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Bishop's University
Université Bishop's   (French)
Motto Recti cultus pectora roborant  (Latin)
Motto in English
Righteous ways makes strong the heart
Established 1843; 179 years ago (1843)
Affiliation Non-denominational
Endowment C$ 32.5 million
Chancellor Brian Levitt
Principal Michael Goldbloom
Students 2,867
Undergraduates 2,340 full-time students
219 part-time students
Location , ,
Campus Rural: 550 acres (220 ha)
Previous names The University of Bishop's College
Colours Purple and Silver          
Nickname Bishop's Gaiters
Affiliations AUCC, IAU, QSSF, CBIE, CUP.
Mascot Alligator
Bishop's University.svg

Bishop's University (French: Université Bishop's) is a small Liberal arts college/university in Lennoxville, a borough of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. The founder of the institution was the Bishop of Quebec, George Mountain, who also served as the first principal of McGill University. It is one of three universities in the province of Quebec that teach primarily in English (the others being McGill University and Concordia University, both in Montreal). It began its foundation by absorbing the Lennoxville Classical School as Bishop's College School in the 1840s. The college was formally founded in 1843 and received a royal charter from Queen Victoria in 1853.

It remains one of Canada's few primarily undergraduate universities, functioning in the way of an American Liberal Arts College, and is linked with three others in the Maple League. Established in 1843 as Bishop's College, the college used to be affiliated with the University of Oxford in 1853, where many professors at BU are being appointed from. The school remained under the Anglican church's direction from its founding until 1947. Since that time, the university has been a non-denominational institution. Bishop's University has graduated fifteen Rhodes Scholars.

Like other liberal arts colleges in North America, it does not participate in rankings that primarily based on research such as QS but is ranked number one in Canada for student satisfaction continuously for three years and 7th in Canadian primarily undergraduate universities by Maclean's magazine.The university shares a campus with its neighbor, Champlain College Lennoxville, an English-language public college.


Bishop's University aerial view
Bishop's University aerial view
Bishop's University McGreer Hall
Bishop's University McGreer Hall
Bishop's College School, Quebec, 1885 in Bishop's University Campus
Bishop's College School as the Grammar School, 1885 in Bishop's University (New Arts Today)

Bishop's University can trace its roots back to 1836 when Bishop's College School, a “Grammar School in connection with the College,” was founded as the Lennoxville Classical School, an independent institute by Rev. Lucius Doolittle and Edward Chapman. The University section, Bishop's College was based on the grammar school and established by the Lord Bishop of Québec The Rt. Rev. Dr. George Jehoshaphat Mountain (who also served as the first principal of McGill College) on December 9, 1843, in Lennoxville, Quebec, for the education of members of the Church of England and erected into a university in 1853. The school was founded by Bishop Mountain, the third Anglican bishop of Quebec, as a liberal arts college. In 1845, instruction began, and in 1854, the first degrees were granted.

In 1845, the Reverend Jasper Hume Nicolls, a Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford was appointed first principal of Bishop's College. In 1853, he and Bishop Mountain obtained the Royal Charter through which the college became a university. He led Bishop's for 32 years, through several financial crises.

A faculty of medicine, known as Bishop's Medical Faculty, Montreal, was established in Montreal in 1871, and closed in 1905 when it amalgamated with McGill University.

A short-lived Faculty of Law was established in Sherbrooke in 1880, to close in 1888. It granted only fifteen degrees.

In 1922, Bishop's College School moved to its new campus on Moulton Hill from the Little Forks at BU as a severe fire happened in 1891. Yet, many connections are remained.

The Church of England controlled the university until 1947. Since 1947, a corporation and appointed trustees have been responsible for its business affairs, and a senate has dealt with academic matters. This bicameral model of governance was based on the 1906 provincial University of Toronto Act, which established a system dividing university government into a senate (faculty) to set academic policy, and a board of governors (citizens) to oversee financial policy and other matters.

The president, appointed by the board, was to perform institutional leadership and provide a link between the senate and the board of governors. In the early part of the twentieth century, professional education expanded beyond the traditional fields of theology, law, and medicine, while graduate training based on the German-inspired American model of specialized course work and the completion of a research thesis was introduced. The policy of university education initiated in the 1960s responded to population pressure and the belief that higher education was a key to social justice and economic productivity for individuals and for society.

On December 9, 1993, a Sesquicentennial Convocation was held in Centennial Theatre. Governor General of Canada Ray Hnatyshyn presented the Coat of Arms and Flag and signed and presented the Letters Patent of Bishop's University.

In 2007, enrollment had shrunk by 14 percent and was "falling like a stone," then-Principal Michael Goldbloom told The Montreal Gazette after he was hired in 2008. Furthermore, campus morale was low after a 41-day strike by staff and a lock-out of faculty. The university had a $1.4 million operating deficit and was relying on a $9 million line of credit to remain solvent, prompting rumours that the university would close. By 2010, however, Bishop's rebounded as enrollment shot up by 20 percent after new leadership was hired and aggressive student recruitment efforts were instituted. The university's finances also improved significantly.

Academic programs

Primarily undergraduate, Bishop's University also offers graduate courses and M.A. and M.Ed. degrees in education and M.Sc. in computer science and physics. Bishop's offers several programs from five academic divisions:

Bishop Williams Hall

Each division seeks to provide a well-rounded education for all its students. The average class size as of fall 2-17 was 34.7 in first- and second-year courses and 18.9 in upper-year courses.

In 2004, Bishop's joined the Université de Sherbrooke in creating SIXtron, a joint spin-off of technology based in Montreal which is focused on developing highly scalable and cost-effective, amorphous silicon carbide (SiC)-based thin film coatings for the solar industry.

In 2009, the Psychological Health and Well-Being Laboratory was founded as an initiative to produce and share knowledge regarding how to enhance the psychological health and well-being of individuals and the communities that they live in. The research cluster is headed by Dr. Heather Lawford. It is one of four research clusters, the others examining Social and Cultural Identities; climate change; and astrophysics.

As of 2018, Bishop's has a total of 2,867 students. The student body represents every Canadian province and territory along with 18 U.S. states and more than 50 countries.

Williams School of Business

The Williams School of Business is the business school at Bishop's University. It is accredited under the Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) and claims multiple first place victories in international business case competitions. It offers courses through a bachelor of business administration (BBA) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) major in business. A cooperative education program is also offered. Approximately 22% of Bishop's University students are enrolled in the Williams School of Business.

The Williams School of Business offers the following concentrations under the BBA:


The Bishop's campus is located on 500 acres (200 ha) of land at the junction of the Saint Francis and Massawippi rivers in the Eastern Townships region of Quebec. The site of Bishop's College, a grassy knoll at the confluence of two rivers, provided a natural setting where architecture would be viewed as an integral but subsidiary part of the scenic vista. Known as 'Oxford on the Massawippi' for its architectural style, the campus is significantly influenced by the Gothic Revival period and is home to some of Quebec's most historic buildings, including St. Mark's chapel. Construction on campus began with "Old Arts" in 1846 and continues today with the University's most recent building, the Library Learning Commons, in 2017. The campus also provided the setting for the films Lost and Delirious (2001) and The Covenant (2006).

McGreer Hall

McGreer Hall

McGreer Hall is named in honour of Arthur Huffman McGreer (1883–1947), Principal from 1922 to 1947. The original hall was constructed in 1846; the Lodge was added in 1847 as a residence for the Principal. In 1876 the central block was gutted by fire. It was rebuilt, and enlarged in 1898 with the extension of the third floor and the addition of the central tower. In 1909 the Library wing was added.

Bishop Williams Hall

Bishop Williams Hall is a lecture and presentation hall originally built in 1891. Funds for its construction were raised by Bishop's College School (BCS) old boys, who wanted to mark the 25th anniversary of the consecration of Bishop James William Williams, a former headmaster of the college and 4th Anglican bishop of Québec. The hall was destroyed by fire later the same, and rebuilt in 1892.

Bandeen Hall

Bandeen Hall was originally used as a gymnasium for undergraduates and for the boys of Bishop's College School. In 1950 the room was converted into a dining-hall for the Norton-Pollack residence complex. After 1971 the room served as the undergraduate Pub, and for a time housed temporary studios for the Fine Arts departments of Champlain College and the University.

In 1990, funds raised by the Learning for Life campaign were used to convert the area into a concert hall; it was named for the late Robert A. Bandeen, a former Chancellor of the University, and his wife, Mona Blair Bandeen.

Centennial Theatre

Centennial Theatre opened as a performing arts centre in 1967, with a mandate to provide a theatrical and cultural platform for English-speaking residents in the Eastern Townships. The theatre combines the wide auditorium style of a Greek amphitheatre with an Italian stage house, with proscenium and flies. It has seating for 549.

Old Library and Archives

Old Library

This building was added to McGreer Hall in 1909, and served as the University Library. In the 1970s it was divided into two floors, the wooden ceiling covered by tiles, and became office space. The library wing was restored to its original design in time for the Sesquicentennial celebrations in 1993-1994.

The Old Library houses the collections of the University Archives and the Eastern Townships Research Centre, including books, genealogical information, documents, photographs, postcards, maps, plans, and audio-visual material. The room also hosts lectures, receptions, special events, and quiet study.

John Bassett Memorial Library

The John Bassett Memorial Library provides study and research support for the students and faculty of both Bishop's University and Champlain College, Lennoxville Campus. The present building was built in 1959, and expanded in 1970, 1990, and 2017. The Library's holdings are over 598,000 items, including books, microforms, and audio-visual materials, as well as those of the approximately 19,550 periodical titles including online periodicals. Research and study are further supported by collections of Canadian Government documents, and Maps. In-house resources are augmented by an Inter-Library Loan network.

Art Gallery

Bishop's University houses the Foreman Art Gallery, which exhibits contemporary and historical painting, sculpture, mixed media, installation, video and films by students, faculty, Canadian and international artists. Hung throughout the buildings on campus, the collection consists of 150 works, many by 19th- and 20th-century Canadian artists.

Nicolls Building

Observatoire de l`université Bishop - panoramio
Observatory of the university

The Nicolls Building is named in honour of the Reverend Jasper Hume Nicolls (1818–1877). An observatory is located on the roof of the Nicolls building. The observatory houses a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and is also open to the public.

Old Lennoxville Golf Club

The Bishop's campus uniquely features a golf course and club: The Old Lennoxville Golf Club. The club was founded by the University and was chartered by the Royal Canadian Golf Association in 1897. The course remains one of the oldest in Canada.

St. Mark's Chapel

St. Mark's Chapel was built in the Perpendicular Gothic style, and was consecrated in 1857 by George Jehoshaphat Mountain. It was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1891, and rebuilt on the same site, and fitted with ash furniture, panelling and wood sculptures by the Sherbrooke cabinet-making firm of George Long and his assistant, Georges Bélanger. St. Mark's Chapel was declared Cultural Property by the Quebec Ministere des Affaires culturelles in 1989.

Student societies

Bishop's University has 1 Sorority, 1 Women's Fraternity, and 2 Fraternity.


Canada's BU

The Bishop's University teams are known as the Bishop's Gaiters and compete in the CIS. Although their logo and mascot suggest the term stems from the word alligator, "Gaiter" actually refers to a leg covering worn by Anglican bishops up until the middle of the 20th century. The Gaiters are represented by seven varsity teams (Football, Men's & Women's Basketball, Men's & Women's Rugby, Women's Soccer, and Golf) and four club teams (Men's Lacrosse, Women's Hockey, Men's Hockey, Men's Soccer). The Bishop's Gaiters have a long history with the university. The early days were marked by massive participation in team sports such as cricket and football. Rugby football began in 1888 and Canadian football was a budding varsity sport by the 1930s. The Gaiters football team's home stadium is Coulter Field which is also used as a practice facility by the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

In football, the Gaiters have made five appearances in CIS semifinal bowls, most recently the 1994 Churchill Bowl. In basketball, the Gaiters won women's national championships in 1982-83 and 1983–84 and the men's national championship in 1997-98. For both genders, the Gaiters are the last Quebec-based school to win a national championship.

As of March 2019, there are three former Bishop's football players in the CFL: Adrian Clarke, Stephen Adekolu, and Junior Turner.


School Song

At both home and away athletic competitions, BU students can be heard singing their school fight song or alma mater. Bishop's official school song, "Alma Mater," was written in 1937 and continues to be a favorite. In 1964, however, the lyrics "Drink a toast to Bishop's University" were written by John Piper, Douglas Tees, Ace Henderson and John Martland as part of the musical comedy, "The Grate Escape," performed by the Bishop's choir. The tune stuck and has become the unofficial song of the university.

The Gait

Bishop’s one and only on-campus bar. Located across from the bookstore in the SUB, the bar has been run for students, by students. Owned and operated by the SRC, The Gait offers students a place to close their books and let loose throughout the academic year. It is also a place of employment for around 20 bar staff, multiple student musicians, student DJs, and student security. The Gait also helps students fundraise for student initiative through pizza and/or hot dog sales, photo booths, etc.


WinterFest is Bishop's University's largest on-campus event, with approximately 900 attendees in 2019. Since its first edition in 2003, WinterFest has become a yearly tradition at Bishop's that just keeps on getting bigger and better year after year. The 2-days outdoor festival is a ski competition, the Rail Jam, as well as a large concert hosted in the Quad at the heart of campus. Over the years, we've seen performances of Shaun Frank, Lost Kings, Jazz Cartier, and many others, as well as guest skiers and snowboarders such as Sébastien Toutant.

Orientation Week

Orientation Week, also known as Frosh Week, is a staple event and tradition at Bishop's. It's a week-long event hosted before the first week of classes in the fall, with activities on and off campus for first-year students to get to know campus, Lennoxville, and to meet their fellow classmates. Bishop's Orientation Week is known to be "the best week of your life", and videographer Tim B. Paczynski's videos are the proof. It's a week of social events where everyone finds something they like, and it's when our students meet their friends they'll have for a lifetime.


Bishop's University campus 2011 03
Bishop's University campus 2011 03

Bishop's University was registered as a charitable organization in Canada on 1967-01-01. The primary areas in which the charity is now carrying on programs to achieve its charitable purposes, ranked according to the percentage of time and resources devoted to each program area follow:

  • Universities and colleges 95%
  • Research (scientific, medical, environmental, etc.) 3%
  • Cultural programs, including heritage languages 1%

The charity carried on charitable programs to further its charitable purpose(s) (as defined in its governing documents) this fiscal period:

  • University education & research.
  • financial aid (scholarships & bursaries) to Bishop's University students
  • cultural programs and community outreach.

Bishop's University Foundation 118810787RR0001 was registered as a charitable organization in Canada on 1971-05-11. The primary areas in which the charity is now carrying on programs to achieve its charitable purposes, ranked according to the percentage of time and resources devoted to each program area follow:

  • Universities and colleges 100%

The charity carried on charitable programs to further its charitable purpose(s) (as defined in its governing documents) this fiscal period:

  • assist Bishop's University in its educational, athletic, scholarship and research programs.


On 28 January 2003, Canada Post issued the Bishop's University, 1853-2003 stamp as part of its Canadian Universities series. Based on a photograph by Guy Lavigueur and designed by Denis L'Allier, the 48¢ stamps are perforated 13.5 and printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company.

Chancellors of Bishop's University

Principals of Bishop's University

Notable former students and alumni

  • Monroe Abbey, Canadian lawyer and Jewish civic leader
  • Douglas Abbott — Former Minister of National Defence and Minister of Finance, Former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
  • Maude Abbott — one of Canada's earliest female medical graduates, founder of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada
  • Nick Arakgi — CFL football star and CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian Award winner. Honourable mention to his son Jason Arakgi who is also a CFL player, but a graduate of McMaster University
  • John Bassett — publisher of the Montreal Gazette, owner of the Toronto Argonauts, 1961–1971
  • Peter Blaikie — Rhodes Scholar, prominent lawyer, former President of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, television commentator
  • Leroy Blugh- CFL player and CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian Award winner, defensive assistant coach Ottawa Red Blacks
  • Alex Bulmer — playwright and theatre artist
  • Allen Chastenet – Prime Minister of St. Lucia
  • Jim Corcoran — singer, songwriter and radio host
  • Roy Cullen — Former Liberal Member of Parliament for the riding of Etobicoke North
  • Tom Europe — CFL defensive back, BC Lions
  • Reginald Fessenden — radio pioneer
  • Robert Ghiz — Former Premier of Prince Edward Island
  • Keith Godding — CFL wide receiver, Montreal Alouettes
  • Paul W. Gooch — Philosophy Professor, President of Victoria University, Toronto
  • Robert Gordon — former President of Humber College, President of Canada Basketball, President of Bishop's University
  • Shawn Gore - CFL professional football player
  • Scott Griffin — Chancellor of Bishop's University, Canadian businessman and philanthropist
  • Ralph Gustafson — poet
  • Helen Anne Henderson — journalist and disability rights advocate
  • Cameron Hughes -public speaker and superfan at professional sports venues
  • Kyle Jones — CFL linebacker, Toronto Argonauts
  • Kay Kinsman, (1909-1998), visual artist and mature student
  • Jamall Lee — CFL Running Back, BC Lions
  • Galt MacDermot — musician, arranger, composer of 60's rock musical Hair (musical)
  • Jason MacDonald — Director of Communications, Office of the Prime Minister of Canada
  • Vice Admiral Duncan “Dusty” Miller, Naval Task Commander aboard HMCS Athabaskan during the Persian Gulf War ('90-'91)
  • Elie Ngoyi — CFL football player
  • Michael Ondaatje — poet, writer, best known for the novel The English Patient
  • Damian Pettigrew — film director
  • Johnny Reid — country music singer
  • Francis Reginald Scott — Rhodes Scholar, poet, constitutional expert
  • The Rev. Canon Frederick Scott — Senior Chaplain, First Canadian Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force, WWI
  • Larry Smith — former President of the Montreal Alouettes, former commissioner of the Canadian Football League, current Canadian Senator
  • Norman Webster — Rhodes Scholar, former Editor-in-Chief of The Globe and Mail, Chancellor of University of Prince Edward Island
  • Barrie Wilson — Professor Emeritus & Senior Scholar, Religious Studies, York University
  • Edward Wilson-Ewing — physicist at the Louisiana State University
  • James Yurichuk — former CFL Linebacker, BC Lions
  • Steve Zatylny — Canadian football player
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