Our Presidents

In keeping with the objectives of the University to provide strong leadership role models, twelve presidents have all been women. From 1925, when Mount Saint Vincent became the only independent women’s college in the British Commonwealth (and when few women had achieved PhD status) to the present day, women administrators from both the lay and religious communities have continually renewed the University’s commitment to provide a positive learning environment where women’s contributions and perspectives are valued. View a list of the Mount’s Presidents »

The Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms The University coat of arms was granted by the Heraldic College in London in 1966. It is based on the coat of arms of the family of Elizabeth Seton, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity. The three crescents are from the coat of arms of the Seton family. In the Seton arms, these crescents are tinctured red on a gold field. Blue and gold are the colours of the French arms and betoken affinity with Saint Vincent de Paul. The book represents knowledge; the maple leaves on either side, Canada. The dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, emphasizes that knowledge is a means of wisdom, the highest gift of God. Veritas ad Deum ducit, the University motto, translates as “truth leads to God.” A banner bearing the coat of arms is on display in the Library. It was made by Professor Robert Doyle, founding member of the Costume Studies Department at Dalhousie University.

A university logo was introduced in 1999. The origins of the logo lie in the coat of arms so it retains strong ties to the University’s history while taking on a more progressive tone. The logo is used for all but the most formal occasions.

The Mace

The mace is a symbol of authority for the University Chancellor, and Mount Saint Vincent University’s mace is unique. It is believed that the Mount is the only university whose mace was made by a member of the institution’s own faculty. Carved by Barry Wheaton, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, and presented in 1978, the solid oak mace expresses the University motto with symbols and human figures.

Academic Colours

Students receiving certificates and diplomas wear black gowns with white collars. Students receiving degrees wear black gowns with the appropriate coloured hoods. Hoods include a satin lining in the two university colours (light and dark blue), with a velvet edging in a colour specific to each degree. The velvet edging on a Bachelor hood is a 2″ wide trim and the band on the Masters hoods is 3″ wide velvet trim

Degree Colour
Bachelor of Arts (Child and Youth Study) Royal Blue
Bachelor of Applied Arts (Family Studies and Gerontology) Teal Green
Bachelor of Applied Arts (Information Technology) Geranium
Bachelor of Arts White
Bachelor of Business Administration Fawn
Bachelor of Education Pale Blue
Bachelor of Public Relations Bangkok Rose
Bachelor of Science Gold
Bachelor of Science (Applied Human Nutrition) Gold
Bachelor of Science (Science Communication) Gold
Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality Management Diaptase (Jewel Green)
Master of Arts (all) White
Master of Education Pale Blue
Master of Science (Applied Human Nutritition) Gold
Master of Applied Human Nutritition Wine
Master of Public Relations Bangkok Rose


Mount Saint Vincent University overlooks the Bedford Basin in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Situated on a park-like campus in the centre of the Halifax Regional Municipality, the Mount is just minutes from the heart of downtown Halifax, with easy access to shopping, entertainment, museums, theatres and restaurants. On campus you will find the Freda Wales Trail and the Sister Lua Arboretum.


The history of Mount Saint Vincent University is a story of humanity and growth. From its inception, the Mount has been concerned about the welfare and fortune of individuals and communities, at home and abroad. Mount Saint Vincent started as an academy established by the Sisters of Charity in 1873. In 1914, an agreement was signed with Dalhousie University, enabling students to enrol in the first two years of a bachelor’s degree program at Mount Saint Vincent and to continue for the last two years and the awarding of the degree at Dalhousie.

In 1925, the Nova Scotia legislature awarded Mount Saint Vincent the right to grant its own degrees, making it the only independent women’s college in the British Commonwealth. During the night of January 31, 1951, the entire plant of Mount Saint Vincent was destroyed by fire. Temporary quarters for students and Sisters were found elsewhere in the city and classes were conducted in borrowed spaces. Fortunately, with construction already begun, Evaristus Hall was ready in time for classes to resume normally the following fall.

A new charter was granted in 1966, changing the name from Mount Saint Vincent College to Mount Saint Vincent University. Under its terms, a lay Board of Governors and Senate were established along with the corporation representing the Sisters of Charity. Men were first admitted as students in 1967. Today, women represent approximately 79 percent of the more than 5000 students. Almost half of the students attend part-time. In July 1988, the current charter was approved by the Nova Scotia legislature, transferring ownership of the University from the Sisters of Charity to the Board of Governors.


Mount Alumnae

The Mount Saint Vincent Alumnae Association works closely with the Mount Saint Vincent University Department of University Advancement, which encompasses the Alumnae Relations and Development Offices, to ensure that all Mount Saint Vincent alumnae remain connected with the University after graduation. The Alumnae Association, which was founded in 1921, assists in working towards the mission and objectives of Mount Saint Vincent University. Read more on the alumnae website »

Honorary Alumnae

Over the years since 1971, the Mount has bestowed honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (DHumL) degrees on women and men who have contributed to the betterment of society and humanity in any field, and who exemplify the University’s mission. View the list of honorary degree recipients.