History of St. Paul's College

In 1916, the Oblate Fathers started work to establish the first English language Catholic high school in Manitoba. That dream became a reality in 1926 when St. Paul’s College opened in a building on Selkirk Avenue in Winnipeg with a staff of six and a student body of one hundred. Fr. Alphonse Simon, OMI was the first Rector of the College. In 1931 Archbishop Sinnott, who had worked tirelessly to get St. Paul’s started, purchased the old Manitoba College (which had opened in 1882) at the corner of Ellice and Vaughan Streets in downtown Winnipeg. Soon after, the College moved to this new location. The College passed into the hands of the diocesan clergy and Fr. C. B. Collins was appointed Rector.

On October 27th, 1931, St. Paul’s College became affiliated with the University of Manitoba. At that time, St. Paul's had a staff of 15 (eight priests and seven laymen), and a total of twelve students in the university program.

The facilities available to the College on Ellice Avenue were never fully adequate. In 1932, largely through the generosity of Mrs. Margaret Shea, a new unit—Paul Shea Hall—was erected. This facility provided a separate high school building.

At the request of the Archbishop, the Jesuit Fathers undertook direction of the College in 1933. Fr. John Holland, S.J. was appointed Rector and Fr. Erle Bartlett, S.J. was appointed Dean of Studies. In 1936, St. Mary's College for Women became the women's division of St. Paul's.

In 1939, six more classrooms were added and paid for through the Archdiocese and generous friends of the College. By the mid-1940s, students were being turned away because of the lack of space. A building fund drive at that time was not particularly successful and attention was turned to relocating to the University of Manitoba campus with whom ongoing negotiations about relocation had been taking place. Following a pressing invitation from the University in 1954, a decision was made in 1956 to accept the University's offer. In 1957 a 99-year lease for land on the campus was signed and a cornerstone was laid and blessed by Archbishop Pocock. At that ceremony, the Honourable Mr. Miller, Minister of Education, speaking on behalf of the government, congratulated the College for undertaking the move and added to the Archbishop's blessing "if you want governmental blessing, you have it." The Canada council contributed $100,000 towards constructing the new building. The architect was Mr. Peter Thornton, and the contractors were Wallace and Aikens.

In the fall of 1958, the basic buildings and administrative offices containing classrooms, library, cafeteria, faculty offices, and the chapel were ready for the first students. About 200 registered that year. With the new facility, St. Paul’s became a co-educational institution and St. Mary’s eventually withdrew from university work.

In 1962, the Science Wing was added, containing well-furnished laboratories, more classrooms and faculty offices. The student cafeteria was extended in 1964 and the Residence of the Jesuit Fathers was added. 1972 saw the construction of our beautiful library, a theatre to seat 200 and the addition of further classroom and faculty office space. A larger library and a student residence were part of the original plan, but were never constructed.

Presently the College is under the direction of the St. Paul's Corporation and an 18-person Board of Governors. The Archbishop of Winnipeg is the College Chancellor, and the College continues to value its commitment as a Catholic institution in the Jesuit tradition.

The new millennium saw the construction of the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice (now the Arthur V. Mauro Institute, November 2019), an addition that provides graduate and undergraduate studies in peacebuilding and conflict resolution.

Mission and Ethos

St. Paul’s College is a post-secondary Catholic institution endorsed by the Canadian Province of the Society of Jesus.

St. Paul's College, established in 1926 by the Archbishop of Winnipeg, is a corporation established by a special act of the Legislature of the Province of Manitoba, whose Members include the Archbishop of Winnipeg and whose Board of Governors is entrusted with the responsibility of governing the College in collaboration with the faculty and students of the College. Since 1970, the corporation's relations with the University of Manitoba have been governed by a formal agreement whereby the funding and operation of the College has been closely integrated with that of a publicly funded provincial university. The canonical responsibility of St. Paul's College is vested in the Archbishop of Winnipeg who is the Chancellor of the College.


St. Paul's College, the Catholic college in the Ignatian tradition at the University of Manitoba, serves the Church and Society by promoting learning, both secular and spiritual, through excellence in research, teaching, and service.


At St. Paul's, we value each person, the community, social justice, the search for truth by faith and reason, and ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.


  1. To strengthen the Catholic Identity of the College.
  2. To offer educational programs of the highest possible quality with a particular emphasis on programs and courses in Catholic thought.
  3. To enhance student success by fostering an environment conducive to intellectual, personal, and spiritual growth.
  4. To ensure the presence of qualified people in academic, governance and administrative positions who are committed to the development, communication and application of the Catholic intellectual tradition.
  5. To enhance relations between the College and the Catholic community.
  6. To secure the financial and physical resources necessary to support the programs and services of the College, particularly those that relate to its Catholic identity and mission.

Submitted to the Board of Governors: June 5, 2000

Approved by the Board of Governors: June 5, 2000


St. Paul's College is committed to the social, intellectual, aesthetic, moral and spiritual growth of its community composed of students, staff, faculty, chaplains, board, and Jesuit Fathers, and to the development of justice and knowledge for all. St. Paul's seeks to synthesize knowledge gained from work in the humanities and the sciences, and encourages research in order to further our understanding of human individuals, human groups and human cultures.

St. Paul's embodies the Catholic heritage, but imposes no creed. It asks only a commitment to the College Ethos, in conformity with its mission and aims, and to the continued pursuit of high academic achievement.

St. Paul's College is a liberal arts college, which expresses the Christian, Catholic, and Jesuit heritage.

Since St. Paul's is a Christian college, it encourages active involvement of individuals interested in the study of human reality from the perspective of the Christian heritage. This perspective holds that the individual is a self-transcending unity of body and spirit, which is open to the mystery of God, a mystery most fully communicated in Jesus Christ.

Since St. Paul's is a Catholic college, it encourages the active involvement of individuals interested in the study of human reality from the perspective of the Catholic heritage. This provides the perceptions of Christian realist philosophy, and of sacramental, mediational, and communal Catholic theology.

Since St. Paul's is grounded in the Jesuit educational tradition, it encourages the active involvement of individuals interested in the application of the Ignatian worldview to the study of human reality. This perspective views the temporal and spiritual as interwoven and fosters the study of secular and religious subjects conjointly in order that human excellence might be expressed in men and women of right principles, in touch with their times, and in tune with their culture. It is precisely this Ignatian worldview, which integrates and justifies the Ethos of St. Paul's College in conformity with its mission and aims.

Approved by the Board of Directors: March 5, 1986.

Revised by the Board of Directors: October 3, 1994.

Revised by the Board of Governors: June 7, 1999