Message from the President

I am pleased to present the new Strategic Plan for Saint Mary’s University. The plan highlights the importance of differentiation and sustainability for our future, and identifies what is distinctive about the Saint Mary’s scholarly community. In a post-secondary environment that has many options for students and in which there is an increasing urgency for us to ensure our future sustainability, financially, operationally and intellectually, we must articulate clearly the distinctive Santamarian experience. The plan demonstrates also how Saint Mary’s contributes to economic prosperity and social, technical and cultural understanding, both locally and globally. Further, we seek to strengthen ourselves as part of a ‘giving culture’, both internally and externally, and fostering the tradition of philanthropy as part of our values.

To date, significant consultation has taken place with students, staff and faculty to inform and engage members of the university community on key priority areas. I have worked with the executive management group, the President’s Advisory Cabinet and others to distill the information from consultations and committees into key initiatives, initiatives that will co-exist with the refreshing of our University Academic Plan, Research Plan, budget processes, Campus Master Plan and Advancement Plan in the year ahead.

Student success requires a strong and comprehensive institutional commitment, focusing on academic excellence, discovery and innovation and the continued health and wellness of our students. Our aim is to prepare our graduates to succeed in a global environment, meet the market needs of Nova Scotia, the Atlantic region and Canada, provide pathways for career launch and
progression, and ensure the sustainability of our university.

Our strong international partnerships and longstanding leadership role in bringing international students to Nova Scotia, combined with our entrepreneurial and leadership skill programs, directly advance the priorities for the province, including the attraction and retention of talented people. Our contributions to the creation and dissemination of knowledge provide ample evidence of our ability to change the world for the better, locally, nationally and internationally.

Saint Mary’s is ready to meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities of the 21st century. We
have built upon our roots of teaching excellence, research achievement, student-centred learning, accessibility, outreach and fiscal responsibility. In setting strategic priorities for the University, we have a unique opportunity to expand our role and maximize our impact.

We have several advantages as we focus on the priorities and investments needed to maintain and enhance our
position as Canada’s International University and advance our rankings and accreditations. In our 2013 bilateral
agreement with the Province of Nova Scotia we positioned Saint Mary’s as:

  • a primarily undergraduate university with select high-quality graduate programs.
  • located in an urban setting and with a residential component
  • having a high proportion of international students

To these, we add today our commitment to diversity and respect for multiple cultures, our impressive research capacity, our leadership in teaching excellence, and our sound financial management over a long period of time. From these foundational advantages, we have developed our key initiatives for this plan.

I acknowledge and thank everyone who has been involved in these many discussions and reports, including our students, faculty, staff, senior leadership, alumni and donor community, Senate and Board of Governors.

Together we have laid out a plan to venture forward with vision and purpose, to create and communicate knowledge, and to act in the world. In sum, to do what we do.

Age quod agis.



Robert Summerby-Murray
President and Vice-Chancellor, Saint Mary’s University