History is created moment by moment, day by day. 73,000 times over the past 200 years, Dalhousie has witnessed the moment when the sun breaks the horizon to greet the day. That’s 73,000 fresh starts. 73,000 new beginnings. 73,000 opportunities to rise and shine.

    • 1818 Founding

      George Ramsay, the ninth Earl of Dalhousie, proposed a college based on the Edinburgh model. On February 6, Lord Bathurst sent approval:  "His Royal Highness has been pleased to express his entire approbation of the funds in question being applied in the foundation of a Seminary in Halifax, for the higher Classes of Learning, and toward the Establishment of a Garrison Library."

      Founding
    • 1820 Laying the cornerstone

      Lord Dalhousie lays the original cornerstone of Dalhousie College, facing the Grand Parade (where Halifax City Hall now stands). Keeping with tradition, the ceremony includes pouring corn, wine and oil on the stone.

      Laying the cornerstone
    • 1838 First president

      Dr. Rev. Thomas McCulloch becomes Dalhousie's first president. A graduate of Glasgow University and a Scottish divine (Presbyterian), McCulloch taught logic, Greek, political economy and natural philosophy.

      First president
    • 1838 First instruction

      The university offers its first instruction after being delayed for many years by sectarian politics. The official timetable for the autumn of 1838 includes courses in Latin, Greek, algebra, logic, mathematics, rhetoric, moral philosophy and natural philosophy. McCulloch’s death in 1842 would pause operations for another twenty years. (image: The Pearl v.2 no.33)

      First instruction

      Next Era Reconstitution (1863-1869)

    • 1863 Reopening

      Dalhousie is reconsistuted by the government of Dr. Charles Tupper, with support from opposition leader Joseph Howe, with "The Act for the Regulation and Support of Dalhousie College" and reopens with six professors, 40 students enrolled in full course and 20 in partial.

      Reopening
    • 1863 Second president

      Professor Rev. James Ross begins serving as president. A pupil of McCulloch’s at Pictou Academy, Ross was also a Presbyterian minister.

      Second president
    • 1865 Department of English

      The Department of English, one of the oldest in Canada, is founded with the appointment of James De Mille as the first professor of rhetoric.

      Department of English
    • 1866 First degrees

      Dalhousie awards its first two Bachelor of Arts degrees to Joseph Henry Chase and Robert Shaw.

      First degrees
    • 1868 Dalhousie Medical School

      The Faculty of Medicine gets its start as the Halifax Medical College and becomes the fifth medical school in Canada. In 1870, the school launches the first full medical program in Atlantic Canada.

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    • 1869 Dalhousie Gazette

      The first issue of the Dalhousie Gazette, Canada’s first college newspaper, is published. (Dalhousie Gazette v.1 i.1)

      Dalhousie Gazette

      Next Era Endowment and Establishment (1870-1879)

    • 1881 Women are admitted

      University governors decide that “Dalhousie is open, with all its privileges, to any lady capable of entering,” and Dal becomes the first Canadian university to admit women with equal access to scholarships and awards. The first two women admitted were both awarded Munro bursaries. That same year, Miss Lillie B. Calkin became the first female editor of the Dalhousie Gazette.  (Dalhousie Gazette v.14 i.1)

      Women are admitted
    • 1883 Faculty of Law

      The Faculty of Law is created when Professor Weldon accepts appointment to the fourth of George Munro's chairs: Constitutional and International Law. It is the first university law school in the common law provinces of Canada and the British Empire. (Dalhousie Gazette v.16 i.1)

      Faculty of Law
    • 1885 Third president

      Rev. John Forrest becomes Dalhousie's third president. Known as “Lord John,” he joined Dalhousie in 1880 as the first George Munro professor of History and Political Economy.

      Third president
    • 1885 First female graduate

      Margaret Florence Newcombe is awarded her BA and becomes the first woman to graduate from Dalhousie.

      First female graduate
    • 1887 Black and gold

      The rugby team officially adopts Dalhousie's colours of black and gold.

      Black and gold
    • 1887 New location

      Construction is completed on the New Dalhousie Building and the university moves. Now known as the Forrest Building on Carleton campus, the building is situated on five acres of land at the corner of Morris Street (University Avenue) and Robie Street.

      New location

      Next Era Legacy and Provenance (1890-1909)

    • 1911 Fourth president

      Dr. Arthur Stanley MacKenzie becomes Dalhousie's fourth and first non-cleric president. An alumnus (1885), he previously taught physics at both Johns Hopkins University and Dalhousie (1905-1910).

      Fourth president
    • 1911 Studley Campus

      The Board of Governors decides to buy Studley, one of the best large pieces of unoccupied land on the Halifax peninsula, for $50,000 from former board member Robert Murray's widow. In 1912, the cornerstone of the Science building is laid by the Governor General of Canada, The Duke of Connaught. In 1914, the cornerstone is laid for the Macdonald Library (now the Macdonald Building).

      Studley Campus
    • 1915 World War I

      During World War I, the No. 7 Hospital forms to meet a desperate need for medical personnel to treat Canadian soldiers at the front. Its 162 personnel, including officers, non-commissioned officers and nurses, are all students and professors from the Dalhousie Medical College.

      World War I
    • 1917 Halifax Explosion

      The Halifax explosion leaves thousands in Halifax dead and thousands more homeless. Dalhousie casualties are comparatively light. Because the windows in the new science building and library were destroyed, classes are stopped until after the holidays.

      Halifax Explosion
    • 1919 First female on the Board

      Eliza Ritchie (BA1887) is appointed to the Board of Governors making her the first woman in Canada to hold such a position.

      First female on the Board

      Next Era The '20s (1920-1929)

    • 1920 Shirreff Hall

      Jennie Shirreff Eddy pledges $300,000 to the new women's residence, which would be named in memory of her parents. It was then the largest donation ever given to the university and the largest of its kind given by a woman in Canada.  The building would open in 1923 with 86 women taking up residence.

      Shirreff Hall
    • 1920 Nursing

      The first nursing program in Nova Scotia is established at Dalhousie. It’s also one of the first in Canada. (Dalhousie Gazette v.52 i.7)

      Nursing
    • 1921 The Arts Building

      The cornerstone of the Arts Building is laid. For many years, it was home to the Law School and now it's the University Club.

      The Arts Building
    • 1921 Dalhousie Review

      The Dalhousie Review is founded by Herbert L. Stewart, professor of philosophy and has been in continuous operation since.

      Dalhousie Review
    • 1923 University of King's College

      After a disastrous fire, University of King's College relocates to Halifax with help from the Carnegie Foundation and enters into a partnership with Dalhousie that continues as an immensely productive relationship to this day.

      University of King's College
    • 1927 School of Fisheries

      A new School of Fisheries—the first of its kind in Canada—receives inaugural federal funding to equip a Marine Biological Laboratory in Eastern Passage.

      School of Fisheries

      Next Era The '30s (1930-1939)

    • 1930 Alumnus Prime Minister

      Alumnus R. B. Bennett (LLB1893) becomes Prime Minister of Canada.

      Alumnus Prime Minister
    • 1931 Fifth president

      Dalhousie's fifth president, Dr. Carleton Wellesley Stanley, is installed. A University of Toronto and Oxford graduate, he taught English at Toronto and Greek at McGill. He was also a Canadian correspondent of the Manchester Guardian.

      Fifth president
    • 1936 Educational progress

      A course in Public Administration is introduced, the first of its kind in Canada. The new course is commended as an example of the current educational progress at Dalhousie.

      Educational progress
    • 1939 World War II

      World War II begins. During the war, thousands of Nova Scotians go overseas. Pilot Officer Rand Lugar was the first Dalhousie student to be killed in the war. (Dalhousie Gazette v.74 i.1) The Class of 1945 yearbook claimed "The most notable thing about the Class of '45, about any Class at Dalhousie, is its apparent nonexistence much of its four years."

      World War II

      Next Era The '40s (1940-1949)

    • 1945 Sixth president

      Dr. Alexander Enoch Kerr serves as Dalhousie's sixth president, following the forced resignation of Carleton W. Stanley who had become unpopular with faculty and the community. Kerr is the second Dalhousie graduate to become president.

      Sixth president
    • 1945 Veterans enrol

      Thanks to government incentives for veterans, enrolment increases 62 per cent to 1,153 students, nearly half are veterans. Enrolment peaks at 1,873 in 1947-48 before again declining.

      Veterans enrol
    • 1948 Leighton research

      Dr. Alexander Leighton begins his groundbreaking study of mental health in Stirling County and discovers that approximately one in five adults will suffer from some sort of mental illness. The ongoing study boasts the longest grant in the history of the National Institutes of Health.

      Leighton research
    • 1949 Faculty of Graduate Studies

      The Faculty of Graduate Studies is established, strengthening the university's capacity for advanced education. (Dalhousie Gazette v.82 i.1)

      Faculty of Graduate Studies

      Next Era The '50s (1950-1959)

    • 1960 Dunn Building

      The Sir James Dunn Science Building opens its doors with a ceremony that includes speakers such as distinguished scientists Sir John Cockcroft and Dr. Gerhard Herzberg.

      Dunn Building
    • 1961 School of Architecture

      The School of Architecture is established at the Nova Scotia Technical College. It was the first and only program of its kind in Atlantic Canada.

      School of Architecture
    • 1962 Faculty of Health Professions

      The new Faculty of Health Professions welcomes students with Dr. Robert MacDonald as its first Dean.

      Faculty of Health Professions
    • 1963 Seventh president

      Dr. Henry Davies Hicks becomes Dalhousie’s seventh president. A Rhodes Scholar, lawyer, politician, Premier and first Minister of Education of Nova Scotia in the 1950s, he is the only president (to date) to become a Senator of Canada.

      Seventh president
    • 1964 First big computer

      Dalhousie gets its first big computer: an IBM 1620, which is so big and ponderous it has to be hoisted with a huge crane into the upper floor of the Dunn Buiding via the roof.

      First big computer
    • 1964 Arthur McDonald graduates

      Arthur B. McDonald, co-recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, graduates with his first Dalhousie degree (BSc'64, MSc'65).

      Arthur McDonald graduates
    • 1965 Killam endowment

      The great support of Dorothy J. Killam, in memory of Izaak Walton Killam, creates an endowment to further graduate studies. In honor of her philanthropy, the Dorothy J. Killam Memorial Lecture Series continues to bring great minds to campus every year.

      Killam endowment
    • 1967 Tupper Building

      Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, officially opens the Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building and receives an honorary degree as part of the Canadian centennial celebrations. Later the same year, the Weldon Law Building opens.

      Tupper Building
    • 1968 Construction on University Avenue

      Expansion along University Avenue includes the new Student Union Building and excavation and construction for the Killam Memorial Library and the Dalhousie Arts Centre. The grand opening of the Student Union Building is celebrated with three days of activities and the appearance of a live tiger.

      Construction on University Avenue

      Next Era The '70s (1970-1979)

    • 1970 Legal Aid Service

      Dalhousie Legal Aid Service begins as a summer project out of the former Halifax Neighbourhood Centre. It is the first legal service for the low income community in Nova Scotia and is now the oldest clinical law program in Canada. (Dalhousie Gazette v.103 i.5)

      Legal Aid Service
    • 1971 Killam Library

      Dalhousie’s Killam Memorial Library opens, now the largest academic library in Atlantic Canada with over one million books and 40,000 journals.

      Killam Library
    • 1971 Africville Relocation Report

      The Africville Relocation Report of 1971, by Don Clairmont and Dennis Magill, documents the story of the residents of Africville whose homes and lands were expropriated by the City of Halifax during the 1960s. This report continues to be a primary source for study in many areas of scholarship.

      Africville Relocation Report
    • 1971 Marshal Tito honourary degree

      Marshal of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito receives an honorary degree from Dalhousie in the first convocation at the new Dalhousie Arts Centre.

      Marshal Tito honourary degree
    • 1976 Women's Field Hockey champs

      The Dalhousie varsity field hockey team becomes the Canadian Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Union champions following an undefeated regular season.

      Women's Field Hockey champs
    • 1978 Faculty Association

      Dalhousie Faculty Association is recognized as the official bargaining unit for the faculty, with the first contract following in 1979. This recognition signifies a major change in university operations. (Dalhousie Gazette v.111 i.9)

      Faculty Association
    • 1979 Dalplex

      After years of planning–including a dispute between Dal and the City of Halifax over zoning that was heard by the Supreme Court of Canada–Dalplex, the university’s new recreation facility, opens with an innovative “air structure” roof.

      Dalplex
    • 1979 Men's Hockey silver

      For the first time in 52 years, the Dalhousie Men's Hockey team wins the Atlantic University Hockey Conference and then goes on to take silver in the nationally televised Canadian Interuniversity championship game in Montreal.

      Men's Hockey silver

      Next Era The '80s (1980-1989)

    • 1980 Eighth president

      Dr. William Andrew MacKay becomes Dalhousie's eighth president. Born in Halifax, he is the fourth Dalhousie graduate to become president. Former Dean of Law and Ombudsman of Nova Scotia, Dr. MacKay would go on to become a judge of the Federal Court of Canada.

      Eighth president
    • 1982 Women's Volleyball champs

      Tigers Women's Volleyball team wins Canadian Interuniversity Sport Championships gold. Not before (or yet) has a team from the Atlantic University Sport conference captured a national championship in volleyball.

      Women's Volleyball champs
    • 1985 CKDU

      CKDU, Dalhousie’s community radio station, hits the FM airwaves after a decade of broadcasting through closed circuit to Dal residences.

      CKDU
    • 1985 Law Library fire

      The Sir James Dunn Law Library is destroyed by fire when a lightning strike causes a short in the electrical system. The library would reopen four years later.

      Law Library fire
    • 1986 Ninth president

      Dr. Howard C. Clark begins serving as Dalhousie's ninth president. Born in New Zealand, he previously taught chemistry and held administrative posts at the Universities of Western Ontario, British Columbia, Auckland and Guelph.  (Dalhousie Gazette v.118 i.20)

      Ninth president
    • 1989 Indigenous Blacks and Mi'kmaq Initiative

      The law school establishes the Indigenous Blacks and Mi'kmaq Initiative (IB&M) program, ensuring that Mi'kmaq and African Nova Scotian students have equitable representation in the law school—and in the justice system.

      Indigenous Blacks and Mi'kmaq Initiative

      Next Era The '90s (1990-1999)

    • 1994 Women's Soccer champs

      Tigers Women's Soccer team wins Canadian Interuniversity Sport Championships gold—their first national championship in club history—after two fifteen-minute overtime halves and a sudden death shootout.

      Women's Soccer champs
    • 1995 Tenth president

      Dr. Tom Traves is installed as Dalhousie's tenth president. Dr. Traves would oversee mergers with the Technical University of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, and spearhead the $280-million Bold Ambitions fundraising campaign.

      Tenth president
    • 1995 Men's Soccer champs

      Following an undefeated regular season, the Tigers Men's Soccer team becomes the first Nova Scotia men's soccer team to win the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Championships gold.

      Men's Soccer champs
    • 1997 National Teaching Fellow

      Biology professor Thomas MacRae becomes Dalhousie's first 3M National Teaching Fellow, the only national cross-disciplinary recognition of excellence in university teaching in Canada.

      National Teaching Fellow
    • 1997 Amalgamation with TUNS

      Dalhousie amalgamates with the Technical University of Nova Scotia (TUNS), formerly the Nova Scotia Technical College, strengthening the university's ability to explore new applied technologies. This also creates a new Faculty of Computer Science. 

      Amalgamation with TUNS
    • 1999 Talloires Declaration

      Dalhousie signs the Talloires Declaration, a ten-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities. (Dalhousie Gazette v.131 i.20)

      Talloires Declaration

      Next Era The new millennium (2000-2009)

    • 2002 Agreement with Fujian University

      A 2+2 BSc Agriculture program is established with Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University in Fuzhou, China. The program welcomes Chinese students to the Nova Scotia Agricultural College for the final two years of their degree.

      Agreement with Fujian University
    • 2002 DalOUT

      DalOUT begins offering education, support, and network-building for the LGBTQ+ community at Dalhousie and beyond.

      DalOUT
    • 2003 Smoke free

      Dalhousie becomes the first smoke-free campus in Canada. More than 82 per cent of Dalhousie community members who responded supported the policy’s adoption.

      Smoke free
    • 2003 Best place for postdocs

      The Scientist magazine names Dalhousie fourth overall in the Best Places to Work for Postdocs and first among non-US institutions following their first annual survey of the postdoc community.

      Best place for postdocs
    • 2007 College of Sustainability

      A team of forward-looking professors from diverse disciplines found the College of Sustainability, and two years later launch the Environment, Sustainability and Society program, the only program of its kind in Canada and one of only two in North America.

      College of Sustainability
    • 2008 Dal Medicine New Brunswick

      An agreement signed by the Government of New Brunswick, Dalhousie University and the University of New Brunswick creates the Dalhousie Medical Program in New Brunswick. The program will enable 30 New Brunswick students a year to study medicine in their home province.

      Dal Medicine New Brunswick
    • 2009 Corporate Residency MBA

      The Faculty of Management's Corporate Residency MBA program is launched. The following year, European CEO magazine touts the faculty as the most innovative business school in Canada.

      Corporate Residency MBA

      Next Era Recent years (2010-2015)

    • 2010 Law School gift

      Seymour Schulich's donation of $20 million is the largest gift of its kind ever made to a Canadian law school. The gift funds 40 new annual scholarships, creating greater student accessibility.

      Law School gift
    • 2010 Return of Football

      The Tigers play their first home football game in 34 years thanks to Dal alum Jim Wilson (MBA ’87), who felt football would bring more school spirit to Dal. As a Club team, the Tigers are part of the Atlantic Football League.

      Return of Football
    • 2011 Atlantic Aboriginal Junior University

      The Atlantic Aboriginal Junior University begins welcoming youth from around Atlantic Canada for hands-on experiences in traditional aboriginal healing as well as introductions to the health professions.

      Atlantic Aboriginal Junior University
    • 2011 Elizabeth May elected

      Dalhousie alumna Elizabeth May (LLB’83) makes history by becoming the first Green Party candidate to be elected to the House of Commons.

      Elizabeth May elected
    • 2012 Amalgamation with NSAC

      The university amalgamates with the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro (now the Faculty of Agriculture) welcoming faculty, staff and nearly 1,000 new students into the Dalhousie family.

      Amalgamation with NSAC
    • 2012 Mona Campbell LEED Gold

      The Mona Campbell Building becomes the first LEED Gold certified university building in Atlantic Canada.

      Mona Campbell LEED Gold
    • 2013 Ocean Sciences Building

      The Steele Ocean Sciences Building is added to the west end of the Life Sciences Centre to host offices and labs for several of Dalhousie’s key oceans projects.

      Ocean Sciences Building
    • 2013 Eleventh president

      Dr. Richard Florizone begins his term as Dalhousie’s 11th president, bringing a unique mix of academic and professional skills developed through extensive experience with universities, companies and government in Canada and abroad.

      Eleventh president
    • 2015 Collaborative Health Education Building

      The Collaborative Health Education Building opens to provide an integrated learning experience for the university's 3,700 Medicine, Dentistry and Health Professions students.

      Collaborative Health Education Building

      Next Era Toward the bicentennial (2016-2018)

    • 2016 Installation of Mi’kmaq Grand Council Flag

      The Mi’kmaq Grand Council Flag is permanently installed on the Agricultural Campus in June and on Studley Campus and Sexton Campus in October. 

      Installation of Mi’kmaq Grand Council Flag
    • 2016 Ocean Frontier Institute

      The Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) is formed with the announcement that the federal government would be committing $93.7 million through its Canada First Research Excellence Fund. OFI also receives $125 million in additional support from provincial governments and partners—including a $25 million gift from business leader and philanthropist John Risley—for a total of $220 million in funding, an unprecedented investment in Canada’s ocean-science sector.

      Ocean Frontier Institute
    • 2016 IDEA project

      The $64-million IDEA project is officially announced: an extensive transformation of its downtown campus made possible by partnerships among donors, students, industry and the Government of Canada, which is contributing $32 million through its Strategic Infrastructure Fund.

      IDEA project