Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

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Coordinates: 53°34′10.50″N 113°30′11.63″W / 53.5695833°N 113.5032306°W / 53.5695833; -113.5032306

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)
NAIT Logo.svg
MottoDiscere, Efficere, Praestare
Motto in English
To Learn, To Do, To Succeed
Endowment$45 million
PresidentDr. Glenn Feltham
Academic staff
Undergraduates10,950 (Full Time)
10,000 (Part Time)
Location, ,
CampusUrban Edmonton (main campus)
Other LocationsOther locations in Spruce Grove, Calgary
ColoursTeams:blue      & yellow      Institute: Dark blue (Pantone 288) & light blue (Pantone 299)
AffiliationsACCC, CCAA, AACTI, Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference, CBIE, CUP, Polytechnics Canada
MascotOok snowy owl, "ookpik"

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a polytechnic[2] and applied sciences institute located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. NAIT provides careers programs in applied research, technical training, applied education, and learning designed to meet the demands of Alberta's technical and knowledge-based industries. NAIT offers approximately 120 credit programs leading to degrees, applied degrees, diplomas and certificates. As of 2018, there are approximately 16,000 students in credit programs 12,000 apprentices registered in apprenticeship training, 14,500 students enrolled in non-credit courses, and more than 20,000 registrants for customized corporate based training. NAIT also attracts international students from 94 countries.[1] NAIT is similar to an Institute of technology or university of applied sciences as termed in other jurisdictions. The campus newspaper, the NAIT Nugget, is a member of the Canadian University Press (CUP).


The polytechnic confers certificates, diplomas, applied degrees and baccalaureate degrees. NAIT's four-year baccalaureate degrees (Bachelor of Technology in Technology Management and Bachelor of Technology in Construction Management[3] and Bachelor of Business Administration[4]) were launched in 2007.

NAIT is one of the largest apprenticeship trainers in Canada offering 34 registered trades programs.


In 1959, the Alberta provincial government decided to build an Edmonton facility to supplement apprenticeship and vocational training, which was at the time handled by the Provincial Institute of Technology (PITA) in Calgary. The new institution would be named the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and PITA would be renamed the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). Construction of the new facility began in January 1962. The first class was enrolled in October, a group of 29 Communication Electrician apprentices. NAIT officially opened on May 27, 1963, with a ceremony led by Premier Ernest Manning. The first graduation ceremony happened in 1965, with a class of 326 graduates. In 1982, the government transferred control to the new Board of Governors, chaired by Allan McCagherty.[5] NAIT has been a leading polytechnic for more than 50 years. The school marked its 50th anniversary in 2012.[6]

Campus growth and development[edit]

The growth of NAIT is laid out below:[7]


  • 21-acre site purchased near city centre.


  • Campus construction begins in January.
  • On October 1, the first class of 29 electrician apprentices begin training four months before the Apprenticeship Division is supposed to open.

1963 On May 27, Premier Ernest Manning officially opens the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. The new institute has:

  • 53 shops
  • 39 labs
  • 77 classrooms
  • 109 offices
  • 155 service areas (including the cafeteria, library and gym)
  • NAIT’s first full-time students begin classes in September.


  • NAIT expands beyond the original campus with the construction of an outdoor track and two other buildings.


  • NAIT grows again as construction begins on a 55,000-square-foot addition.


  • Construction begins on the new Activities Centre.


  • Leased Patricia Building in northwest Edmonton opens to house 400 students.


  • A number of land purchases are made to further expand campus. These expansions begin to open in 1977.


  • NAIT’s first mobile classroom (a trailer) provides training in carpenter and wood trades.
  • Another expansion houses NAIT’s health sciences programs.


  • Patricia Campus purchased.


  • NAIT opens one of the first Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) labs.


  • Property next to Main Campus is purchased for planned campus expansion.


  • Partners in Tomorrow, NAIT’s first capital fundraising campaign, reaches its goal of $4.5 million.


  • South Learning Centre officially opens.
  • Campus Reads and Needs store officially opens, becoming NAIT’s first permanent bookstore.
  • Multimedia lab and theatre officially open. David Frum gives the first public lecture in the new Shaw Theatre.


  • Alberta Chamber of Commerce opens an office on NAIT Main Campus.
  • Patricia Campus expands.


  • NAIT’s new Souch Campus opens on Edmonton’s south side. The campus is named in honour of Dr. Stan G. Souch, who served an 18-year term as NAIT’s fourth president.


  • Videoconferencing capability links NAIT campuses with each other and the world.


  • The $1.8-million IPSCO Centre for Welding Technology officially opens at Souch Campus. The addition features a 30-station multi-process lab, classroom and student lounge and offers training designed for self-paced learning.
  • Construction begins on the new Information and Communications Technology Centre.


  • NAIT opens an office in downtown Calgary to serve more than 6,000 alumni in southern Alberta, communicate with prospective students and increase opportunities for business and industry liaison.


  • Official opening of the Centre for Chemical Studies, a renovation and upgrading of 11 laboratories used by more than 1,600 chemistry students each year.
  • Official opening of the $50-million NAIT-HP Centre for Information and Communications Technology.
  • The NAIT Campaign: Opening Doors successfully concludes with a total of $24 million raised — $10 million over target, with $3.8 million raised for scholarships and student awards.


  • NAIT and Fairview College announce a partnership to increase the number and diversity of programs offered to post-secondary students in northwestern Alberta.
  • NAIT launches a $4-million Aboriginal Student Success Initiative, which includes creation of an Aboriginal Student Centre on Main Campus and two mobile classrooms to deliver NAIT trades training to remote communities.


  • Fairview College and NAIT become one organization as NAIT assumes responsibility for the administration of campuses in High Level, La Crete, Peace River, Fairview, Grande Prairie and St. Albert. (Responsibility for the northwest campuses was transferred to Grande Prairie Regional College in July 2009.)
  • The Duncan McNeill Centre for Innovation (DMCI) opens. DMCI provides business incubation and development services to help entrepreneurial start-ups become high-growth companies.


  • The $15.5-million Waiward Centre for Steel Technologies, a training facility for welders, ironworkers, boilermakers, structural steel fitters and platefitters is officially opened on Souch Campus.


  • Official opening of the new $40-million NAIT Petro Canada Centre for Millwright Technology and NAIT Spartan Centre for Instrumentation Technology.
  • Official opening of the NAIT Shell Manufacturing Centre, for manufacturing technology education and service.


  • Official opening of NAIT’s Sandvik Coromant Centre for Machinist Technology.
  • NAIT exceeds its $50-million Building on Demand fundraising goal by $30 million.
  • NAIT puts a focus on applied research with the opening of novaNAIT, which now includes the Duncan McNeill Centre for Innovation. The Centre provides applied research, business development and technology transfer services to industry, entrepreneurs and NAIT staff and students.
  • NAIT Calgary starts offering training in areas including Information Technology, Project Management and Leadership.


  • NAIT Gateway Mechanical Services Centre for Building Environment Technology officially opens. The centre allows NAIT to increase capacity for Building Environment Systems Technology (BEST) programs more than 95% over historical capacity.


  • NAIT launches Trades to Degrees, which allows certified tradespeople the opportunity to move directly from a trades credential to the third year of a degree program. The pioneering Trades to Degrees pathway is a response to workforce demand for tradespeople with managerial, leadership and entrepreneurial skills.[8]
  • On April 10, 2012, The Government of Alberta announced a three-year capital project funding commitment that included $200 million towards the NAIT Centre for Applied Technology (CAT) building.[9]


  • NAIT opens the Centre for Applied Technology (CAT.)[10] The largest building on NAIT’s Main Campus. With approximately 5,000 full-time students studying in leading-edge labs and classrooms each day.


  • NAIT opens the Productivity and Innovation Centre (PIC) in September 2018,[11] a place industry will meet for solutions and to succeed, acting as an accelerator focused on advanced prototyping and manufacturing. The Centre provides the necessary space to build capacity in 3 related areas critical to industry: Productivity Enhancement,[12] Acceleration, Applied Research.[13]


The Hewlett-Packard Centre on NAIT's Main Campus.

The institute has four campuses[14] located in Edmonton and surrounding areas:

  • Main Campus at 11762 - 106 Street, Edmonton
  • Patricia Campus at 12204 - 149 Street, Edmonton
  • Souch Campus at 7110 Gateway Boulevard, Edmonton
  • Spruce Grove Campus at 281 Tamarack Drive, Spruce Grove.

The institute also has incubation facilities in St. Albert and, at its Calgary site, offers a selection of part-time and customized corporate training.[15]

Mascot and colours[edit]

NAIT's mascot is the Ook. This is a shortened version of the Inuktitut word for the snowy owl, ookpik. NAIT was presented this mascot in 1964 by the federal Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources,[16] now Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Most of NAIT's sports teams are now called the Ooks as well.


The NAIT Ooks compete in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. Ooks team sports include badminton, basketball, hockey, soccer, curling and volleyball. NAIT's official colours are blue and yellow.[17]

Students' Association[edit]

The South Learning Centre on NAIT's Main Campus.

The NAIT Students' Association (NAITSA)[18] is composed entirely of current NAIT students. It is led by a four-person elected Executive Council, and governed by an eighteen-person elected Senate (two representatives from the 9 program groups). NAITSA is responsible for running the Nest Taphouse Grill, The NAIT Nugget (campus newspaper), campus events, the student health and dental plan, U-Pass and various other services aimed at enhancing student life.

Techlife Today magazine[edit]

Techlife Today is the polytechnic's official magazine, focusing on people, technology and innovation. It ceased publication of its hardcopy magazine in October 2018 but continues to exist in a web version.[19][20]


NAIT is organized into four academic schools and three academic departments:[21]

  • JR Shaw School of Business[22]
  • School of Health and Life Sciences[23]
  • School of Applied Sciences and Technology[24]
  • School of Skilled Trades[25]
  • Department of Culinary Arts and Professional Food Studies[26]
  • Department of Continuing Education[27]
  • Department of Corporate and International Training[28]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b NAIT (2013). #NAIT Quick Facts". Retrieved 2013-08-21.
  2. ^ "Polytechnical Institutions". Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  3. ^ NAIT. Bachelor of Technology
  4. ^ NAIT. Bachelor of Business Administration
  5. ^ NAIT. History milestones
  6. ^ NAIT. 50-year anniversary.
  7. ^ Campus growth and development
  8. ^ NAIT Trades to Degrees.
  9. ^ Investing in our Future: Building Alberta's Post-Secondary Institutions
  10. ^ Centre for Applied Technology (CAT)
  11. ^ Productivity and Innovation Centre (PIC)
  12. ^ Productivity Enhancement
  13. ^ Applied Research
  14. ^ Campus Locations
  15. ^ "NAIT Campus Locations & Maps".
  16. ^ Individuals Responsible for Indian and Northern Affairs in Canada, 1755 to 2006
  17. ^ Ookpik Mascot (the Ook) and official colours
  18. ^ NAIT Students' Association (NAITSA)
  19. ^
  20. ^ NAIT TechlifeToday magazine
  21. ^ Departments
  22. ^ JR Shaw School of Business
  23. ^ School of Health Sciences
  24. ^ School of Applied Sciences and Technology
  25. ^ School of Skilled Trades
  26. ^ Department of Culinary Arts and Professional Food Studies
  27. ^ Department of Continuing Education
  28. ^ Department of Corporate and International Training

External links[edit]