The University of Prince Edward Island has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence dating back to the early 19th century, with roots in its founding institutions, Prince of Wales College (PWC) and St. Dunstan’s University (SDU). UPEI esteems this heritage and proudly embodies historic symbols of SDU and PWC in positions of honour within the shield that anchors the University’s official coat of arms and flag.
The commitment to education as a primary factor in PEI’s development can be traced to debates of the colony’s earliest legislative council. A particular champion was Lieutenant-Governor Edmund Fanning (1786–1805). Fanning actively promoted the view that education was central to the colony’s progress, and that it should be seen as a priority, along with the enhancement of agriculture, fisheries, commerce, and population growth. In 1804, he personally donated the land on which PWC was to stand “for the purpose of laying the foundation of a College thereon.” Kent College, later to become Prince of Wales College, opened in 1820. A related predecessor institution, Central Academy, received a Royal Charter in 1834. In 1860 the Colleges were renamed for the Prince of Wales in honour of the visit of the future King Edward VII.
The predecessor of St. Dunstan’s University, St. Andrew’s College, was founded in 1831 under the leadership of Bishop Angus MacEachern. St. Dunstan’s College was established in 1855 by Bishop Bernard MacDonald on a large farming property which today is surrounded by the expanding city of Charlottetown. This property, including the historic Main Building constructed in 1854, serves as the UPEI campus. The campus is well-known for its respectfully maintained historic architecture, complementary modern structures, and for its red-brick, well-manicured appearance.
In 1969, the University of Prince Edward Island welcomed its first students, following the amalgamation of Prince of Wales College and St. Dunstan's University.
The University’s campus is a reflection of the character of UPEI on many levels—a complementary blend of old and new, of tradition and innovation. Original SDU buildings have been renovated tastefully to retain integrity of design while meeting modern standards, and many buildings have been integrated into the campus, including the Central Utility Building (1973), Blanchard Hall (1973), the Robertson Library (1975), the Atlantic Veterinary College (1986), the Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre (1990), the Wanda Wyatt Dining Hall (1990), the K.C. Irving Chemistry Centre (1997), the W. A. Murphy Student Centre (2002), Bill and Denise Andrew Hall (2006), the School of Business Administration and Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (2008), the Health Sciences Building (2012), and the School of Sustainable Design Engineering (2016).
The University of Prince Edward Island will be a leader in delivering outstanding experiential learning opportunities that encourage our students to develop to their full potential in both the classroom and the community. Driven by discovery, UPEI will be a destination for those eager to advance our world by creating new knowledge. Together, we will foster the development of tomorrow’s leaders who will emerge from their studies ready to excel and contribute to the betterment of our global and local communities.
Mission and Goals
The University of Prince Edward Island, founded on the tradition of liberal education, exists to encourage and assist people to acquire the skills, knowledge, and understanding necessary for critical and creative thinking, and thus prepare them to contribute to their own betterment and that of society through the development of their full potential. To accomplish these ends, the University is a community of scholars whose primary tasks are to teach and to learn, to engage in scholarship and research, and to offer service for the benefit of our Island and beyond.
This school offers programs in: