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University of Ottawa

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Conducted by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate; founded in 1848. It was incorporated in 1849 under the title of the "College of Bytown," thus taking the original name of the city chosen in 1866 as the capital of the Dominion of Canada, and now known as Ottawa. The title in question was changed in 1861 to that of the "College of Ottawa", and the power of granting degrees was conferred on the institution by civil charter in 1866. The university thus began its complete secular existence with the confederation of the Canadian Provinces, and has grown with the growth of the Dominion. Pope Leo XIII, by Brief of 5 February, 1889, raised the College and the State University of Ottawa to the rank of a Catholic University. The Brief expresses the will of the Holy See that the Archbishop of Ottawa shall be ex officio Apostolic chancellor of the university, and that he and the "other bishops of the [ecclesiastical] provinces of Ottawa and Toronto who shall affiliate their seminaries and colleges and other similar institutions with the aforesaid university, do watch over the preservation of a correct and sound doctrine in the same." It may be added that the institution has also been of late years placed among the number of Colonial and Indian universities, whose students are entitled to certain privileges accorded by a statute of the University of Oxford, passed in 1887.

Situated in the capital of the Dominion, and in a district which is largely French in population, the University of Ottawa offers parallel courses in English and French. It is left to the choice of parents and students to take the classical course in one or other of the two languages. The university is governed by a chancellor, rector, vice-rector, senate, and council of administration. The faculties so far organized are those of: (1) theology, (2) law, this being an examining body only, according to certain provisions and regulations made, in this regard, by the provincial legislature of Ontario, (3) philosophy, and (4) arts. Other departments are the collegiate course and the commercial course, the former leading to matriculation which admits to the arts course in Canadian universities and to technical schools. The course in arts, after matriculation, covers four years. In theology a course of four years is provided, and embraces all the branches of ecclesiastical science usually taught in Catholic seminaries. The university has, in a separate building known as the Science Hall, well-equipped physical, chemical, and mineralogical laboratories, also a natural history museum and excellent numismatic and conchological collections.

On 2 December, 1903, fire totally destroyed the main building, a structure covering the greater part of a block 400 feet by 200. The library of the university, consisting of over 30,000 volumes, was wholly destroyed, but has been replaced, in great part, largely by donations.

The teaching staff consists of fifty professors and instructors. The number of students in 1909-10 was 591; of these 350 were in residence in the Theological Building, or Scholasticate of the Oblate Fathers, the Collegiate Building or Juniorate, and the New Arts Building. Students whose homes are not in Ottawa are required to live in the University buildings. Private rooms are provided. The University Calendar gives a long list of graduates and alumni, including names of men prominent in every walk of Canadian life.

The Science Hall, completed in 1901, and the New Arts Building erected to replace the building destroyed in 1903, are fire-proof structures and are among the best-equipped college buildings in Canada. The University owns ten acres of property in the city.

Like other seats of learning in Canada, the university lately began to offer the advantages of an extra-mural course to those who desire to pursue collegiate studies, but who are unable to attend its lectures. Extra-mural students are allowed to do the work of the arts course, and to present themselves for examinations. Before being registered, candidates for a degree must pass the matriculation, or an examination accepted by the senate as equivalent. Students are to attend the university for the latter part of the course, if at all possible.

The "Calendar" and "Annuaire", published annually by the university, give detailed information in regard to courses of study, conditions of admission, examinations, and fees in all departments. The "University of Ottawa Review", issued monthly and forming an annual volume of from four to five hundred pages, is the organ of the students.

About this page

APA citation. Grey, F. (1911). University of Ottawa. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Grey, Francis. "University of Ottawa." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Rev. Owen Carroll.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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