St. Michaels University School

St. Michaels University School (abbreviated SMU or more commonly, SMUS) is a private day and boarding school in the municipality of Saanich, the largest and most populous municipality in the Capital Regional District and Vancouver Island. Previous headmasters include Robert Snowden (1995-2017), David Penaluna (1988–94) and John Shaffter (1977–88).[1]

St. Michaels University School (SMUS)
3400 Richmond Road

, ,
Coordinates48°27′08″N 123°19′40″W / 48.45222°N 123.32778°W / 48.45222; -123.32778Coordinates: 48°27′08″N 123°19′40″W / 48.45222°N 123.32778°W / 48.45222; -123.32778
School typePrivate Day and Boarding
Founded1906 (University School)
1910 (St. Michaels School)
1971 (amalgamation)
HeadmasterMark Turner
Colour(s)Red, White, Black, Blue
MascotA Blue Jaguar
Team nameThe Blue Jags


SMUS is located in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. The Senior and Middle School campus is located on Richmond Road in Saanich. The Junior School campus is situated on Victoria Avenue in Oak Bay.


In 1906, University School was founded by Cap. R. V. Harvey, the Rev. W. W. Bolton and J. C. Barnacle. Four years later, in 1910, K. C. Symons founded St. Michael's School. St. Michael's School was unusual for its relatively large number of local day students for the period (as contrasted with University School's large number of boarders).

Facing financial difficulties and the death of its headmaster in 1970, University School merged with St. Michael's in 1971 to become St Michaels University School. In 1973, the school began to enrol grade 1 and 2 students for the first time. In 1978, girls were accepted as day and boarding students in grades 10–12 for the first time,[2] and the school began the process of becoming fully coeducational in 1985. A major expansion of the campus also began in 1985.[3] In 1993, SMUS's boarding houses were renamed after the school's six founders: Bolton, Harvey, Winslow, Timmis, Symons, and Barnacle.[4]

Boarding housesEdit

There are currently six houses: three for boys and three for girls. The houses are named after the headmasters and founders of the school.


  • Barnacle
  • Bolton
  • Harvey


  • Timmis
  • Symons
  • Winslow

The senior school houses are only for boarding students. They become a member of one of the houses when starting at SMUS and it becomes place of residence and community throughout that their time at the school.

School performanceEdit

The average number of APs taken by SMUS students ranks first in country across all schools as of 2012. The record for most APs taken and completed by a single student is 15. In terms of average mean grades, SMUS students achieved an average of 3.68, which was higher than the global average of 2.92. Of the 650 exams across 25 different AP subjects taken by 245 SMUS students, 81% of them received grades of three or higher on the five point scale, which was also higher than the worldwide rate of 59% achieving grades of three or higher.[5]


The motto of University School was "Mens sana in corpore sano," which means, "A healthy mind in a healthy body."[6] St. Michael's School had the motto "Nihil Magnum Nisi Bonum," or, "Nothing is great unless it is good."

The current motto of St. Michaels University School is "Vivat!", or "Long live the school!" This ties into the school's song, "Vivat - Universitas!", written by Capt. R. V. Harvey originally for University School. The school uses "Vivat" when cheering on a team.


Rumours have suggested that nearly six ghosts have been seen on campus since 1980. The most notable, the ghost of Capt. R. V. Harvey, who promised his boys "my heart is all with the old school, now as always." There is a sign on the Science Building exterior to remember the ghost that allegedly been seen walking the halls of what had previously been boarding residency.


Richmond Road Campus:

  • School House: Administration, Library, Mathematics
  • Brown Hall: (Currently Under Renovation)
  • Sun Center: Dining Hall, Student Commons, Howard Cafe
  • Chapel
  • Crothall Centre for the Humanities and Arts: Classrooms, Lecture Theatre, Drama Room, Art Room
  • William Monkman Athletic Complex: Gymnasium, Squash Courts, Fitness Center
  • John and Anne Schaffter Hall for Music
  • Science Building: Science Classrooms and Computer Labs
  • Infirmary
  • Residence Buildings: Barnacle, Bolton, Harvey (boys) and Winslow, Symons, Timmis (girls)
  • Wenman Pavilion: Senior Lounge
  • Reynolds House: Headmaster's Residence
  • Middle School

Accreditation and membershipsEdit

St. Michaels University School is accredited or a member of the following organizations:[7]

Notable alumniEdit







  1. ^ "SMUS History". St. Michael's University School. Retrieved 2015-08-23.
  2. ^ Jean Barman (2011). Growing Up British in British Columbia: Boys in Private School. UBC Press. pp. 26–27, 145–146, et passim. ISBN 978-0774845021.
  3. ^ Ashley Thomson; Sylvie Lafortune (1999). Handbook of Canadian Boarding Schools. Dundurn Press. pp. 99–109. ISBN 978-1550023237.
  4. ^ "SMUS History". Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Advance Placement Results". Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  6. ^ Snowden, Bob. "Welcome from Bob Snowden, head of school". St Michaels University School. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Accreditation and Associations | SMUS, Victoria BC". Retrieved 2016-07-03.
  8. ^ "St. Michaels University School". Canadian Accredited Independent Schools. Retrieved 2015-03-23.
  9. ^ Paola Boivin (February 28, 2010). "Hometown shaped its famous Sun, Steve Nash: Nash's upbringing forged his work ethic, attitude". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2015-08-23.
  10. ^ Dheensaw, Cleve. "Oak Bay looks to retain Rees Boot in high school rugby tilt". Times Colonist. Retrieved 2020-12-23.
  11. ^ Emmerson, Aysha (2019-04-04). "In Conversation: Distinguished Alumnus Stewart Butterfield '91". SMUSpaper. Retrieved 2020-12-23.
  12. ^ Alec, Scott (January 5, 2020). "How Stewart Butterfield built a billion-dollar company in 8 months". Retrieved 2020-12-23.
  13. ^ Lobel, Ben (5 January 2009). "How oil man Sam Malin spends his millions". Bonhill Group plc. Retrieved 11 July 2020. Less "out there" but equally random is Malin's award-winning collection of cacti.

External linksEdit