University Act May 9, 1906
An act to Establish and Incorporate a University for the Province of Alberta received assent on May 9, 1906, in the Alberta Legislature. The Univeristy Act was introduced by Premier Rutherford.
The Act comprises Chapter 42 in the document of Acts for the year 1906. The Act specifies the name, University of Alberta, and the governance structure consisting of a Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Senate and Convocation and is incorporated as a "body politic" and is subsequently referred to as "the corporation." The Act sets out its powers, roles, and responsibilities as well as those of the key officers. It is a forward-looking document that provides for the establishment of new faculties as well as the creation of endowments.
View the University Act 1906 (PDF)
The Alberta Legislature held its first session in the spring of 1906. One of the first matters that Rutherford addressed during this session was to introduce An Act to Establish and Incorporate a University for the Province of Alberta. This first provincial legislative session passed the University Act. Notably, Rutherford and Tory believed in the equality of women. The Act included a clause that stipulated the university senate must give female students the same advantage or privilege accorded to male students. During the spring 1907 session, the 1906 Act was amended to include the appointment of a university president.
1906 University Act
- Gave powers to the university senate regarding academic matters
- The senate was authorized to hire faculty
- The single governing body would include up to five elected members by convocation and ten government appointments.
- Had a clause that stipulated the senate should make provisions for the convocation of women
Strathcona, with just the North Saskatchewan River separating it from Edmonton, was experiencing a surging population growth. On March 15, 1907, Strathcona was incorporated as a city with a population of 3,500. Three weeks later, Premier Alexander Cameron Rutherford announced that the University of Alberta would be built in the City of Strathcona.
Once again, Calgarians felt they were being alienated from the Liberals’ political power building and cynically noted the lengths that politicians would take to secure their own agendas.
From Rutherford’s position, he was the politician who had championed an Alberta university, shaped its foundation, and developed a working relationship with Henry Marshall Tory. Naturally, he wanted to be physically and intellectually available to make his educational mission a reality.
In the spring of 1907, Rutherford travelled to Montreal to meet with Tory. Over lunch, at the Windsor Hotel, the two men reached an agreement that Henry Marshall Tory would be the University of Alberta’s first president.
Tory was enthralled with the idea of heading and shaping a university from the ground up. He turned down an offer as McGill’s Dean of Arts and Science to make his move to Alberta.
1908 would prove to be an auspicious year. Land was purchased for the University of Alberta, Tory began as President, a learning space was borrowed until “official” university buildings were constructed on the University’s site, and the first classes were held with 45 students and a faculty of 5.