We must focus on the value Saint Mary’s brings to civil society. Our value comes from educating in the broadest sense, in both deep knowledge and liberal breadth, in all facets of the arts, science, and business. There is immense value in educating future leaders with a knowledge of self and society; of making discoveries that transform human health, economies, and cultures.

The liberal education at the heart of the University shapes young people’s values and attitudes, and inspires all of us to build just and safe communities. At Saint Mary’s we engage in a culture of respect that acknowledges diversity and cultural intersection, and one that supports civil dialogue. The University is committed to accessibility, diversity, and the provision of a positive and supportive learning environment.

The ultimate objective of a Saint Mary’s education is to nurture and support productive, critical, and responsible citizens. The true value of a university education is realized when it also instills in all members of the University community a strong sense of personal worth, and a commitment to social responsibility.

The purpose of liberal education is to cultivate in students a broad knowledge base, skills of enquiry across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, appreciation for the importance of historical and cultural contexts, and respect for truth and ethical conduct.
A clear and pervasive commitment to social responsibility enriches the educational experience of current students, inspires prospective students to choose Saint Mary’s University as the place to study, and contributes significantly to their development as active citizens.


Consultation summary

During the President's consultation sessions in October and November 2015, these questions were posed to the participants:

What makes Saint Mary’s unique?

  • In your mind, what are the values we should be focusing on?
  • How do we strengthen this commitment to values?

Key themes and ideas

Commitment to Excellence

  • Two hundred year history of teaching excellence
  • Saint Mary’s offers flexibility for students who work and study
  • Interdisciplinary approach to education
  • Saint Mary’s provides engaged citizenship
  • We are creating life-long learners
  • Easy access to faculty, opportunities for mentorship
  • Success oriented
  • Spiritually rooted
  • Welcoming

Diversity and Accessibility

  • Fosters an intercultural student body
  • An inclusive classroom: opportunities to hear from different perspectives
  • Concern for social justice issues
  • SMU opens the door to first generation students, students with disabilities - there is support for everyone
  • Respectful
  • Affordable tuition


  • Continue to ensure the sense of small campus
  • Connection to Halifax: hands on work/outreach in the community
  • Genuine concern for others
  • Connecting the classroom to the real world: via co-op and volunteer opportunities and course content
  • Multi-faceted sense of community


  • Student relationship with faculty (open and personalized)
  • Individualized attention to achieve success
  • Opportunities to pursue programs across faculties
  • More than a degree – about the whole person
  • Integration across student body