New Brand for Mount Saint Vincent Alumni

Alumni embrace change, praising the Mount for authentic programs, leadership in the advancement of women, the beauty of campus, and accessibility to professors dedicated to student success – By Morgan Morrison, 4th-year BPR student.

Attending Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU), formerly Mount Saint Vincent College, and Mount Saint Vincent Academy prior to that, is a joy shared by more than 35,000 people throughout the storied past of this wonderful 148-year-old institution.

Last summer, Mount alumni worldwide participated in an engagement survey to share thoughts and opinions on what it felt like to be a Mount student…to walk the hallowed halls of Evaristus, to learn and study on campus, and of course, to climb the steep hills overlooking the Bedford Basin. Not surprisingly, due to our diverse alumni family, a variety of different feelings of nostalgia were shared. At the same time, there were some common values, opinions and themes expressed as well. The occasion for feedback, developed as a first and integral step in a renewal and refresh of the alumni brand, provided the wonderful opportunity for many to take a walk down memory lane.

“Since my education started in the original building, my love for the Mount covers the entire campus. I have watched the changes over the years and fortunately much of it remains the same. For that which has changed or disappeared, my memories and visions are as clear as it was many years ago. The history is most important as it is the backbone of Mount Saint Vincent.” – Alumni, Class of 1961, Academy Commercial Graduate.

The Mount was established by the Sisters of Charity in 1873, where it was known for offering higher education to women, something that was unheard of during the time. It became the first independent women’s college in the British Commonwealth in 1925, granting degrees in Arts, Education and Nursing. When asked what qualities alumni valued most about the university, the advancement and education of women came out on top with a 49.59 percent — almost half of all survey respondents! Luckily, we can be proudly reminded of this each time we walk through the Margaret Norrie McCain Centre and its Wall of Inspiring Women.

“I loved how it was just a university for women but opened doors to males yet keeping with the foundation of progressing women in education. I felt completely safe and intellectually nurtured in this environment.” Alumni, BA Child Study.

The beauty of campus, small class size with access to professors who care about student success, leadership in teaching and research, and specialized programs were noted attributes that stood out. Many former students commented on the diversity of students, the sense of belonging and feeling welcomed. Almost 50% of respondents indicated they thought the Mount Saint Vincent name should be in the official brand, but for those of us who are part of this community, it would always affectionately be called The Mount.

“To me, it (the university) expresses the ‘Mount’ I had to climb when I first started as a mature student with a young family, responsibilities and then, the sense of accomplishment I had when I graduated with the help and flexibility the Mount offered.” Alumni, Class of 199, BSc in Nutrition

So, what is it about the Mount that connects visually and symbolically? Many alumni indicated it is the traditional Mount blue inspired by the breathtaking Bedford Basin and Atlantic Ocean, the beautiful tree-lined paths that change with each season, and the flora and fauna surrounding each building that sit on top of the rolling hills.

“A little bubble of nature, and a family protected from the chaos of life all around.” Alumni, Class of 1985, Bachelor of Secretarial Arts

Our small but mighty campus brought feelings of inclusiveness and friendship to those who became part of it. Alumni who responded, including former international and mature students, have been able to form personal connections with professors and peers, an integral part of their educational success.

“I entered the Mount as a mature student. . . I received nothing but encouragement and support in my pursuit of an honours degree and determination to go on to higher degrees. The flexibility of class times and ability to take my studies part-time (until the last year or two) enabled me to achieve my aims at the same time as raising my two daughters.” Alumni, Class of 1987, BSc Honours, Psychology

While previously using the female plural ‘alumnae’ to describe Mount graduates, a large majority of respondents were in favour of changing the word to ‘alumni’ to better represent all graduates of the Mount.

“My life while at Mount St Vincent was what made me part of the woman I have become today. I still have great friends from my days in residence. Some of my friends were from Africa, Bermuda, China… not to mention those friends who at the time were ahead of the curve for being out and transgender. That is one if the things I loved the most is that MSVU was all inclusive and accepting of everyone.” Alumni, Class of 1988, BA

One of the more provocative questions of the survey was – “If the Mount was a person, how would you describe them?” Nearly a third of respondents said they would describe them as authentic, accessible, and sincere. This is apparent when you look at the varied responses and diverse demographics of alumni who commented on their Mount educational experience, whether they were in their 70’s or their 20’s, studied in the Science and Applied Nutrition program, received a master’s degree in Education or an undergraduate degree in the Arts. It is with these thoughts and opinions in mind that the renewed brand was created and strives to resonate with all alumni, new and old, while best representing Mount Saint Vincent and all that we know it to be.