Royal Roads University

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Royal Roads University
Rru crest color.png
TypePublic university
Endowment$40 million
ChancellorNelson Chan
PresidentDr. Philip Steenkamp
Academic staff
52 core full-time, plus 450 associate faculty
Location, ,
48°26′04″N 123°28′22″W / 48.43444°N 123.47278°W / 48.43444; -123.47278Coordinates: 48°26′04″N 123°28′22″W / 48.43444°N 123.47278°W / 48.43444; -123.47278
ColoursWhite   & blue  
AffiliationsAUCC, IAU, CVU, CBIE
RRU Logo 4C.png

Royal Roads University (also referred to as RRU or Royal Roads) is a public university with its main campus in Colwood, British Columbia. It is located at Hatley Park National Historic Site on Vancouver Island. Following the decommissioning of Royal Roads Military College in 1995, the government of British Columbia created Royal Roads University as a public university with an applied and professional degree-granting focus.[1][2] The university considers alumni of RRMC to be part of its broader alumni community.


Royal Roads Military College stained-glass window
Royal Roads Military College stained-glass window
Royal Roads Military College mace at Royal Roads University

The university's main building, Hatley Castle, was completed in 1908 for coal and rail baron James Dunsmuir, who was Premier of British Columbia and then Lieutenant Governor during the first decade of the 1900s. At the outbreak of World War II, plans were made for King George VI, his wife Queen Elizabeth, and their two daughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, to reside in Canada. Hatley Castle was purchased by the federal government in 1940 for use as the King's royal palace,[3] but it was decided that having the Royal Family leave the UK at a time of war would be too big a blow to morale, and the family stayed in London.

After the death of Dunsmuir and then his widow Laura, the family sold the estate to the federal government in 1940 to be used by the military. HMCS Royal Roads (named after an offshore naval anchorage) was commissioned in December 1940 to train reserve officers for service in World War II.[4] The institution had several names before it eventually became Royal Roads Military College in 1968 (achieving full degree-granting status in 1975).

Petty Officer First Class Gabby R. Bruner, Royal Roads bandmaster from 1979–85, composed `Hatley Park` as the official quick march for RRMC and `Dunsmuir Castle` for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Royal Roads in 1983.[5]

When the military college was decommissioned, many of the academic staff stayed on.[6] The historic buildings of the military college, and the extensive gardens, which were part of the estate of the Dunsmuirs, continue to be a centrepiece of the campus. Hatley Castle, the former residence of the Dunsmuir family, houses a small Canadian Military museum.

In June 1995, Royal Roads University became a public degree-granting university.[7] A replica of Horatio Nelson's quote, "Duty is the great business of a sea officer: All private considerations must give way to it however painful it is", which hung over the entrance to the Grant Building, was returned to Royal Roads University's campus for Homecoming in 2011.

Royal Roads University Museum[edit]

Royal Roads Military College carving

The museum is located in the lower level of Hatley Castle, on the campus of the Royal Roads University and former campus of the Royal Roads Military College. The museum's mandate is to collect, conserve, research and display material relating to the history of the Royal Roads Military College, its former cadets and its site.

The Royal Roads Military College Museum is a member of the Canadian Museums Association and the Organization of Military Museums of Canada Inc. The Royal Roads Museum is an accredited museum within the Canadian Forces Museum System.[8] The museum has formed a cooperating association of friends of the museum to assist with projects.[9] The museum is not open to the public.


Royal Roads University offers applied and professional programs at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels, focusing on graduate level career development. The programs are primarily offered in a cohort model as a blended format, combining periodic on campus residencies for face to face intensive sessions with on line courses. This format is designed to favour working professionals, who may complete the programs at a distance while maintaining their career. The University offers three formats: i) on-site with 100% face to face learning, ii) blended, with part of the program taught in a face to face residency and the balance on line; and iii) completely on-line. Residency based programs range from one to three weeks, and are often held on-campus, but select programs host their residencies in unique locations around the world.[10] Mature students are welcome, and credits are available for prior experience in the subject area. The university also offers some full-time accelerated on-campus undergraduate programs.

Student government[edit]

The Royal Roads University Student Association represents undergraduate students at the university.

Campus and grounds[edit]

The campus and surrounding grounds of Royal Roads University are situated at Hatley Park National Historic Site. Royal Roads leases the land from the Department of National Defence for $1 per year and assumes all stewardship responsibilities related to the site including the cost of site management, operations, the protection, preservation and restoration of heritage assets, which include all buildings on the site as well as many heritage gardens and educating the public about the site's historic and natural attributes.[11]

Other buildings[edit]

Building (Year built) Significance Photo
Arbutus Building academic classrooms, administrative offices, a computer lab, and a canteen
Boat House (1989) boat house
Coronel Memorial Library memorial library honours Battle of Coronel, in which four young Canadians died. Coronel Memorial Library at Royal Roads University.jpg
dock (1990) dock
Guard House Building 38 Recognized Federal Heritage Building 2002[12]
Gatehouse Lodge RR8 (1912 to 1916) Recognized Federal Heritage Building 2000[13]
Hatley Park / Former Royal Roads Military College (1908–13) designated National Historic Site of Canada 1995[14]
Learning and Innovation Centre (2010–2011) First building constructed on campus since the transition from military college to university, in 1995.[15] With 33 breakout rooms, seven classrooms, five computer labs and social spaces, the building spans 5,781 square metres over four floors.[16]
Sherman Jen Building, formerly Mews Conference Centre (1912) James Dunsmuir's stables and garage later converted to classrooms, dormitory, social centre and conference centre. Registered Federal Heritage Building[17] Extensively renovated with a new wing of classrooms and laboratories added in 2017 and 2018, the building was renamed in 2018 to honour Dr. Sherman Jen, whose donation to the University of $7 million partially funded the building's transformation.[18]
Millward Wing (of the Nixon Building) (1991) Offices, dormitories, named for former Commandant Air Vice-Marshal James Bert Millward DFC (Bar), GdG(F), CD, RCAF 1949-52 the 4th Commandant of RRMC.

The grounds, a mix of landscaped gardens and natural woodland, still go by the name of Hatley Park that the Dunsmuir family gave their estate (it is not a designated park). Hatley Castle and its surroundings have made appearances in numerous movies and TV series programs such as Smallville where it serves as the Luthor Mansion, and the second and third X-Men films where the university is transformed into Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.

Visitors to the 565-acre (229 ha) Hatley Park can tour the extensive walking trails, as well as the Hatley Castle museum. The museum is free to enter, and contains historic, local memorabilia as well as a gift shop. Tours of the castle itself are available (schedule is seasonal) and access to the heritage gardens (approx 20 acres) have a visitor fee that helps offset the cost of preserving the site.

In a visit to the university in August 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated: "There is surely no more beautiful campus in Canada than Lord Dunsmuir’s magnificent castle and the majestic forest and gardens of the Hatley Park National Historic Site. But beneath the Edwardian grandeur of Royal Roads lies a cutting-edge modern university".[19]

During the life of the college, the HMCS Royal Roads Bell was displayed in the porte-cochere of Hatley Castle. After the closing of Royal Roads Military College, the HMCS Royal Roads Bell was kept in the Museum at CFB Esquimalt. It was officially repatriated on 10 Sep 2010 during the Royal Roads University 2010 Homecoming.

General ranking[edit]

Based on the 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Royal Roads University was ranked 1st public institution for an active and collaborative learning experience and for level of academic challenge[20]

In 2008 The Globe and Mail's Canadian University Report gave Royal Roads grades in particular categories along with 55 other universities. The grades are based on the Globe and Mail student satisfaction survey. Royal Roads was one of the 14 universities in the under 4000 students assessment pool and received a grade of B-:[21]

Business school ranking[edit]

The BCom and MBA programs at Royal Roads were ranked by Corporate Knights Magazine in July 2007. The Royal Roads BCom program placed 28th out of the 47 BCom programs in Canada. The MBA placed 20th out of 35 MBA programs.[22] In 2008 Corporate Knights Magazine dropped the Bcom ranking from 28th to 36th out of 47 Bcom programs in the country.[23] The MBA program dropped from 20th to 31st with the assessment pool for the ranking growing from 35 to 38 MBA programs.[23] In 2009 Corporate Knights Magazine ranked the Bcom 25th overall out of 47 universities and 4th in the Small Sized Business School category.[24] The MBA ranked 22 overall out of 35 universities and 4th in the Small Sized Business School category. Corporate Knights magazine bases its rankings on "the integration of environmental and social issues into university and college programmes."[24]

Notable alumni[edit]

Hatley Castle

Media appearances[edit]

The Royal Roads campus has been used as a location for filming TV shows and movies, including The Changeling, the X-Men movies X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand, Smallville, Arrow, Deadpool, and The Professor.


Coat of arms of Royal Roads University
Royal Roads University Escutcheon.png
Granted 24 March 1998
Rising out of a mural crown Azure masoned Argent three maple leaves conjoined on one stem Gules.
Azure a demi sun in splendour Argent issuant from an embattled wall Azure masoned Argent thereon a book expanded also Argent edged Gules.
Upon a grassy mound rising above barry wavy Argent and Azure dexter a cougar Argent armed and langued Gules holding in the interior paw a representation of the Royal Crown proper and sinister a Chinese dragon Argent armed and langued Gules holding in the interior talons an anchor Or.
HUĆIST TŦE S,HELI ŁTE (Living Our Learning)[34]

See also[edit]


  • Dunnett, Peter J S; Rempel, W Kim (1990). Royal Roads Military College 1940-1990, a Pictorial Retrospective. Victoria, BC: Royal Roads Military College. ISBN 978-0-660-13462-8. OCLC 22505897.
  • Robinson, Maurice; Hall, Beverley; Price, Paul (1995). Royal Roads : a celebration. Victoria, BC: Natural Light Productions. ISBN 978-0-9699430-0-6. OCLC 32388152.


  1. ^ "BCLASS-Legacy". Retrieved 2015-12-25.
  2. ^ "Royal Roads University - Long history with Canadian Forces". Archived from the original on 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  3. ^ Office of the Lieutenant Governor: Speech by Iona Campolo, Retired Heads of Mission Association's Gala Dinner, Royal Roads University, Hatley Castle, Victoria, BC, February 5, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Royal Roads University - Historic Overview". Archived from the original on May 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  5. ^ "RRMC band". Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Royal Roads University - Rebirth of Royal Roads". Archived from the original on 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  7. ^ "Royal Roads University Act [RSBC 1996] Chapter 409". Government of British Columbia. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  8. ^ Royal Roads Museum Archived October 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "CANADIAN FORCES MUSEUMS". 18 October 2008. Archived from the original on 18 October 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Royal Roads University - Royal Roads University Coat of Arms". Archived from the original on 2008-11-02. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  11. ^ contenu, English name of the content author / Nom en anglais de l'auteur du (1 January 1994). "English title / Titre en anglais". Retrieved 17 August 2017. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  12. ^ "Register of the Government of Canada Heritage Buildings". Archived from the original on 14 August 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  13. ^ " - Recherche". Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  14. ^ " - Recherche". Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  15. ^ Under Construction - Learning and Innovation Centre | Sustainability | Royal Roads University | Victoria, BC Canada Archived 2012-03-15 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  16. ^ Learning and Innovation Centre (LIC) | Sustainability | Royal Roads University | Victoria, BC Canada Archived 2012-06-11 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  17. ^ " - Recherche". Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  18. ^ "Heritage building upgrades helping Royal Roads students excel". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  19. ^ Enhancing Canada's Knowledge Infrastructure Archived 2009-11-21 at the Wayback Machine at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ - Maclean's On Campus Archived 2013-11-23 at the Wayback Machine. (2012-02-08)
  21. ^ "Canadian University Report" (PDF). The Globe and Mail. Toronto.
  22. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  23. ^ a b "Knight Schools 2008". Archived from the original on September 29, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  24. ^ a b Knight Schools 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ [1][dead link]
  26. ^ "Royal Roads University - Kellie Garrett - MAL". Archived from the original on 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  27. ^ "NEB - Reports - 2007 Annual Report". 2008-07-09. Archived from the original on 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  28. ^ "Jim Kyte". Royal Roads University. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  29. ^ The Arts of Influence: Soft Power and Distant Relationships. Victoria: Trafford
  30. ^ "Royal Roads University - Speech - Peter Robinson". Archived from the original on May 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  31. ^ "Royal Roads University - Alumni News". Archived from the original on 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  32. ^ "Board of Directors". Archived from the original on 2009-02-23. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  33. ^ Shulgan, Christopher (2008-12-28). " 2005 executive education guide". Toronto: Archived from the original on 2009-02-24. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  34. ^ "Royal Roads University". Canadian Heraldic Authority. 12 November 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2021.

External links[edit]