The University of Alberta
The University of Alberta is a public research university–now the second-largest research facility in Canada–founded in 1908 by the hard work of Alexander Cameron Rutherford (Alberta’s first Premier) and Dr. Henry Marshall Tory (a McGill University professor who would become the new university’s first president). These two men envisioned an influential, modern, centralized, and secular institution primarily focused on democratizing high-quality higher education and conducting innovative research. At the root of this vision, and the university’s very foundation, was the shared desire of Dr. Tory and Mr. Rutherford to increase prosperity for all peoples. In the words of Dr. Henry Marshall Tory, “… knowledge shall not be the concern of scholars alone. The uplifting of the whole people shall be [the university’s] final goal.”
After more than 100 years, the University of Alberta remains committed to the goals laid out by Dr. Tory while continuously reaching more people by growing in influence and international prominence. In fact, the university has been ranked consistently among the top 100 universities in the world (90th in the 2018 QS World University Rankings) and the top 5 in Canada (4th, according to the same ranking) for several years. The University of Alberta’s increasing prominence on the international stage can be seen in the fact that it has risen by 18 places since the 2012 QS World University Rankings. Astoundingly, the 2018 QS World University Rankings had 25 University of Alberta programs ranked in the top 100 worldwide for their respective fields, with 7 in the top 50.
More than just an internationally renowned research facility and post-secondary institution, the University of Alberta boasts a vibrant and rich multicultural community in which all peoples are welcomed and celebrated. In addition to hosting myriad events that promote multicultural expression and intercultural understanding, the University offers courses teaching nearly 25 unique languages, and even has its own French-language campus, Campus Saint-Jean. Thus, it is unsurprising that the University of Alberta is ranked by the Times Higher Education as the world’s 31st most international university, indicative of the university’s commitment to the prosperity of all people of the world. The highly diverse and accepting culture at the University of Alberta is further reflective of the multicultural and inclusive fabric at the very foundation of the city of Edmonton, and of Canada more broadly.
Though optimistically looking to the future, always maintaining a dedication to improve the lives of all peoples, the University of Alberta recognizes the importance of acknowledging, upholding, and learning from tradition as well. As such, it is essential to note that the University of Alberta is located on land that was a traditional gathering place of diverse Indigenous peoples, including the Cree, Blackfoot, Metis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/ Saulteaux/ Anishinaabe, Inuit, and various other groups who continue to influence and enrich the culture and community at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, in Canada, and around the world. The university is proud to be Canada’s only institution with a Faculty of Native Studies.
Edmonton, located on the North Saskatchewan River, is the capital city of the province of Alberta. Although the city was established by European colonizers with the founding of Fort Edmonton in the late eighteenth century, the land on which it stands is Treaty 6 Territory–land which has been a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples, including the Cree, Blackfoot, Metis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/ Saulteaux/Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others, for centuries.
Thanks to the Canadian Pacific Railway (among others), an abundance of fertile soil and inexpensive surrounding farmland, and its strategic position on a major river, the city of Edmonton has grown to be the second largest city in Alberta, and the fifth largest in Canada. In fact, with a metropolitan populations of over 1 300 000, Edmonton is the northernmost city with a population over one million in North America.
In addition to this large population, Edmonton is one of the fastest growing and youngest cities in Canada, while also being highly diverse. For example, in Edmonton: nearly 20% of the city’s residents were born in a foreign country, over 100 languages are spoken, and over 225 ethnic origins are represented. This remarkable cultural and linguistic diversity includes a great variety of North American Aboriginal ethnicities as well, with Edmonton hosting the second-largest (and fastest-growing) urban Indigenous population in Canada. Blessed with a multitude of influences, perspectives, and traditions from vibrant communities, cultures, and languages originating both nearby and across the globe, the people of Edmonton continue to weave together the intricate, exciting, warm and accepting multicultural tapestry which lies at the very heart of the city.
Being such a diverse and spirited city, while also having such a young and increasing population, Edmonton is one of Canada’s premiere centers for the Arts, Culture, and festivals. In fact, along with being the “City of Champions,” Edmonton is often called “Canada’s Festival City.” Regardless of the time of year, one can always find an exciting event to attend or culturally rich facility to visit.
Despite being host to one of the world’s largest shopping malls, a new state-of-the-art arena and entertainment district, and numerous annual festivals, one of Edmonton’s most famous attractions is its river valley. Edmonton’s river valley is the longest belt of connected urban parkland in North America, most of which (along with nearly all of the parkland throughout the city) is accessible by bicycle and walking trails. Consequently, despite being the fifth largest city by population in Canada, Edmonton allows its residents to remain connected to nature in a way that few cities can.