Queen's University

This article is about Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. For other universities with this name, see Queen's University (disambiguation).

Queen's University at Kingston
Former names
Queen's College at Kingston
Motto Latin: Sapientia et Doctrina Stabilitas
Motto in English
Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times[2]
Type Public university
Established 16 October 1841[1]
Endowment $1.036 billion[3]
Chancellor James Leech
Rector Cam Yung[4]
Principal Daniel Woolf
Academic staff
Students 24,582[5]
Undergraduates 16,339[5]
Postgraduates 4,318[5]
Other students
Location Kingston, Ontario, Canada
44°13′30″N 76°29′42″W / 44.224997°N 76.495099°W / 44.224997; -76.495099Coordinates: 44°13′30″N 76°29′42″W / 44.224997°N 76.495099°W / 44.224997; -76.495099
Campus Urban
Main campus: 40 ha (99 acres)
West campus: 27 ha (67 acres)[6]
Colours Red, Blue, and Gold[7]
33 varsity teams
Nickname Golden Gaels
Mascot Boo Hoo the Bear[8]
Affiliations ACU, ATS, AUCC, CARL, CBIE, COU, CUSID, Fields Institute, U15, MAISA, MNU, OUA
Website queensu.ca

Queen's University at Kingston[1][9][10] (commonly shortened to Queen's University or Queen's) is a public research university in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Founded on 16 October 1841 via a royal charter issued by Queen Victoria, the university predates Canada's founding by 26 years.[1] Queen's holds more than 1,400 hectares (3,500 acres) of land throughout Ontario and owns Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England.[6] Queen's is organized into ten undergraduate, graduate and professional faculties and schools.[11]

The Church of Scotland established Queen's College in 1841 with a royal charter from Queen Victoria. The first classes, intended to prepare students for the ministry, were held 7 March 1842 with 13 students and two professors.[12] Queen's was the first university west of the maritime provinces to admit women and to form a student government. In 1883, a women's college for medical education affiliated with Queen's University was established. In 1888, Queen's University began offering extension courses, becoming the first Canadian university to do so.[1] In 1912, Queen's secularized and changed to its present legal name.

Queen's is a co-educational university, with more than 23,000 students, and with over 131,000 living alumni worldwide.[5][13] Notable alumni include government officials, academics, business leaders and 57 Rhodes Scholars.[14] The university was ranked 4th in Canada by Maclean's University Ranking Guide for 2015, 206th in the 2015–2016 QS World University Rankings,[15] 201–250 in the 2016–2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings,[16] and 201–300 in the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities.[17] Queen's varsity teams, known as the Golden Gaels, compete in the Ontario University Athletics conference of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport.


Nineteenth century

Theological Hall at Queen's University
Theological Hall served as Queen's University's main building throughout the late 19th century

Queen's was a result of an outgrowth of educational initiatives planned by Presbyterians in the 1830s. A draft plan for the university was presented at a synod meeting in Kingston in 1839, with a modified bill introduced through the 13th Parliament of Upper Canada during a session in 1840.[18] On 16 October 1841, a royal charter was issued through Queen Victoria. Queen's resulted from years of effort by Presbyterians of Upper Canada to found a college for the education of ministers in the growing colony and to instruct the youth in various branches of science and literature. They modelled the university after the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow.[1] Classes began on 7 March 1842, in a small wood-frame house on the edge of the city with two professors and 15 students.[19]

The college moved several times during its first eleven years, before settling in its present location.[1] Prior to Canadian Confederation, the college was financially supported by the Presbyterian Church in Scotland, the Canadian government and private citizens. After Confederation, the college faced ruin when the federal government withdrew its funding and the Commercial Bank of the Midland District collapsed, a disaster which cost Queen's two-thirds of its endowment. The college was rescued after Principal William Snodgrass and other officials created a fundraising campaign across Canada.[1][20]

The risk of financial ruin continued to worry the administration until the century's final decade. They actively considered leaving Kingston and merging with the University of Toronto as late as the 1880s.[1] With the additional funds bequeathed from Queen's first major benefactor, Robert Sutherland, the college staved off financial failure and maintained its independence.[21] Queen's was given university status on 17 May 1881.[12] In 1883, Women's Medical College was founded at Queen's with a class of three.[12] Theological Hall, completed in 1880, originally served as Queen's main building throughout the late 19th century.[22]

Twentieth century

Aerial photo of Queen's University, 1919
Queen's University from the air 1919

In 1912, Queen's separated from the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and changed its name to Queen's University at Kingston.[1] Queen's Theological College remained in the control of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, until 1925, when it joined the United Church of Canada, where it remains today.[10] The university faced another financial crisis during World War I, from a sharp drop in enrolment due to the military enlistment of students, staff, and faculty. A $1,000,000 fundraising drive and the armistice in 1918 saved the university.[1] Approximately 1,500 students participated in the war and 187 died.[23] Months before Canada joined World War II, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, came to Queen's to accept an honorary degree and, in a broadcast heard around the world, voiced the American policy of mutual alliance and friendship with Canada.[24] During World War II, 2,917 graduates from Queen's served in the armed forces, suffering 164 fatalities.[25] The Memorial Room in Memorial Hall of the John Deutsch University Centre lists those Queen's students who died during the world wars.[26]

Queen's grew quickly after the war, propelled by the expanding postwar economy and the demographic boom that peaked in the 1960s. From 1951 to 1961, enrolment increased from just over 2,000 students to more than 3,000.[1] The university embarked on a building program, constructing five student residences in less than ten years.

Following the reorganization of legal education in Ontario in the mid-1950s, Queen's Faculty of Law opened in 1957 in the newly built John A. Macdonald Hall. Other construction projects at Queen's in the 1950s included the construction of Richardson Hall to house Queen's administrative offices, and Dunning Hall.[1] By the end of the 1960s, like many other universities in Canada, Queen's tripled its enrolment and greatly expanded its faculty, staff, and facilities, as a result of the baby boom and generous support from the public sector. By the mid-1970s, the number of full-time students had reached 10,000.[1] Among the new facilities were three more residences and separate buildings for the Departments of Mathematics, Physics, Biology and Psychology, Social Sciences and the Humanities.

During this period Schools of Music, Public Administration (now part of Policy Studies), Rehabilitation Therapy, and Urban and Regional Planning were established at Queen's. The establishment of the Faculty of Education in 1968 on land about a kilometre west of the university inaugurated the university's west campus.[1]

Franklin D. Roosevelt speaking at Queen's University
US President Franklin D. Roosevelt speaking at Queen's after receiving his honorary degree

Queen's celebrated its sesquicentennial anniversary in 1991, and was visited by Charles, Prince of Wales, and his then wife, Diana, to mark the occasion. The Prince of Wales presented a replica of the 1841 Royal Charter granted by Queen Victoria, which had established the university; the replica is displayed in the John Deutsch University Centre.[27] The first female chancellor of Queen's University, Agnes Richardson Benidickson, was installed on 23 October 1980.[12] In 1993, Queen's received Herstmonceux Castle as a donation from alumnus Alfred Bader. The castle is used by the university as the Bader International Study Centre.[28]

Twenty-first century

In 2001 the Senate Educational Equity Committee (SEEC) studied the experiences of visible minority and Aboriginal faculty members at Queen's after a black female professor left, alleging that she had experienced racism.[29] Following this survey SEEC commissioned a study which found that many perceived a 'Culture of Whiteness' at the university.[30] The report concluded that “white privilege and power continues to be reflected in the Eurocentric curricula, traditional pedagogical approaches, hiring, promotion and tenure practices, and opportunities for research” at Queen’s.[31] The university's response to the report is the subject of continuing debate.[32] The administration implemented measures to promote diversity beginning in 2006, such as the position of diversity advisor and the hiring of "dialogue monitors" to facilitate discussions on social justice.[29]

In May 2010, Queen's University joined the Matariki Network of Universities, an international group of universities created in 2010, which focuses on strong links between research and undergraduate teaching.[33][34]


Grant Hall at Queen's University
Grant Hall has been considered the university's most recognized landmark since its completion in 1905.[35]

The university grounds lies within the neighbourhood of Queen's in the city of Kingston, Ontario.[36] The university's main campus is bordered to the south by Lake Ontario, Kingston General Hospital to the southeast, city parks to the east, and by residential neighbourhoods, known as the Kingston student ghetto or the university district, in all other directions. The campus grew to its present size of 40 ha (99 acres) through gradual acquisitions of adjacent private lands, and remains the university's largest landholding. The campus's original site and holds the majority of its facilities. In addition to its main campus in Kingston, Queen's owns several other properties around Kingston, as well as in Central Frontenac Township, Ontario, Rideau Lakes, Ontario, and East Sussex, England.[6]

The buildings at Queen's vary in age, from Summerhill which opened in 1839, to the new Queen's School of Medicine building, which opened in 2011.[37][38] Grant Hall, completed in 1905, is considered the university's most recognizable landmark. It is named after Rev. George Munro Grant who served as Queen's seventh principal. The building is used to host concerts, lectures, meetings, exams, and convocations.[35] Two buildings owned and managed by the university have been listed as National Historic Sites of Canada. The Kingston General Hospital is the oldest operating public hospital in Canada.[39] The Roselawn House, which is located east of the west campus, is the core component of the university's Donald Gordon Centre.[40][41]

Libraries, museums and galleries

Joseph S. Stauffer Library at Queen's University
Joseph S. Stauffer Library is the largest library at the university, and holds the main collection for humanities and social science.

Queen's University Libraries include six campus libraries in five facilities housing 2.2 million physical items and 400,000 electronic resources, including e-books, serial titles and databases. The library's budget in 2007–2008 was $18.1 million, with $9.8 million dedicated to acquisitions.[42] The libraries are Bracken Health Sciences Library, Education Library,[43] Lederman Law Library, Stauffer Humanities and Social Sciences Library and Engineering & Science Library. The W.D. Jordan Special Collections and Music Library notably harbors early-dated books from 1475 to 1700.[44] The Engineering & Science Library and the W.D. Jordan Library Special Collections and Music Library share facilities, known as Douglas Library.[43]

Queen's operates the Miller Museum of Geology, an earth-science teaching museum which features an Earth Science and Geological Collections of 10 000 Minerals, and 865 fossils as well as an exhibit of the geology of the Kingston area. The museum is largely used as an earth-science teaching museum for local schools and natural-science interest groups in eastern Ontario.[45] The permanent exhibits feature dinosaurs, dinosaur eggs, fossils of early multi-celled animals and land tracks fossilized from 500 million years ago.[46]

Queen's art collections are housed at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.[47] The art centre owes its namesake to Agnes Etherington, whose house was donated to the university and is being used as an art museum.[48] Opened in 1957, it contains over 14,000 works of art, including works by Rembrandt, and Inuit art. The Union Gallery, an art gallery opened in 1994, is run by the university's student body and faculty. The gallery is dedicated to the promotion of contemporary art.[49]

Housing and student facilities

The university has eighteen student residences: Adelaide Hall, Ban Righ Hall, Brant House, Chown Hall, Gordon House, Brockington House, Graduate Residence, Harkness Hall, John Orr Tower Apartments, Leggett Hall, Leonard Hall, McNeill House, Morris Hall, Smith House, Victoria Hall, Waldron Tower, Watts Hall and Jean Royce Hall.[50] The largest is Victoria Hall, built in 1965, which houses nearly 900 students.[51] In September 2010, 83.3 percent of first-year students lived on campus, part of the 26 percent of the overall undergraduate population which lived on campus.[52] Residents were represented by two groups, the Main Campus Residents' Council, which represents the main campus, and the Jean Royce Hall Council, which represents the west campus (Jean Royce Hall, Harkness International Hall and the Graduate Residence). They were responsible for representing resident concerns, providing entertainment services, organizing events and upholding rules and regulations. In 2012, the Main Campus and Jean Royce Hall Residents' Councils were amalgamated into one organization, called ResSoc, standing for Residence Society.[53]

The Student Life Centre is the centre of student governance and student directed social, cultural, entertainment and recreational activities. The Student Life Centre consists of the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC), Grey House, Carruthers Hall, Queen’s Journal House, MacGillivray-Brown Hall, and the non-athletic sections of Queen's Centre. Collectively, these buildings provide 10,500 square metres (113,000 sq ft) of space to the Queen's community.[54] The JDUC contains the offices of a number of student organizations, including the Alma Mater Society of Queen's University, as well as retail and food services.[55] The university has twenty-one food outlets located throughout the campus, as well as three major residence dining facilities.[56]

Off-campus facilities

Herstmonceux Castle, which houses the Bader International Study Centre

Queen's has off-campus faculties located in the Kingston area and abroad. The university has a second campus located in Kingston, known as the west campus. The west campus, acquired in 1969, is 2 km (1.2 mi) west of the main campus, and covers 27 ha (67 acres) of land. The west campus has two student residences, the Faculty of Education, the Coastal Engineering Lab, and several athletic facilities, including the Richardson Memorial Stadium.[57] In May 2007, the university approved the designs for the Isabel Bader Centre for Performing Arts, also located in Kingston. The new centre for performing arts was expected to open in 2014.[58]

The university owns a research facility in Rideau Lakes, Ontario, known as the Queen's University Biological Station. Opened during the 1950s, the field station encompasses approximately 3,000 ha (7,400 acres) of property, a range of habitat types typical of Eastern Ontario, and many species of conservation concern in Canada.[59]

Queen’s has an agreement with Novelis Inc. to acquire a 20-hectare (49-acre) property adjacent to the company's research and development centre in Kingston.[60] The agreement is part of the plan to establish an innovative technology park located at the corner of Princess and Concession streets, which is to be called Innovation Park at Queen's University. The property was acquired for $5.3 million, a portion of the $21 million grant Queen's received from the Ontario government last spring to pioneer this innovative new regional R&D "co-location" model.[60] Queen's leases approximately 7,900 square metres (85,000 sq ft) of the Novelis R&D facilities to accommodate faculty-led research projects that have industrial partners and small and medium-size companies with a research focus and a desire to interact with Queen's researchers. The remainder of the government funds support further development of the technology park to transform the property into a welcoming and dynamic site for business expansion and relocation.[60]

The Bader International Study Centre (BISC) is housed in Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex, England, which was donated to Queen's in 1993 by alumnus Alfred Bader.[28] BISC is academically fully integrated with Queen's, although financially self-sufficient. Its mission is to provide academic programs for undergraduate students whose academic interests are oriented toward the United Kingdom, Europe and the European Union, continuing-education programs for executives and other professional or “special interest” groups, a venue for conferences and meetings, a base for international graduate students and other scholars undertaking research in the United Kingdom and Europe and as an enhanced educational, social and cultural environment for the local community, using the unique heritage of the castle.[61] The opportunity to study at the BISC is not limited to Queen's students. Queen's has academic exchange agreements with Canadian and foreign universities.[62]


Queen's Sustainability Office, which was created in 2008, is charged with the university's green initiatives and creating awareness about environmental issues.[63] The office is headed by a Sustainability Manager, who works with the university, external community groups and the government. In 2009, with the signing of the agreement, the Ontario Universities Committed to a Greener World, Queen's had pledged to transform its campus into a model of environmental responsibility.[64] Queen's was the second Ontario university to sign the University and College Presidents’ Climate Change Statement of Action for Canada, in 2010.[65][66]

The university campus received a B grade from the Sustainable Endowments Institute on its College Sustainability Report Card for 2011.[67]


Academics at Queen's is organized into ten undergraduate, graduate and professional faculties and schools.[11] The governance of the university is conducted through the Board of Trustees, the Senate, and the University Council, all three of which were established under the Royal Charter of 1841.[9] The Board is responsible for the university's conduct and management and its property, revenues, business, and affairs.[68] Ex officio governors of the Board include the university's chancellor, principal and the rector. The Board has 34 other trustees, 33 of which are elected by the various members of the university community, including elected representatives from the student body. The representative from Queen's Theological College is the only appointed trustee.[68]

The Senate is responsible for determining all academic matters affecting the university as a whole, including student discipline.[69] The Senate consists of 17 ex officio positions granted to the principal and vice-chancellor, the vice-principals of the university, the senior dean of each faculty, dean of student affairs, the deputy provost, and the presidents of the undergraduate, graduate and faculty associations. The Senate also consists of 55 other members, appointed or elected by various communities of the university including elected representatives of the student body.[69]

Gordon Hall at Queen's University
Gordon Hall houses many of Queen's administrative offices.

The Royal Charter of 1841 was amended to include the University Council in 1874. The Council is a composite of the Board of Trustees, senators and an equal number of elected graduates. It serves as both an advisory and an ambassadorial body to the university as a whole and is responsible for the election of the chancellor.[70] Although it is not directly involved in operations, the Council may bring to the Senate or Board of Trustees any matter that it believes affects Queen's well-being. The Council meets once per year, typically in May.[70]

The Chancellor is the highest officer and the ceremonial head of the university. The office was created in 1874 and first filled in 1877, although it was only enshrined in law in 1882 after its amendment into the Royal Charter of 1841. The responsibilities of the chancellor includes presiding over convocations, conferring degrees, chairing the annual meetings of the Council and is an ex officio, voting member of the Board of Trustees. A person is elected to the office of chancellor on a three-year term by the Council unless there is more than one candidate, in which case an election is conducted among Queen's graduates.[71]

The Principal acts as the chief executive officer of the university under the authority of the Board and the Senate, and supervises and directs the academic and administrative work of the university and of its teaching and non-teaching staff.[9] Since 1974, principals have been appointed for five-year terms, renewable subject to review. The formal authority for the appointment of the Principal rests under the Royal Charter with the Board of Trustees although recent principals have been selected by a joint committee of trustees and senators.[72] Daniel Woolf has served as the twentieth principal, serving since 1 September 2009.[73] The office of the vice-chancellor has typically been held by the incumbent principal. In 1961, an amendment was secured by the Board to separate the office of principal from vice-chancellor if it wished. The first, and only person to ever hold the office of vice-chancellor, but not the office of principal, was William Archibald Mackintosh.[74]


The university completed the 2011–12 year with revenues of $769.9 million and expenses of $773.3 million, yielding a deficit of $3.4 million. Government grants made up 48 percent of the 2011–12 operating budget. Student fees made up 28 percent of the 2010–11 operating budget.[75] As of 30 April 2012, Queen's endowment was valued at C$584.4 million.[75]

The university has been registered as an educational charitable organization by Canada Revenue Agency since 1 January 1967. As of 2011, the university registered primarily as a post-secondary institution, with 70 percent of the charity dedicated to management and maintenance. The charity has 21 percent dedicated towards research, while the remaining 8 percent has been dedicated towards awards, bursaries and scholarships. Proceeds from the charity also go toward Queen's Theological College (as an affiliated college) and the Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceaux Castle.[76]


Queen's is a publicly funded research university, and a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.[77][78] The full-time undergraduate programs comprise the majority of the school's enrolment, made up of 16,339 full-time undergraduate students.[5] In 2009 the two largest programs by enrolment were the social sciences, with 3,286 full-time and part-time students, followed by engineering, with 3,097 full-time and part-time students.[79] The university conferred 3,232 bachelor's degrees, 153 doctoral degrees, 1,142 master's degrees, and 721 first professional degrees in 2008–2009.[80]


University rankings
Global rankings
ARWU World[17] 201–300
QS World[15] 223
Times World[81] 201–250
US News and World Report Global[82] 310
Canadian rankings
ARWU National[17] 7–16
QS National[83] 10
Times National[81] 9–11
US News and World Report National[82] 14
Maclean's Medical/Doctoral[84] 4
Maclean's Reputation[85] 6

Queen's University has consistently been ranked one of Canada's top universities. The 2016–2017 QS World University Rankings ranked the university 223rd in the world, and the tenth in Canada.[86] In the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) rankings, the university ranked 201–300th in the world and ranked 8–16 in Canada.[87] The 2016–2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed Queen's 201–250th in the world.[88] In terms of national rankings, Maclean's ranked Queen's 4th in their 2017 Medical Doctoral university rankings,[89] and 6th in terms of reputation nationally.[90] Queen's University Faculty of Law was ranked third nationally in Maclean's 2013 rankings for common law schools in Canada.[91]

The Queen's School of Business has received significant recognition in the past years. The School of Business placed 48th in the world, in the 2012 Business Insiders business school rankings.[92] In Eduniversal's 2012 ranking of business schools, the School of Business was rated as a 5 palmes business school, placing the school 37th globally, and fourth nationally.[93] In the 2011 edition of Mines ParisTech's evaluation of universities, The Schoolv of Business was also found to have the most number of graduates employed as Chief Executive Officers (or equivalent) in a Fortune Global 500, out of any university in Canada, and 38th globally.[94] Queen's had also ranked 90th in the world, and first in Canada in the 2013 Times Higher Education Alma Mater Index, which ranks institutions by the number of degrees they have awarded to CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies.[95] In an employability survey published by the New York Times in October 2011, when CEOs and chairpersons were asked to select the top universities which they recruited from, the university placed 74th in the world, and fifth in Canada.[96] In Bloomberg L.P.'s 2014 rankings of business schools, the school ranked second in Canada, and 10th out of all business schools outside the United States.[97]

The full-time MBA program at Queen's has also received significant recognition. In Bloomberg's 2014 rankings of MBA programmes outside the United States, the school was ranked ninth, and second in Canada.[98] The QS ranking of North American MBA programs placed the School of Business 16th in North America, and 3rd in Canada.[99] In the Financial Times rankings on EMBA programs, Queen's joint degree business programs with Cornell University's Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management was ranked 45th in the world. In the same rankings, the Financial Times ranked the Queen's School of Business's individual EMBA program 92nd in the world, and fourth in Canada.[100] The Queen's Economics Department is ranked first in Canada and 24th in the world based on the publication records of its graduate students.[101]


In Research Infosource's 2011 ranking of Canada's 50 top research universities, Queen's ranked 11th, with sponsored research income of $197.016 million. With an average of $237,900 per faculty member, Queen's ranked Canada's sixth most research-intensive university.[102] The federal government is the largest funding source, providing 49.8 percent of Queen's research budget, primarily through grants. Corporations contribute another 26.3 percent of the research budget.[103] In terms of research performance, High Impact Universities 2010 ranked Queen's 185th out of 500 universities.[104] The Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan (HEEACT), an organization which evaluates universities based on the performance of scientific papers, ranked Queen's 272nd.[105]

The university operates six research centres and institutes, the Centre for Neuroscience Studies, GeoEngeering Centre, High Performance Computing Virtual Laboratory, Human Mobility Research Centre, Sudbury Neutrino Observatory Institute, and the Southern African Research Centre.[106] The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory's director, Arthur B. McDonald, is a member of the university's physics department. The observatory managed the SNO experiment, which demonstrated that the solution to the solar neutrino problem was that neutrinos change flavour (type) as they propagate through the Sun. The SNO experiment proved that a non-zero mass neutrino exists. This was a major breakthrough in cosmology.[107] A research paper published on 17 October 2013 has offered new perspectives on the star death. These astronomers believe that "the brightest exploding stars, called super-luminous supernovae, are powered by magnetars—small and incredibly dense neutron stars, with gigantic magnetic fields.[108][109] In October 2015, Arthur B. McDonald and Takaaki Kajita (University of Tokyo) jointly received the Nobel Prize in Physics for illustration of neutrino change identities and identification of mass.[110] This is the first Nobel Prize awarded to a Queen's University researcher.[111] In 1976 urologist Alvaro Morales, along with his colleagues, developed the first clinically effective immunotherapy for cancer by adapting the Bacille Calmette-Guérin tuberculosis vaccine for treatment of early stage bladder cancer.[112]

Queen's University has a joint venture with McGill University, operating an academic publishing house known as the McGill-Queen's University Press. It publishes original peer-reviewed and books in all areas of the social sciences and humanities. While the press's emphasis is on providing an outlet for Canadian authors and scholarship, the press also publishes authors throughout the world.[113] The press has over 2,800 books in print.[114] The publishing house was known as the McGill University Press in 1963 prior to it amalgamating with Queen's in 1969.[115]


The requirements for admission differ between students from Ontario, other provinces in Canada, and international students due to the lack of uniformity in marking schemes. In 2013, 29% of applications to full-time, first-year studies were accepted.[116] In 2014, 66 transfer students were admitted from a pool of 600 making its acceptance rate 11% for those who had attended other post-secondary institutions.[117] In 2013, the secondary school average for full-time first-year students at Queen's was 89% overall, with the Commerce, Education and Engineering faculties having the highest entrance averages at 91.7%, 90.8%, and 90.6% respectively.[118] The application process emphasizes the mandatory Personal Statement of Experience (PSE). The statement expresses how the applicant's personal experiences may contribute to the university. It focuses on qualifications and involvement outside of academics and is an important factor in determining admission. Several faculties require applicants to submit a supplementary essay.[119]

Students may apply for financial aid such as the Ontario Student Assistance Program and Canada Student Loans and Grants through the federal and provincial governments. The financial aid provided may come in the form of loans, grants, bursaries, scholarships, fellowships, debt reduction, interest relief, and work programs.[120] In the 2010–11 academic year, Queen's provided $36.5 million worth of student need-based and merit-based financial assistance.[75]

Student life

Frosh Week festivities at Queen's University

The student body of Queen's is represented by two students' unions, the Alma Mater Society (AMS) for all undergraduate students and the Society of Graduate and Professional Students for graduate students.[121][122] The AMS of Queen's University is the oldest undergraduate student government in Canada.[121] The AMS recognizes more than 200 student clubs and organizations.[123] All accredited extracurricular organizations at Queen's fall under the jurisdiction of either the AMS, or the Society of Graduate and Professional Students.[124] The organizations and clubs accredited at Queen's cover a wide range of interests including academics, culture, religion, social issues, and recreation. The oldest accredited club at Queen's is the Queen's Debating Union, which was formed in 1843 as the Dialectic Society.[125][126] The Dialectic Society served as a form of student government, until the AMS was formed from the dialectic society in 1858.[127] The Queen's Bands is a student marching band founded in 1905, which claims to be the largest and oldest student marching band in Canada.[128] Fraternities and sororities have been banned at the university, since a ruling made by the AMS in 1933. The ruling was passed in response to the formation of two fraternities in the 1920s. No accredited sororities have ever existed at Queen's.[129]

The AMS also manages the Student Constable peer to peer security service at the university. They are responsible for ensuring the safety of patrons and staff at sanctioned events and venues across the campus, enforcing governing regulations of the AMS and uphold regulations stipulated in the Liquor Licence Act of Ontario.[130] Student Constables do not serve as the university's primary security service as they are legally not peace officers, nor are they registered as a private security service under the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. The university's administration operates its own security service which is registered in Ontario as a private security service.[131][132] As of March 2012, the Student Constables are funded through a mandatory $10 fee levied on undergraduates annually by the AMS.[133]

The Agnes Benidickson Tricolour Award and induction in the Tricolour Society is the highest tribute that can be paid to a student for valuable and distinguished service to the University in non-athletic, extra-curricular activities.[134]


Queen's University's student population operates a number of media outlets throughout the campus environment. The Queen's Journal is Queen's main student newspaper. During the academic year, the Queen's Journal publishes two issues a week, until the last month of the semester, when only one issue is published each week. In total the Queen's Journal publishes 40 issues a year. The newspaper was established in 1873, making it one of the oldest student newspapers in Canada.[135] The other weekly student publication from Queen's is the Golden Words, a weekly satirical humour publication managed by the Engineering Society.[136]

Queen's student population runs a radio station, CFRC. Queen's radio station is the longest running campus-based broadcaster in the world, and the second-longest-running radio station in the world, surpassed only by the Marconi companies. The first public broadcast of the station was on 27 October 1923 when the football game between Queen's and McGill was called play-by-play. Since 2001, the station has broadcast on a 24-hour schedule.[137] Since 1980, the university has had a student-run television service, known as Queen's TV. The television station airs every weekday on its website, and every Wednesday on local television.[138]


Richardson Memorial Stadium at Queen's University
Richardson Memorial Stadium is the home to Queen's varsity football team.
Main article: Queen's Golden Gaels

Sport teams at Queen's University are known as the Golden Gaels. The Golden Gaels sports teams participate in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport's Ontario University Athletics conference for most varsity sports. Varsity teams at Queen's include basketball, cross country, Canadian football, ice hockey, rowing, rugby, soccer and volleyball. The Men's Rugby team has won the OUA Championship the past 4 years (2012–16)[139] The athletics program at Queen's University dates back to 1873. With 39 regional and national championships, Queen's football program has secured more championships than any other sport team at Queen's, and more than any other football team in Canada.[140] Queen's and the University of Toronto are the only universities to have claimed Grey Cups (1922, 1923 and 1924), now the championship trophy for the Canadian Football League. Queen’s also competed for the Stanley Cup in 1894–95, 1898–99 and 1905–06.[140]

Queen's University has a number of athletic facilities open to both their varsity teams as well as to their students. The stadium with the largest seating capacity at Queen's is Richardson Memorial Stadium. Built in 1971, the stadium seats 8,500[141] and is home to the varsity football team.[142] The stadium has also played host for a number of international games including Canada's second round 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification games and the inaugural match for the Colonial Cup, an international rugby league challenge match.[143] The stadium is set to re-open for its inaugural football game on September 17, 2016 after an extensive revitalization.[144] Other athletic facilities at Queen's include the Athletic and Recreation Centre, which houses a number of gymnasiums and pools; Tindall Field, a multi-season playing field and jogging track; Nixon Field, home to the school's rugby teams; and West Campus Fields, which is used by a number of varsity teams and student intramural leagues.[145][146][147][148]


Queen's maintains an academic and athletic rivalry with McGill University in Montreal. Competition between rowing athletes at the two schools has inspired an annual boat race between the two universities in the spring of each year since 1997, inspired by the famous Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race.[149] The football rivalry, which started in 1884, ended after Canadian university athletic divisions were re-organized in 2000; the Ontario-Quebec Intercollegiate Football Conference was divided into Ontario University Athletics and Quebec Student Sports Federation.[150] The rivalry returned in 2002 when it transferred to the annual home-and-home hockey games between the two institutions. Queen's students refer to these matches as "Kill McGill" games, and usually show up in Montreal in atypically large numbers to cheer on the Queen's Golden Gaels hockey team.[151] In 2007, McGill students arrived in bus-loads to cheer on the McGill Redmen, occupying a third of Queen's Jock Harty Arena.[152] The two schools jointly operate the McGill-Queen's University Press.

The school also competes in the annual "Old Four (IV)" soccer tournament, with McGill University, the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario.[153]

Insignias and other representations

Coat of Arms

The coat of arms appeared as early as 1850, but was not registered with the College of Arms until 1953. The coat of arms was registered with the Scottish equivalent of the College of Arms, the Lord Lyon King of Arms, in 1981 and with the Canadian Heraldic Authority during Queen's sesquicentennial celebrations in 1991. The coat of arms is based on that of the University of Edinburgh, the institution after which Queen's was modelled.[154]

The Coat of Arms consists of a gold shield with red edges, divided into four triangular compartments by a blue, diagonal St. Andrew's Cross. A golden book, symbolizing learning, sits open at the centre of the cross. In each of the four compartments is an emblem of the university's Canadian and British origins: a pine tree for Canada, a thistle for Scotland, a rose for England, and a shamrock for Ireland. The border is decorated with eight gold crowns, symbolic of Queen Victoria and the university's Royal Charter.[154]

Motto and song

Queen's motto, chosen from Isaiah 33:6 is Sapientia et Doctrina Stabilitas. The Latin motto is literally translated as "Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times," and has been in use since the 1850s.[2] A number of songs are commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement, convocation, and athletic contests, including the "Queen's College Colours" (1897) also known as "Our University Yell" and "Oil Thigh", with words by A.E. Lavell, sung to the tune 'John Brown's Body'.[155] Oil Thigh, which was created in 1891, consists of the old song "Queen's College Colours". The name "Oil Thigh" comes from the chorus of the song, which begins with the Gaelic words oil thigh. The modern version of the song was crafted in 1985, when a line was changed to include Queen's woman athletes in the cheer.[156]


Flag of Queen's University
Blue, gold and red are the official colours of the university, and can be seen on its flag.

Queen's official colours are gold, blue, and red.[157] Queen's colours are also used on the school flag. It displays three vertical stripes one for each colour. In the upper left corner on the blue stripe is a crown in yellow symbolizing the royal charter.[158] The university also has a ceremonial flag, which is reserved for official university uses. The ceremonial flag is a square design of the Queen's coat of arms.[159]

The university also has a tartan made up of six colours, each representing an academic discipline: blue (medicine), red (arts & science), gold (applied science), white (nursing science), maroon (commerce & MBA), light blue (Kinesiology and Physical Education), and Purple (theology). The tartan was created in 1966 by Judge John Matheson and is registered under the Scottish Tartans Authority.[160]

Notable people

Queen's graduates have found success in a variety of fields, heading diverse institutions in the public and private sectors. In 2011, there were over 131,000 alumni, living in 156 countries.[161] Queen's faculty and graduates have won many awards including the Nobel Prize, Turing Award and the Victoria Cross.[162][163] As of 2016, 57 Queen's students and graduates had been awarded the Rhodes Scholarship.[14]

Two Nobel laureates are associated with the university, including faculty member Arthur B. McDonald, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics for fundamental research elucidating neutrino change identities and mass;[110] and former National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at Queen's, Sir Fraser Stoddart, awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for the design and synthesis of molecular machines".[164][165] Other notable alumnus include Adolfo de Bold, who won the Gairdner Foundation Award for the discovery and isolation of atrial natriuretic peptide.[166] Sandford Fleming, an engineer and inventor who was known for proposing worldwide standard time zones also served as the Chancellor of the university.[167]

Notable politicians who were once Chancellor include Robert Borden, Prime Minister of Canada, Roland Michener, Governor General of Canada, and provincial premiers Peter Lougheed and Charles Avery Dunning.[168][169][170][171] Many alumni have gained international prominence for serving in government, such as Prince Takamado, member of the Imperial House of Japan;[172] and Kenneth O. Hall, formerly Governor General of Jamaica.[173] The 28th Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, was a former graduate and faculty member of the university.[174] Three Canadian premiers graduated from Queen's, William Aberhart, the 7th Premier of Alberta, Frank McKenna, the 27th Premier of New Brunswick, and Kathleen Wynne, the 25th Premier of Ontario.[175][176] The 14th Premier of Alberta, Alison Redford studied at the university for two years.[177] Thomas Cromwell, a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada was also a graduate from the university.[178]

Business leaders who studied at Queen's include Derek Burney, former chairman and CEO of Bell Canada,[179] Donald J. Carty, chairman of Virgin America and Porter Airlines and former chairman and CEO of AMR Corporation,[180] Earle McLaughlin, former president and CEO of Royal Bank of Canada,[181] Gordon Nixon, president and CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada,[182] and Elon and Kimbal Musk, founders of OneRiot, SpaceX and Tesla Motors.[183][184] David A. Dodge, the former Governor of the Bank of Canada and the university's chancellor is similarly a Queen's graduate.[185]

See also


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