Our history

The story of how we carved out a place for ourselves and built this great institution. 

Like many Calgary success stories, ours has a spirited beginning, an unprecedented growth spurt and a promising future.

Even before Alberta became a province in September 1905, the citizens of a very young Calgary were determined to host a post-secondary institution as part of building a great city.

In 1906, the Alberta Normal School (which would later become our own Werklund School of Education) began operations and provided a steady stream of educators for a new province eager to grow and advance quickly.

When the University of Alberta was founded in 1908 in Strathcona (now part of Edmonton), Calgarians were disappointed with the "branch plant" concept that ensued and lobbied for decades for an independent institution of their own. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and volunteers joined together to support the cause, with great passion and commitment.

Their dedication was finally rewarded on April 29, 1966 when the University of Calgary was granted autonomy. From there, growth was fast and furious, as a new campus took shape and innovative educators came to Calgary from around the world.

In 2016-17, the University of Calgary marked its 50th Anniversary as an autonomous institution.

From the archives




The roads that brought us here

What are our defining moments? They wind through 50 years and countless memories, each one stamping a mark on the cultural and physical landscape of our city. We're looking back but we're pushing forward. 

aerial photograph of downtown Calgary

Calgary's urban evolution

A university and a city growing together side by side.

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campus in winter

Changing face of campus

Creating an intellectual hub to empower the problem-solvers of the future, today.

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archway scuplture

Culture and society

Fueling the cultural and social transformation of a city and region.

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forest scene

Energy and the environment

Harnessing the power of our greatest natural resource, knowledge.

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High-performance athletics

High-performance athletics

Pushing physiological, mechanical, and psychological limits to prepare the next generation of top Canadian athletes.

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classroom with students

How we teach and learn

Challenging, inspiring and helping the curious to stay curious.

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Human and animal health

Human and animal health

Improving the lives of others, human and animal alike, by creating the future of health.

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Our place in the universe

Investigating the science of Earth, space, and the evolution of life as we know it.

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