Université de Saint-Boniface

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Université de Saint-Boniface
Université de Saint-Boniface crest.png
TypePrivate public-interest corporation
Established1818; 202 years ago (1818)
AffiliationUniversity of Manitoba
ChairpersonMicheline Lafond (since 2018)
PresidentSophie Bouffard (since 2019)
Location, ,
49°53′19″N 97°07′11″W / 49.888631°N 97.119725°W / 49.888631; -97.119725Coordinates: 49°53′19″N 97°07′11″W / 49.888631°N 97.119725°W / 49.888631; -97.119725
CampusFrancophone neighbourhood of St. Boniface
Université de Saint-Boniface logo.svg

The Université de Saint-Boniface (USB) is a French language public university located in the Saint Boniface suburb of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. An affiliated institution of the University of Manitoba, USB offers general and specialized university degree programs as well as technical and professional training. In 2014, enrolment counted 1,368 regular students [1] and over 4,200 enrolments[2] in its Continuing Education Division, which includes a language school.


Joseph-Norbert Provencher,
Collège founder
Msgr. Alexandre-Antonin Taché (President 1854-1860)
Collège, prior to the 1922 fire
Students playing hockey, c. 1962
The first permanent structure, built in 1855

With its origins dating back to 1818 and established by Father Norbert Provencher (1787–1853), Université de Saint-Boniface is Western Canada's oldest post-secondary educational institution. It had its humble beginnings as a small school where Latin was taught to the boys of the French-speaking Red River Colony.[3]

The school continued to grow, and in 1855, Msgr. Alexandre-Antonin Taché (1823–1894) oversaw the construction of Collège de Saint-Boniface, a two-story building on the corner of Taché Avenue and Masson Street.

From 1866 to 1870, under the guidance of Bishop George Dugas, Collège reorganized its programs to consolidate the instruction of Latin, Greek and philosophy into a classical curriculum.

Incorporated in 1871,[4] Collège was one of the first official institutions of the new province of Manitoba, which had joined Canadian Confederation the year before. In 1877, together with the Anglican St. John's College and the Presbyterian Manitoba College, it helped establish the University of Manitoba.[5] Collège served both francophone and anglophone Catholic students. Around the same time, Manitoba saw a major influx of French-speaking newcomers from Quebec as well as France, Switzerland and Belgium. In 1880, increased enrolment led to the construction of a larger building on the site of what is now Provencher Park. Annual enrolment at that time was around 300 students.[6]

In 1890, French lost its official language status in Manitoba, and in 1916, the Thornton Act strictly prohibited French-language instruction in the province's public schools. As a private institution, Collège remained in operation and even encouraged public schools to defy the government ban. French-language teaching continued clandestinely.

On November 25, 1922, a major fire started in a music room in the basement and the blaze completely destroyed the building,[7] including all of its records and the 40,000-volume library; it also claimed ten victims. In response to this tragedy, Msgr. Arthur Béliveau, Archbishop of St. Boniface, donated the seminary (Le Petit Séminaire) on Avenue de la Cathédrale, the present location of USB. The English-speaking Jesuits founded their own college (St. Paul's College) in 1925, and USB became a francophone institution, although it offered business courses in English until 1941.[8]

The 1960s were marked by three major changes: the arrival of women in the classroom (1959), the beginnings of continuing education (including conversational French and French as a second language classes) and the institution's transition to a secular administration (1969).

In 1975, Collège began to offer technical and professional programs, which led to the creation of the École technique et professionnelle in 1989. In 1983, high school classes were transferred to Collège Louis-Riel and Collège began to focus solely on post-secondary education.

The institution officially became the Université de Saint-Boniface in September 2011, following passage of the Université de Saint-Boniface Act.

Despite its new university status, USB continues to be affiliated with the University of Manitoba, which it helped establish in 1877. Enshrined in the Université de Saint-Boniface Act, the affiliation with the University of Manitoba has valuable benefits for USB staff and students, and USB was committed to preserving this special 135-year-old relationship. University degrees continue to be conferred by the University of Manitoba. However, graduates of the technical and professional programs of the École technique et professionnelle (ETP) or École des sciences infirmières et des études de la santé (ESIES) receive their diploma or certificate from Université de Saint-Boniface.

A pivotal hub of French-language education and of Manitoba's francophone community, USB now welcomes students from around the world.[citation needed]


Université de Saint-Boniface

Located on 200 Avenue de la Cathedrale which is in the heart of Winnipeg's green and quiet St. Boniface neighbourhood, Université de Saint Boniface is a stone's throw away from cafés, restaurants and shopping. It is also close to the St. Boniface Hospital, the St. Boniface Cathedral, and the meandering Red River. Pedestrians can walk across the striking Esplanade Riel to Winnipeg's downtown core or the large public market at The Forks.

With its Tyndall stone façade, the main USB building houses two gymnasiums, the Sportex fitness centre, a library, a chapel, the Étienne Gaboury student centre, the campus radio station, an amphitheatre, computer facilities, a performance hall and an art gallery.

The brand new Pavillon Marcel-A.-Desautels health sciences building opened its doors in 2011.

Student residence[edit]

The student residence, located at 474 and 480 Aulneau Street in Winnipeg, was acquired in 2005 from the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. In 2014, the building was officially named Résidence-Père-Théophile-Lavoie-O.M.I.[9]

Fitness centre[edit]

Sportex, the university's fitness centre, first opened its doors in 1988.

Today, it offers a range of programming such as yoga, boxing, spin, and TRX classes, facilities for racquetball and squash, as well as a functional training room complete with free weights and cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, AMTs, rowers and stationary bikes.

The fitness centre is open to all students, university staff, and the general public.


Université de Saint-Boniface offers both university and technical and professional programs as well as continuing education courses.[10]

University and college programs[edit]

Faculty of Arts Bachelor of Arts (General)
Bachelor of Arts (Latin - Philosophy)
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) - French
Bachelor of Arts (Advanced Major) - French
Master of Arts in Canadian Studies
School of Translation Bachelor of Arts (Honours) - Translation
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) - Translation (online program)
Bachelor of Arts (Joint Major) - French and Translation
Certificate in Translation
Certificate in Translation (online program)
School of Business Administration Bachelor of Business Administration
Faculty of Science Bachelor of Science (General)
Bachelor of Science (Major in Biochemistry-Microbiology)
Bachelor of Science (Major in Biochemistry-Microbiology), coop program
School of Nursing Sciences and Health Studies (ESIES) Health Aid Certificate
Diploma of Nursing Sciences
Bachelor of Nursing Sciences
School of Social Work Bachelor of Social Work
Technical and Professional School (ETP) Information Technology Diploma
Multimedia Communications Diploma
Business Administration Diploma
Tourism Management Diploma
Early Childhood Education Diploma
Advanced Diploma in Health and Community Services Management
Faculty of Education
after obtaining a first degree
Bachelor of Education - Early and Middle Years
Bachelor of Education - Senior Years
Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Education
Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Education specialized in Inclusive Education
Master of Education - Counselling*
Master of Education - Inclusive Education
Master of Education - School Administration*
Master of Education - Language, Literacy and Curriculum

*program offered online and in the classroom


Continuing education[edit]

Université de Saint-Boniface's Continuing Education Division offers a variety of courses in several areas. Its Language School (École de langues) has French and Spanish courses, and also produces innovative instructional material for teaching French as a first or additional language. The Continuing Education Division has an annual enrolment of over 4,000 students.[11]


The research conducted at Université de Saint-Boniface garners international recognition and focuses especially on areas closely related to the university, such as health and Francophone and Métis identity.

Founded in 1985, USB's Research Centre is home to the Centre d’études Franco-canadiennes de l’Ouest (CEFCO), Presses universitaires de Saint-Boniface (PUSB), and the Canadian Research Chair on Migrations, Transfers and Francophone Communities (CRC-MTCF).[12] It has in the past also held the Canada Research Chair on Métis Identity (CRCMI) chaired by Dr. Denis Gagnon from 2004 to 2014,[13] as well as the Community-University Research Alliance on Francophone Identities in Western Canada (ARUC-IFO) chaired by Dr. Len Rivard from 2007 to 2013.[13]

Scholarships and bursaries[edit]

The Government of Canada sponsors an Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool that lists over 680 scholarships, bursaries, and other incentives offered by governments, universities, and industry to support Aboriginal post-secondary participation. Université de Saint-Boniface scholarships for Aboriginal, First Nations and Métis students include: Louis Riel Scholarships; Louis Riel Institute Bursaries[14]


The purposes and powers of Université de Saint-Boniface are set out in the Université de Saint-Boniface Act,[15] the most recent version of which is dated June 2011. Its bilateral governance structure consists of the Board of Governors and the Senate. A number of ad hoc committees are also in place.

USB President[edit]

Originally from Lévis, a suburb of Québec city, Sophie Bouffard obtained a doctorate in musicology (2011) from the University of Regina and a masters in music (2000) from Université Laval. Soprano opera singer by profession, she has given a number of performances in Canada and abroad. Specialist in the creation of new music, many works have been composed for her. Mrs. Bouffard is the second female president in USB history and is the 45th person to hold the position. She is the USB president since August 2019.[16]

Past presidents[edit]


  • Msgr. Norbert Provencher (1818-1853)
  • Msgr. Alexandre-A. Taché (1854-1860)
  • R.P. Jean-Marie Le Floch, omi (1860-1862)
  • R.P. Joseph Lestanc, omi (1862-1865)
  • R.P. Valentin Végreville, omi (1865-1866)
  • R.P. Georges Dugas (1866-1869)
  • R.P. Louis-R. Giroux (1869-1870)
  • R.P. Théophile Lavoie, omi (1870-1878)
  • R.P. A.-A. Forget-Despatis (1878-1881)
  • R.P. A.A. Cherrier (1881-1884)
  • R.P. François-A. Dugas (1884-1885)
  • R.P. Hippolyte Lory, s.j. (1885-1890)
  • R.P. Xavier Renaud, s.j. (1890-1891)
  • R.P. Henri Hudon, s.j. (1891-1894)
  • R.P. Rémi Chartier, s.j. (1894-1898)
  • R.P. Julien Paquin. s.j. (1898-1900)
  • R.P. Hyacinthe Hudon, s.j. (1990-1903)
  • R.P. Jacques Dugas, s.j. (1903-1908)
  • R.P. Télesphore Filiatrault, s.j. (1908-1910)
  • R.P. Joseph Carrière, s.j. (1910-1911)
  • R.P. Gustave Jean, s.j. (1911-1912)
  • R.P. Edouard Lecompte, s.j. (1912-1914)
  • R.P. Alexandre Gagnieur, s.j. (1914-1915)
  • R.P. Grégoire Féré, s.j. (1915-1919)
  • R.P. Henri Bourque, s.j. (1919-1924)
  • R.P. Joseph Desjardins, s.j. (1924-1930)
  • R.P. Fernand Faure, s.j. (1930-1933)
  • R.P. Joseph Béliveau, s.j. (1933-1940)
  • R.P. Martial Caron, s.j. (1940-1943)
  • R.P. Louis Mailhot, s.j. (1943-1947)
  • R.P. Georges Desjardins, s.j. (1947-1951)
  • R.P. J. d'Auteuil Richard, s.j. (1951-1954)
  • R.P. Oscar Boily, s.j. (1954-1960)
  • R.P. Guy Fortier, s.j. (1960-1964)
  • R.P. Alfred Ducharme, s.j. (1964-1967)
  • Msgr. Antoine Hacault (1967-1969)
  • R.P. Stéphane Valiquette, s.j. (1969-1970)
  • Roger Saint-Denis (1970-1974)
  • Georges Damphousse (interim) (1974-1975)
  • Roland Cloutier (1975-1979)
  • Claude Thibault (1980-1981)
  • Paul Ruest (1981-2003)
  • Raymonde Gagné (2003-2014)
  • Gabor Csepregi (2014-2019)

Board of Governors[edit]

The 15-member Board of Governors oversees the administration of USB affairs. Its duties include managing the institution's assets, appointing senior staff, approving the USB budget, and adding or eliminating programs.

Notable alumni[edit]

Louis Riel

A number of USB graduates went on to pursue exceptional careers or made a major impact in some other way. Its alumni include prominent judges, lawyers, visionary bishops and archbishops, true pioneers of radio and television, Stanley Cup hockey champions, a renowned architect and a world-famous singer. Another famous USB alumnus was, of course, Louis Riel, the Métis leader who negotiated the terms under which the province of Manitoba entered Canadian Confederation in 1870.



TV personalities[edit]

Public figure[edit]

  • Birane Hane, webmaster, blogger, community manager, activist and community leader

University press[edit]

The Presses universitaires de Saint-Boniface (PUSB) university press was established in 1990. It publishes the research findings of Université de Saint-Boniface faculty as well as the work of the Centre d’études Franco-canadiennes de l’Ouest (CEFCO) and the Cahiers franco-canadiens de l’Ouest.[19]

To date, PUSB has published works on educational integration, translation, grammar, cultural production, inter-linguistic and socio-cultural relations, and francophone education in a minority setting.

The literary works of Gabrielle Roy and Roger Léveillé have also been published at PUSB.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Nombre record d'inscriptions à l'Université de Saint-Boniface" (in French). Radio-Canada. September 16, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  2. ^ "Rapport sur la formation continue l'Université de Saint-Boniface" (PDF) (in French). Université de Saint-Boniface. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  3. ^ VERRETTE, Michel, historian at Université de Saint-Boniface
  4. ^ Statutes of Manitoba. 1871.
  5. ^ SAINT-PIERRE, Annette, De fil en aiguille au Manitoba, Winnipeg, Éditions des Plaines, 1995, 376 p.
  6. ^ PELCHAT, Carole, archivist at Université de Saint-Boniface
  7. ^ Associated Press, "Eight Lives Are Lost in Flames That Destroy St. Boniface College", The San Bernardino Daily Sun, San Bernardino, California, Sunday 26 November 1922, Volume L, Number 270, page 1.
  8. ^ PELCHAT, Carole, “Le Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface”, Saint-Boniface, 1908-2008 : reflets d’une ville, Winnipeg, Presses universitaires de Saint-Boniface, 2008, p. 111-114.
  9. ^ "Un nom pour la résidence étudiante Aulneau" (in French). Université de Saint-Boniface. September 16, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  10. ^ "Des programmes riches, modernes et variés" (in French). Université de Saint-Boniface. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  11. ^ https://ustboniface.ca/file/documents---rapports-annuels/Rapport-annuel-sur-la-formation-continue-de-lUSB-2016-2017.pdf
  12. ^ "Chaire de recherche du Canada" (in French). Université de Saint-Boniface. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Recherche et création" (in French). Université de Saint-Boniface. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  14. ^ "Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool". Government of Canada.
  15. ^ "Loi sur l'Université de Saint-Boniface" (in French). Government of Manitoba.
  16. ^ Office of the president archives, Université de Saint-Boniface.
  17. ^ "Recteurs du Collège de Saint-Boniface 1818-1890". Université de Saint-Boniface. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  18. ^ "Le hockey, une deuxième religion" (in French). Université de Saint-Boniface. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  19. ^ "Cahiers franco-canadiens de l'Ouest" (in French). Université de Saint-Boniface. Retrieved April 2, 2019.