St. Thomas University started out as St. Thomas College in Chatham, New Brunswick. From 1910 to 1934, it operated as a high school and junior college. In 1934, it was declared a university and was officially able to grant degrees. The name changed from St. Thomas College to St. Thomas University in 1960 and high school courses were removed in 1961. STU opened its new location in Fredericton on Sept. 2, 1964.
Every building on STU’s campus has a story. Their names represent someone influential to STU, New Brunswick, Canada and the world. Now they sit displayed on campus, nurturing future influential people just like them.
Features editor, Lauren Hoyt, travelled across campus learning more about the buildings where STU students spend most of their days.
Holy Cross House, Est. 1964
At the top of campus on Montgomery Street sits Holy Cross House. Holy Cross House is the smallest residence on campus, sharing the space with classrooms and offices. It’s also home to the campus chapel where mass is held Sundays at 7 p.m., open to students of all denominations.
Brian Mulroney Hall, Est. 2002
Brian Mulroney is a former Prime Minister. He received his high school diploma from St. Thomas College in in 1955. He went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts degree at Saint Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He then got his Law degree at Laval University in Quebec City, Que. He was elected Prime Minister in 1984, re-elected in 1998 and served until 1993. Mulroney and his wife, Mila, received honorary degrees from STU in May 2018.
Margaret Norrie McCain Hall, Est. 2007
Margaret Norrie McCain served as the 27th Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, the first female to fill the position. McCain received her Bachelor of Arts degree at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B. and later got her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Toronto. Along with her husband Wallace McCain, of the McCain french fry family, she formed the Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation, which supports families and early childhood development.
George Martin Hall, Est. 1992
Monsignor George Martin was devoted to STU and its community. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the university in 1945. He also received his Bachelor of Theology from the Holy Heart Seminary in Halifax, Nova Scotia and was ordained in St. Michael’s Basilica in Chatham, New Brunswick in 1949. He then went on to teach at STU. While he was at STU, he was a professor, registrar, vice president and president from 1975 to 1990. He passed away on March 2, 2009 at 84 years-old.
James Dunn Hall, Est. 1994
James Dunn was born in Bathurst, New Brunswick in 1874. He graduated from Dalhousie Law in 1898. An entrepreneur, he became a partner of Algoma Steel Plant in Sault St. Marie, Ont. in 1907. Dunn was left with the steel plant in 1935 when the owner defaulted and the plant went bankrupt. He was able to turn the plant around and it became one of the best in North America. Dunn passed away on Jan. 1, 1956.
Edmund Casey Hall, Est. 1974
Father Edmund Casey was a high school teacher at St. Thomas College before he went on to earn his B.Ed. at the school. While working as a professor at STU, he earned his Doctorate in Sociology. He later worked as the head of the Department of Social Sciences at STU. After his sudden passing in 1974, the university decided to name the building after Casey.
Donald C. Duffie Hall, Est. 2013
Donald C. Duffie Hall is home to admissions. Born in Oromocto, Duffie was a Rhodes Scholar, journalist and lawyer before being ordained in his late 20s. He started as a journalist for The Daily Gleaner. He taught at different universities in Canada in the 40s and 50s. Duffie served as president of the university from 1961 to 1975.
J.B. O’Keefe Gym, Est. 1999
In 1998, the President of Juniper Lumber, J.B. (Bev) O’Keefe and his family made a $1.2-million donation to STU to build the gym. The O’Keefe’s donated the money because they recognized the success of the small university. At the time, it was the largest donation made to STU by one family. The J. B. O’Keefe gym underwent renovations in summer 2018.
Harrington Hall, Est. 1964
George Harrington was born in Loggieville, New Brunswick. He went to St. Thomas College for high school. After being ordained in 1931, he taught at STU for two years. He left STU to study Sociology but returned to teaching in 1936. He became vice-president in 1946. Harrington was known for connecting with students and he was given an honourary Doctor of Laws degree in 1964 to thank him for his work. In 1970, the decision was made to name Harrington Hall after him.
Vanier Hall, Est. 1965
Vanier Hall was named after the Honourable Pauline Vanier, the wife of Georges Vanier, 19th Governor General of Canada. Pauline was the first “non-political” woman to be appointed to the Queen’s Privy Council. The council serves as consultants to the monarch about Canadian affairs. Pauline and Georges founded the Vanier Institute of the Family in 1965. She received the Order of Canada in 1967.
Rigby Hall, Est. 1999
Harry Rigby began his time at STU as the Dean of Men in 1965. He was a teacher and band leader at St. Joseph’s College in Moncton. Many of the students arriving at STU at the same time as Rigby had great musical talent. They formed a band, and after some deliberation, decided on the name, “The Thomists”. When STU purchased the building in Forest Hills in 1999, they decided on the name to honour Harry Rigby.