MacEwan University

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MacEwan University
MacEwan University Clock Tower, between Building 6 and 7, the most well-known symbol and main entrance of the university.
Former names
Grant MacEwan University, Grant MacEwan College, Grant MacEwan Community College
MottoLatin: Discendo Floremus
Motto in English
Through learning we flourish
TypePublic University
Established1971 (1971)
Academic affiliations
ChairpersonCarolyn Graham
PresidentAnnette Trimbee
ProvostCraig Monk
Academic staff
Students14,690[1][failed verification]
Undergraduates14,690[1][failed verification]
10700 104 Avenue NW
Edmonton, Alberta
T5J 4S2

53°32′49″N 113°30′17″W / 53.54694°N 113.50472°W / 53.54694; -113.50472Coordinates: 53°32′49″N 113°30′17″W / 53.54694°N 113.50472°W / 53.54694; -113.50472
Public transitEdmonton Transit System Light rail interchangeMetro Line MacEwan station
ColoursMaroon   & White  
Sporting affiliations
Canada West, ACAC, CCAA
Logo of MacEwan University
MacEwan University Coat of Arms

MacEwan University is a public undergraduate university located in the downtown core of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Formerly a two-year college,[2] in 2009, it became Alberta's sixth university. MacEwan University offers ten baccalaureate degrees, one applied degree and 43 diploma and certificate programs. In addition, MacEwan University serves as the largest transfer-in post-secondary institution in Alberta.[citation needed] The university's four faculties and two schools offer programming in fine arts and communications, health and community studies, liberal arts and sciences, engineering, physical education, nursing, and business.

The university also offers non-credit professional and personal development courses on a part-time basis, in addition to programming for university preparation and English-as-a-Second-Language courses.

Its student body is more than 60% female, with more than 12,000 full-time students in credit programs and just over 19,000 students across all credit- and non-credit programs.[3]


Established in 1971 as Grant MacEwan Community College, the institution was named after Dr. J. W. Grant MacEwan, author, educator and former lieutenant governor of Alberta. The college was established by the Government of Alberta to fill a perceived need for college-level programs that focused on career development. Initial educational offerings included one and two-year certificate and diploma programs.[4]

In 1988, the college was granted approval to offer university transfer credit. In 2004, MacEwan became an accredited degree-granting institution offering its first baccalaureate degrees. On September 24, 2009, the institution became Alberta's sixth university and was officially renamed Grant MacEwan University.[5] In September 2013, the university officially re-branded itself as "MacEwan University" for all public communication and marketing purposes; legally, the name remains Grant MacEwan University.[4]

In February 2019, MacEwan University was officially named an Undergraduate University in the Post-Secondary Learning Act.[6]


Eight people have held the position of President of MacEwan University:

  • John Haar, 1971–1981
  • Dr. Gerald O. Kelly, 1981–1996
  • Dr. Harry Davis, 1996
  • Dr. Paul J. Byrne, 1997–2011
  • Dr. David W. Atkinson, 2011–2017
  • Dr. Deborah Saucier, 2017–2019
  • John McGrath, 2019–2020
  • Dr. Annette Trimbee, 2020–present


MacEwan University is an undergraduate institution divided into four faculties and two schools: Faculty of Arts and Science; Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications; Faculty of Health and Community Studies; Faculty of Nursing; School of Business; and the School of Continuing Education. The university offers ten baccalaureate degrees, one applied degree and 43 diploma and certificate programs. Some programs are offered in-classroom and full-time, in-classroom part-time, online and distance.

MacEwan University considers itself to be a student-centered institution with a focus on teaching. The university states it "provides student-focused instruction in a warm and supportive atmosphere." It also says, "We focus on teaching, so our students can focus on learning. It’s been a cornerstone of who we are for more than 40 years. And we continue to build on that reputation."[7] Maclean's Magazine notes the university's emphasis on "small class sizes and individualized learning.[8]

MacEwan has two libraries, the Alberta College Library and John L. Haar Library. Both are member libraries of the NEOS Library Consortium,[9] The Alberta Library,[10] Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL),[11] and the Canadian University Reciprocal Borrowing Agreement (CURBA).[12]

In an effort to support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action, the university established kihêw waciston, (Cree for "eagle's nest) to support the proportion of its students who are indigenous peoples.[13] MacEwan university flies the flags of Alberta, Canada, and Treaty 6, and also features a statue marking the area as Treaty 6 territory.[14]


Logo of the MacEwan Griffins.

MacEwan University's sports teams are known as the Griffins.[15] Men's and women's sports include: basketball, hockey, volleyball, soccer, cross country, curling and golf. The Griffins compete in the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference (ACAC), against 16 other post-secondary institutions in Alberta as well as in the Canada West conference of U Sports. Student-athletes on all teams are expected to meet academic requirements and adhere to sport-specific athletic requirements.

In 2011, MacEwan's athletic department submitted an application to Canada West Universities Athletic Association in an effort to transfer to the national U Sports level of competition. MacEwan University was admitted as a probationary member in 2013. In 2016, the university was granted full membership becoming the 56th full member of U Sports, then known as CIS.


In its early years, MacEwan operated out of a number of small store-front-style campuses in Edmonton. The facilities included Old Scona School (10523 - 84 Avenue), the Worker's Compensation Board (WCB) building (10048 - 101A Avenue), 7th Street Plaza (10030-107 Street), and the former Dominion Store in Cromdale (8020 - 118 Avenue), with offices and administration located in the Canada Trust building (10150 - 100 Street). In 1988, Don Getty's provincial government committed $100 million for the construction of the City Centre Campus which, at the time, was Alberta Advanced Education and Technology's largest single capital project in its history.

Construction on City Centre Campus began in 1991 on the former site of the Canadian National rail yards on the northern fringe of the city's downtown core. The land was donated by CN.

In September 2009, MacEwan University's Board of Governors approved a plan to move all of the university's operations—spread across four campuses at the time—to the main City Centre Campus. The first step of this consolidation was taken with the opening of the University Service Centre in April 2011. Construction for the new Centre for the Arts and Culture began in 2014 on the west end of the City Centre Campus, and opened in the fall of 2017.

City centre campus[edit]

Main entrance of MacEwan City Centre Campus.

City Centre Campus houses the majority of MacEwan University's degree programs. The campus is also home to university courses, diplomas and certificates in health, human services and business. Most of the university's administration is located at City Centre Campus as well. The south entrance to the main complex is contained within the centremost of the three groups of concrete spires, which also contains a public clock.

The main complex consists of a long grouping of structures stretching from east to west: the 105 Street Building (Building 5), the 106 Street Building (Building 6), the 107 Street Building (Building 7), and the Christenson Family Centre for Sport and Wellness (Building 8). Between each of these buildings is grouping of four concrete spires which gives the campus its distinctive look. Each of these groupings of towers forms a terminating vista both when viewed from the north or the south, interrupting the streets after which the buildings are named. The towers which terminate 107 Street also feature public clock between the spires on the south face. The section of 108 Street to the south of the campus is known as "Capital Boulevard" and runs to the Alberta Legislature Building seven blocks to the south where it forms another terminating vista. A pedway over 109 Street connects these buildings to the Robbins Health Learning Centre (Building 9, 2007) and the University Service Centre above the parkade (Building 10, 2011).[16] Another pedway connects Building 9 to Allard Hall (Building 11, 2017) which includes the John and Maggie Mitchell Art Gallery.

MacEwan Residence is a 13-story building and the only building not connected by pedway. In addition to a bicycle storage room, a hockey equipment storage room is also available for resident use.[17]

The Christenson Family Centre for Sport and Wellness houses a pool, fitness centre, spin studio, mind/body studio, and gymnasium. It is home to the MacEwan University Griffins basketball and volleyball programs who play in the Canada West conference of U Sports. It is also the training facility for all Griffins teams including soccer, cross country and the hockey teams who compete out of the Downtown Community Arena. Sport and Wellness was also used as the home of the Edmonton Chill, later the Edmonton Energy of the International Basketball League, for two seasons (2008 and 2009).

In 2017, the university began construction of a 50,000 square foot student union building next to the Christenson Family Centre. The building is three stories tall,[18] and held its official opening in January 2020.[19]

Former Campuses[edit]

The university's South Campus, located in Mill Woods, closed in 2014, with all of its programs relocated to City Centre Campus. The Centre for the Arts and Culture (CAC) campus was located on the west end of the city in West Jasper Place. CAC closed in 2017 when MacEwan relocated the Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications to Allard Hall at City Centre Campus.

The Centre for the Arts and Communications (formerly known as Jasper Place Campus) was located in Edmonton's west end on the north east corner of 156 Street and 100 Avenue. The Centre for the Arts and Communications (CFAC) housed several creative programs in arts and cultural management, design, fine art, communications, music, theatre arts and theatre production, including MacEwan University's Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music. In the fall of 2017, all CFAC programs and operations were relocated to a new building located on MacEwan's City Centre Campus. The building is approximately 430,000 square feet in size and connect via pedway to the Robbins Health Learning Centre.[20][21]

In June 2000, the Government of Alberta assumed control of the formerly private Alberta College. Alberta College was then incorporated as a MacEwan campus. Alberta College is only 1 km from the City Centre Campus, and houses academic upgrading, music and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. In 2019, MacEwan University sold the Alberta College Campus to the Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB) [22] as part of a wider campus-consolidation strategy. Beginning in fall 2020, the Alberta College Campus will be the home for Centre High, a specialized EPSB program for vulnerable youth.

2017 Phishing Scam Incident[edit]

In August 2017, MacEwan University staff unwittingly transferred CA$11.8 million to a scammer posing as a construction vendor.[23] Generating emails seemingly addressed to Edmonton-area Clark Builders, the scammers convinced staff to transfer three payments to the fraudulent account, ranging in amounts between $22,000 and $9.9 million.[23] The scammers had apparently impersonated "14 construction firms from around Edmonton"[24] in their attempt to defraud the university. The incident came to light on August 31, 2017, when genuine staff from Clark Builders inquired about missing payment. Most of the funds were transferred immediately to accounts in Hong Kong and Canada.

Following the incident, university staff and investigators were able to recover $10.92 million.[25] To prevent future issues, MacEwan implemented "stronger financial controls including mandatory IT security training for staff and improved vendor verification protocols."[26]

Ranking and reputation[edit]

MacEwan has also received many high scores on the National Survey of Student Engagement.[27]

MacEwan University has not been assessed in Canadian weekly magazine, "Maclean's" national ranking.[28]


Coat of arms of MacEwan University
Grant MacEwan University Escutcheon.png
Granted 20 May 2010
A sparrow wings elevated and addorsed perched on a walking-staff fesswise Proper.
Azure on a rose Argent a plate fimbriated Azure.
Two griffins per fess Azure and Argent beaked and membered Argent standing on a compartment of prairie grass set with wild roses Proper.
Discendo Floremus

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Facts and Figures". MacEwan University. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  2. ^ "History - MacEwan University".
  3. ^ "Facts and Figures - MacEwan University".
  4. ^ a b "History - MacEwan University". Retrieved 2016-02-12.
  5. ^ "MacEwan University website - media release 09/24/2009". Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  6. ^ "5 awesome things coming up in 2019". MacEwan University. January 7, 2019. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  7. ^ "Our Story - MacEwan University". Retrieved 2016-02-12.
  8. ^ "MacEwan University: Tuition and Profile".
  9. ^ "NEOS Member Libraries | NEOS". Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  10. ^ "Members". The Alberta Library. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  11. ^ "Current Members". Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL). Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  12. ^ "CURBA Participating Libraries by Name of Institution". Canadian University Reciprocal Borrowing Agreement. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  13. ^ "Kihêw waciston Indigenous Centre - MacEwan University".
  14. ^ "Artist hopes sculpture will lead to important conversations about treaty - MacEwan University".
  15. ^ MacEwan University website - MacEwan Griffins.
  16. ^ "MacEwan University City Centre Campus Parking, Transportation and Amenities Overview Map" (PDF). Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  17. ^ "MacEwan Residence Student Guide" (PDF). MacEwan University. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  18. ^ "MacEwan Students' Association Building (SAMU) | SkyriseEdmonton".
  19. ^ "MacEwan Students' Association Building (SAMU) Celebrates Grand Opening | SkyriseEdmonton".
  20. ^ Kornik, Slav (3 March 2016). "MacEwan University expanding along with Edmonton's downtown". Global News. Edmonton, Alberta. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  21. ^ "Project News - MacEwan University". Retrieved 2016-04-20.
  22. ^ "Centre High will move to Alberta College Campus in fall 2020".
  23. ^ a b "MacEwan University defrauded of nearly $12M in phishing scam".
  24. ^ "MacEwan University Phishing Scam: A Cautionary Tale". September 2017.
  25. ^ "MacEwan University recovers millions lost in phishing scam".
  26. ^ "MacEwan University recovers bulk of $11.8M lost in online phishing scam". CBC News. April 4, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  27. ^ "National Survey of Student Engagement: A truer measure of quality -". 2015-02-12. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  28. ^ "Canada's best Primarily Undergraduate universities: Rankings 2020". 3 October 2019.

External links[edit]