Science Laboratories
    • Micro Analytical Facility
    • Study of Cultural Adaptations in the Prairie Ecozone (SCAPE)
    • Brandon University Centre for Aboriginal and Rural Education (BU CARES)

Degrees and programsEdit


  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
  • Bachelor of Education (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
  • Bachelor of First Nations and Aboriginal Counselling (BFNAC)
  • Bachelor of Music (BMus)
  • Bachelor of Nursing (BN)
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc)
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science (BSES)
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing (BScPN)



  • Graduate Diploma in Rural Development (GRD)
  • Post Diploma in Mental Health (BScMN)


Defunct programsEdit

  • Brandon University Northern Teacher Education Program (BUNTEP)

Student activitiesEdit


The university's sports teams in U Sports are called the Brandon Bobcats. Brandon University competes in basketball (men/women) and volleyball (men/women). Brandon University used to field a men's hockey team in the CIAU, however, that ceased in 2000.

In the 2006–2007 academic year, the Bobcats advanced to the Canadian Basketball Finals. They placed second to Carleton University, in a hard-fought 52–49 game.

In 2016, the Bobcats hosted the CIS National Women's Volleyball Championship.[14]


Music students can join the Brandon University Orchestra.[15]


Brandon University provides services in more remote communities. Aboriginal Elders are present on campus at Brandon University to provide social supports.[16]



  • Chancellor – Mary Jane McCallum[17]
  • President and Vice Chancellor – David Docherty[18]
  • Provost and Vice President (Academic) – Kofi Campbell[19]
  • Vice President (Administration & Finance) – Scott Lamont[20]


  • Arts – Balfour Spence (Acting)
  • Education – Heather Duncan[21]
  • Health Studies – Linda Ross (Acting)
  • Music – Greg Gatien[22]
  • Science – Bernadette Ardelli[23]

Student governanceEdit

Brandon University students are represented by the Brandon University Students' Union (BUSU). BUSU represents undergraduate, graduate, and distance students. BUSU is a member of the Canadian Federation of Students, local 37.

The current BUSU executive is:[24]

  • President – Olufunke Adeleye
  • Vice President Internal – Vacant
  • Vice President External – Similouwa Omoteye

University ChancellorsEdit

University PresidentsEdit

  • David Docherty (2019[25]–present)
  • Steve Robinson (2017–2019)
  • Gervan Fearon (2014–2017)
  • Deborah Poff (2009–2014)
  • Louis Visentin (2000–2009)
  • Dennis Anderson (1990–2000)
  • John Mallea (1985–1990)
  • E. J. Tyler (1984–1985)
  • Harold J. Perkins (1977–1984)
  • Lloyd Dulmage (1970–1977)
  • R. F. B. King (1969–1970, acting-president)
  • John E. Robbins (1967–1969, president Brandon University)
  • John E. Robbins (1960–1967, president Brandon College)
  • H. S. Perdue (1959–1960, acting president)
  • Dr. J. R. C. Evans


Notable alumniEdit

Notable honorary degree recipientsEdit

Alumni Wall of FameEdit


The university joined Project Hero, a scholarship program cofounded by General (Ret'd) Rick Hillier, for the families of fallen Canadian Forces members.[29]

The Government of Canada sponsors an Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool that lists over 680 scholarships, bursaries, and other incentives offered by governments, universities, and industry to support Aboriginal post-secondary participation. Brandon University scholarships for Aboriginal, First Nations and Métis students include: Maria Ross Scholarship; Isabelle Douglas Estate Scholarships; Manitoba Blue Cross George J. Strang Scholarship; Gerdau MRM Steel Inc. Annual Scholarship; Donna and Bill Parrish Scholarship for Aboriginal Students; Scotiabank Scholarships for Aboriginal students in financial need; Manitoba Industry, Economic Development and Mines Bursaries in Geology; First Nations Teacher Education Scholarships; Manitoba Citizens' Bursary Fund for Aboriginal Peoples; Louis Riel Institute Bursaries; Manitoba Hydro Employment Equity Bursary.[30]

See alsoEdit


  • C. G. Stone and F. Joan Garnett. Brandon College: A History, 1899–1967. Brandon: Brandon University, 1969.


  1. ^ 2008 Registered Charity Information Return for Brandon University Foundation, Section E. Financial Information, Canada Revenue Agency, 2008
  2. ^ a b c "Enrolment dips at BU, Assiniboine". The Brandon Sun. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b Brandon University Act
  4. ^ a b c "Study in Manitoba: Brandon University". Government of Manitoba. Archived from the original on April 16, 2015.
  5. ^ a b 2015 Primarily Undergraduate University Ranking, November 6, 2014
  6. ^ William H. Brackney, Congregation and Campus: Baptists in Higher Education, Mercer University Press, USA, 2008, p. 137
  7. ^ "Elliott, William Alexander". Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada 1800-1950. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  8. ^ "Brandon College and Clark Hall Buildings". Canada's Historic Places. Parks Canada. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  9. ^ "Brandon University". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  10. ^ "Brandon College and Clark Hall Buildings, 270 18th Street, Brandon". Government of Manitoba. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  11. ^ "Classes resume at Brandon University after tentative pact reached". CBC News. October 16, 2008. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  12. ^ Skerritt, Jen (November 25, 2011). "Deal reached in Brandon University strike". Winnipeg Free Press.
  13. ^ "Plaque at BU's Healthy Living Centre commemorates Kinsmen Memorial Stadium". Brandon University. August 4, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  14. ^ "U Sports Women's Volleyball National Championship". U Sports Central. 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  15. ^ "Mahlerfest: Multitudes of Mayhem" (PDF). The Quill. November 3, 2015. p. 6.
  16. ^ "The Aboriginal University Education Roundtable, May 24, 2007" (PDF). The University of Winnipeg. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 26, 2008.
  17. ^ "Sen. Mary Jane McCallum becomes 1st Indigenous woman chancellor of Brandon University". CBC. CBC. Retrieved 27 June 2022.
  18. ^ "Brandon University to welcome Dr. David Docherty as new President and Vice-Chancellor". Brandon University. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  19. ^ University, Brandon. "Brandon University names Dr. Kofi Campbell as new Provost & Vice-President (Academic)". Brandon University. Brandon University. Retrieved 27 June 2022.
  20. ^ "Staff Listing Administration and Finance".
  21. ^ "Former Student is New Dean of Education". Brandon University. May 9, 2013. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  22. ^ "Greg Gatien Appointed Dean of University School of Music". Brandon University. May 19, 2016.
  23. ^ "Dr. Bernadette Ardelli appointed Dean of Science at BU". Brandon University. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  24. ^ "Governance team". Brandon University Students' Union. Retrieved 27 June 2022.
  25. ^ Brooks, Bill. "Brooks: MRU administration changes hands". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  26. ^ SJ McKee Archives, RG 6 Brandon University fonds, 10.3.2 Alumni News, 1930–present
  27. ^ University, Brandon. "Brandon University to bestow honorary degree on Paul Martin at Spring Convocation". Brandon University. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  28. ^ University, Brandon. "Hockey coach Andy Murray to receive honorary degree from Brandon University". Brandon University. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  29. ^ Project Hero Archived January 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 49°48′34″N 97°07′58″W / 49.80944°N 97.13278°W / 49.80944; -97.13278