University History 1980s

Saint Mary's hosts the Pan Am Wheelchair Games, the Gorsebrook Research Institute opens, the Tower athletic facility is built, and student enrollment almost doubles.

Look at covers of Saint Mary's publications from this time period. Visit the for many 
more copies of the Journal as well as other university publications...


March 3, 1982

Sept. 25, 1986

Feb. 11, 1988



Co-operative education programs are established by the departments of Geography and Sociology.


Astroturf is added to Huskies Stadium, the first artificial turf in Atlantic Canada.


The Gorsebrook Research Institute for Atlantic Canada Studies is established.

August, 1982

Saint Mary's hosts the Pan Am Wheelchair Games.


The Computer Science program begins.


Numerous student societies are formed including the Chemistry, Debating, English, Freshman, Marketing, Sociology, Math, and Philosophy Societies, as well as the Arts Students Assembly and the Christian Fellowship.

February 1985

Quality of Teaching Committee established.

October 9, 1986

Atlantic Centre of Research, Access and Support for Disabled Students opens.

September 19, 1987

The Tower Athletics and Recreation Centre opens.


C. Henry Reardon Medical centre established in the Student Centre.

September 1989

Saint Mary's opens an office in the Halifax World Trade and Convention Centre.

200th Anniversary Oral History Interviews

Subject: Andrew T. Seaman
Interviewer: Angela Baker
File Size: 330k megs
Time: 1 minute 43 seconds

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Building the Tower

"The government support for students, the per capita grants and so on, haven't gone up at anything like the rate salaries and the cost of running the university have gone up, so that St. Mary's literally has had to expand without increasing its faculty a great deal in order to simply keep level, to balance the books.

"Mind you St. Mary's has managed to balance the books all the way through these years, even when we built the Tower. I was on the building committee. I was a member of the Board of Governors at the time. I was on the building committee for the Tower, and I think that a really good job was done on that. We had some pretty informed members of the Board who were pretty shrewd about getting the right architect and the right company and the rest of it. We built it for a good price and at the time had to borrow some money in order to complete it but they knew where the money was going to come from - pledges and the financial campaign and so on. The money did materialize and that small deficit was paid off again, so really Saint Mary's University has no capital debt and I think it is one of the few universities to come close to that. It's been fairly shrewdly administered financially and a lot of the credit goes to Guy Newell."

(Andy Seaman, English Professor from 1966 to 2001 as well as a member of the Board and Senate and Acting VP Academic. Recorded as part of the Summer Research Interviews, June 14, 1993. Archives Record 1999.21)

A Busy Year for the Student's Association

"1985-1986 marked the first year in five years that the SMUSA (Saint Mary's University Student's Association) executive and President served the full term. New services and programs topped our list of priorities.

"The year saw the implementations of a free weekly movie series, a free lecture series, the establishment of an Information Desk, a new Mascot, refurbishment of the Gorsebrook Lounge, a new Games Room location, a campus events hotline, refurbishment of SMUSA offices, the establishment of a Conference Centre, SMUSA acting as host of the Canadian Organization of Campus Activities Conference and a free Student Centre phone service was set up.

"1985-1986 saw the release of the Nova Scotia Royal Commission on Post Secondary Education. Students' at St. Mary's responded quickly to the report and condemned most of its recommendations. The annual student elections held in February and March saw the largest voter turn out in many years.

"1985-1986 was a year of new ideas, bold projects, and controversies."

(Mark Bower, SMUSA President, From the 1986 Santamarian Yearbook)

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