St. Michaels University School

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St. Michaels University School
3400 Richmond Road
Victoria, British Columbia, V8P 4P5
Coordinates 48°27′08″N 123°19′40″W / 48.45222°N 123.32778°W / 48.45222; -123.32778Coordinates: 48°27′08″N 123°19′40″W / 48.45222°N 123.32778°W / 48.45222; -123.32778
School type Private Day and Boarding
Founded 1906 (University School)
1910 (St. Michaels School)
1971 (amalgamation)
Headmaster Robert Snowden
Grades K–12
Enrollment 918
Language English
Colour(s) Red, White, Black, Blue
Mascot Blue Jaguar
Team name Blue Jags

St. Michaels University School (SMUS or SMU) is a private day and boarding school in the municipality of Saanich, which is a suburb of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The school is currently under the direction of headmaster Robert Snowden. Previous headmasters include David Penaluna (1988–94) and John Shaffter (1977–88).[1]


SMUS is located in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. The Senior and Middle School campus is located on Richmond Road in Saanich, a suburban municipality of Greater Victoria. The Junior School campus is situated on Victoria Avenue in Oak Bay.

SMUS history[edit]

In 1906, University School was founded by Cap. R. V. Harvey, the Rev. W. W. Bolton and J. C. Barnacle. Four years later, in 1910, K. C. Symons founded St. Michael's School. St. Michael's School was unusual for its relatively large number of local day students for the period (as contrasted with University School's large number of boarders).

Facing some financial difficulties and the death of its headmaster in 1970, University School merged with St. Michael's in 1971 to become St Michaels University School. In 1973,the school enrolls grade 1 and 2 students for the first time in its history. In 1978, girls were enrolled as day and boarding students in grades 10–12 for the first time,[2] and the school began the process of becoming fully coeducational in 1985. A major expansion of the campus also began in 1985.[3] In 1993, SMUS's boarding houses were renamed after the school's six founders: Bolton, Harvey, Winslow, Timmis, Symons, and Barnacle.[4]

SMUS is known for offering numerous AP (Advanced Placement) courses at its senior school, with popular courses including AP Physics, AP Microeconomics/Macroeconomics, AP Calculus AB, and AP Human Geography.[5]

School Performance[edit]

The average amount of APs taken by SMUS students ranks first in country across all schools as of 2012. The record for most APs taken and completed by a single student is 14. In terms of average mean grades, SMUS students achieved an average of 3.68, which was higher than the global average of 2.92. Of the 650 exams across 25 different AP subjects taken by 245 SMUS students, 81% of them received grades of three or higher on the five point scale, which was also higher than the worldwide rate of 59% achieving grades of three or higher.[6]

Leadership Program[edit]

SMUS emphasizes the importance of global leadership skills. Students from kindergarten to grade 12 are given opportunities to explore their potential as leaders. The school offers students the chance to go on service trips to countries like the Dominican Republic, India, and Kenya. While there, students work with local people and non-profit organizations to construct schools and orphanages. The aim of these activities is fostering in students a lifelong desire to help improve the lives of others. SMUS hosts a variety of service events such as Keep The Beat, a music festival at the senior school in support of War Child Canada, and an annual basketball game at the middle school benefiting the World Partnership Walk, an anti-poverty campaign.[7]


The motto of University School was "Mens sana in corpore sano," which means, "A healthy mind in a healthy body."[8] St. Michael's School had the motto "Nihil Magnum Nisi Bonum," or, "Nothing is great unless it is good."

The current motto of St. Michaels University School is "Vivat!", or "Long live the school!" This ties into the school's song, "Vivat - Universitas!", written by Capt. R. V. Harvey originally for University School. The school uses "Vivat" when trying to cheer on a team.


Richmond Road Campus:

  • School House: Administration, Library, Mathematics
  • Brown Hall: Dining Hall
  • Chapel
  • Crothall Centre for the Humanities and Arts: Classrooms, Lecture Theatre, Drama Room, Art Room
  • William Monkman Athletic Complex: Gymnasium, Squash Courts, Fitness Center
  • John and Anne Schaffter Hall for Music
  • Science Building: Science Classrooms and Computer Labs
  • Infirmary
  • Residence Buildings: Barnacle, Bolton, Harvey (boys) and Winslow, Symons, Timmis (girls)
  • Wenman Pavilion (Senior Lounge and home to the Daily Grind Cafe)
  • Reynolds House (Headmaster's Residence)
  • Middle School

Accreditation and Memberships[edit]

St. Michaels University School is accredited or a member of the following organizations:[9]

Notable alumni[edit]





Science and Technology:


  1. ^ "SMUS History". St. Michael's University School. Retrieved 2015-08-23. 
  2. ^ Jean Barman (2011). Growing Up British in British Columbia: Boys in Private School. UBC Press. pp. 26–27, 145–146, et passim. ISBN 978-0774845021. 
  3. ^ Ashley Thomson; Sylvie Lafortune (1999). Handbook of Canadian Boarding Schools. Dundurn Press. pp. 99–109. ISBN 978-1550023237. 
  4. ^ "SMUS History". Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  5. ^ "Advance Placement Results". Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  6. ^ "Advance Placement Results". Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  7. ^ "Senior". 
  8. ^ Snowden, Bob. "Welcome from Bob Snowden, head of school". St Michaels University School. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  9. ^ "Accreditation and Associations | SMUS, Victoria BC". Retrieved 2016-07-03. 
  10. ^ "St. Michaels University School". Canadian Accredited Independent Schools. Retrieved 2015-03-23. 
  11. ^ Paola Boivin (February 28, 2010). "Hometown shaped its famous Sun, Steve Nash: Nash's upbringing forged his work ethic, attitude". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2015-08-23. 

External links[edit]