OTD: Bishop’s College gains university charter

On today’s date in 1852, Bishop’s College in Lennoxville, Qué., received a university charter.

The following January, Queen Victoria authorized Bishop’s to grant the degrees of “Bachelor, Master, and Doctor, in the several arts and the faculties of Divinity, Law and Medicine.” It was decreed the college “shall be deemed and taken to be a university,” and its name was changed to the University of Bishop’s College.

Two years later, Bishop’s granted its first degrees, these in arts and divinity.

About a century later, in 1958, the school became Bishop’s University.


Founded in 1843 under the sponsorship of the Anglican Bishop of Quebec, Bishop’s College provided training for the clergy and to offer a liberal education to the country at large.

The school’s first building, consisting of the five central bays of what is now McGreer Hall, was erected in 1846.

In 1891, Bishop’s became the first university in Quebec to grant a medical degree to a woman. Three years later, another medical degree was granted to Maude Abbott, who became famous for her medical histories and her work in the area of congenital heart disease.

Abbott was later commemorated in Canada Post’s 1999 Millennium Collection “Medical Innovators” set.


In 2003, the school was commemorated as part of a series of university stamps designed by Denis L’Allier, of Montreal.

These stamps share several common elements, including the respective school’s colours, a campus building or landmark, the institution’s coat-of-arms and a tassel.

The Bishop’s stamp features McGreer Hall.


In 1947, the University of Bishop’s College was secularized and reconstituted as a non-denominational body.

Today, the school offers its undergraduates programs in arts, science, education and business administration. The campus occupies 500 acres at the junction of the St. Francis and Massawippi Rivers in Lennoxville. Full-time undergraduates number about 2,400 with an additional 350 part-time undergrads.

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