Saint-Jean’s story is almost one hundred years old. Established in Pincher Creek in 1908, Saint-Jean was first known as a juniorat, an institution designed especially for the young men who wished to join the Oblate religious order. Saint-Jean moved to Edmonton in 1910 and to its actual site in 1911.
In the hope of answering the needs of the community, Saint-Jean has lived through many transformations. It became a classical college in 1943. In 1961 Saint-Jean established L’École de pédagogie and for the first time in its history admitted female students. In 1970, it became a junior college affiliated to the University of Alberta and a full-fledged faculty of the University in 1977 when the Oblate Fathers gave up the ownership of the College to the University.
As the number of students grew at Saint-Jean so did the number of buildings. The Oblate Fathers built the ‘White House’ in 1918; they added wings to the main building in 1921; they built a new gym and more dorms in 1950. The 1960 addition housed classrooms and a large library and the 1964 addition contained still more classrooms, offices and a large theatre.
Between 1997 and 2001 the Saint-Jean campus developed rapidly.
The administration building which is now called Le Pavillon McMahon was renovated in 1997 and a new library and a multimedia center were added. The construction of the new residence was officially begun in June 1999. In 2001, Saint-Jean renovated the 1911 building and renamed it Le Centre Saint-Jean. Today this building is called Le Pavillon Lacerte. In October 2005, Saint-Jean was renamed Campus Saint-Jean.
As of 1997, many new programs were added to the existing B.A, B.Ed and B.Sc. programs. The Baccalauréat bilingue en administration des affaires which is offered in collaboration with the U of A’s School of Business is a unique program in Canada. In September 2000, Saint-Jean established a partnership with the Faculty of Engineering which allows Saint-Jean to offer the first year of the Engineering degree. In 2001-2002, a Maîtrise en arts en études canadiennes was added to the Maîtrise en éducation which was established in 1992. In 2004, a Baccalauréat bilingue en sciences infirmières offered in collaboration with the Faculty of Nursing of the U of A was approved by the University.
In 1999, Saint-Jean created the Professorat Louis-Desrochers in order to honor the contribution of a good friend of the Faculté and to highlight the growing interest in the field of Canadian studies. Saint Jean organized the Centre d’études canadiennes and L’Instiut pour le patrimoine francophone de l’Ouest canadien in 2001. That same year the Louis-Desrochers conference series was also launched. In 2001, Faculté Saint-Jean was awarded a Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy and Canadian Studies.
Saint-Jean’s hard work and many successes did not go unnoticed over the years. La Faculté was awarded the Prix-du-3-juillet-1608 of the Conseil de la langue française of the Government of Quebec in 1997 and the award of excellence Actifs et fiers of l’ACELF in 2001. These awards underline Saint-Jean’s important contribution to the promotion of the French language and culture in North America. And we must not forget that for a great number of students, Saint-Jean represents a special moment in their lives.