UNB Saint John

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Located: Tucker Park Campus, Saint John

English Professor John Grube teaching a literature class in what used to be a barn at the back of Beaverbrook House, 1964. UA PC 9e; Item no. 2 (44)

Opening: September 1964 (at Beaverbrook House); September 1969 (at the Tucker Park Campus)

Current Vice-President: Robert MacKinnon; for full list see Vice-Presidents (UNBSJ)

Named for: It's location in the city of Saint John, New Brunswick

History: Plans for a post-secondary institution in Saint John stem from as early as 1947, when the Saint John Board of Trade commissioned an exploratory committee to determine the feasibility of such an occurrence. In 1951, UNB began offering extension courses held at Saint John High School and St. Vincent's Convent, and a group called the "Saint John College Development Incorporated" soon began advocating for the establishment of a university or college in Saint John. After much debate, The University of New Brunswick in Saint John was established in September 1964 on the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Higher Education, chaired by Dr. John J. Deutsch. Beaverbrook House--which had previously housed the UNB Law School--was the first building to hold UNB Saint John classes, including in the barn behind the house.

The first two years of Arts and Science programs were offered by 12 faculty to 97 students. With inauspicious beginnings, UNB Saint John was known as the "sidewalk university" because classes were held throughout Saint John, including at the Old Provincial Building, the local YMCA, various high schools, the Presbyterian Church Hall, and the second floor of the Western Tire Store. In 1966 first year courses in business administration, engineering, physical education, nursing, and forestry were offered in addition to the original classes of arts and science.

Tucker Park Campus, (ca. 1969). PR; Series 1; Sub-series 2; Item 5157

The city of Saint John donated 87 acres of land, originally bequeathed to the city by Colonel Tucker, for the construction of a campus north of the city. Controversy surrounded the location of the site, with some interested parties advocating a city centre campus which would help rejuvenate Saint John's downtown sector. In the interest of potential for expansion, however, along with the desire to emulate the campus sensibilities of the Fredericton campus, the outlying Tucker Park campus was opened in 1969.

UNB Saint John experienced limited growth after the move to Tucker Park, due in part to UNB Fredericton's objections to introducing four-year degree programs in Saint John. The Senate approved full degree programs in Arts, Science, and Business Administration to be progressively introduced beginning September 1972, with the first four-year degree, a BBA, awarded in 1974. In 1976 the Senate also recognized the need for leadership on the Saint John campus and elevated the principal position to that of vice-president. The first fall Convocation held at UNB Saint John took place in 1982, and in 1986 a separate Senate was created for the Saint John campus. In that same year Saint John also started to offer graduate degree programs, though the first fully formed Masters program at UNB Saint John didn't emerge until 1992, in psychology. Enrollment grew gradually after the initial stagnation of the 1970s, and UNB Saint John now has approximately 3000 students enrolled.


  • UA Case 180; Section 4; File 1.
  • UA Case 137.
  • University Perspectives: Special Edition: The Deutsch Report. Vol. 2, no. 4, 16 October 1975.
  • McGahan, Peter. The Quiet Campus : A History of the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, 1959-1969. Fredericton: New Ireland Press, 1998
  • Montague, Susan. A Pictorial History of the University of New Brunswick. University of New Brunswick, 1992, p. 197-217.
  • UNBSJ website, [History of UNB Saint John]
  • Goss, David. Saint John Curiosities: Stories and Histories. Halifax: Nimbus Pub., 2008.

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