Queen’s is one of Canada’s oldest degree-granting institutions, and has influenced Canadian higher education since 1841 when it was established by Royal Charter of Queen Victoria. With over 170 years of tradition, the university affirms that heritage on both its Kingston, Ontario campus, and on its East Sussex, UK campus located in the 650 year-old Herstmonceux Castle. Heritage and legacy are important concepts to the ethos of Queen’s, and to the Bader International Study Centre.
BISC and Queen's
Queen's University was established on October 16, 1841 in a Royal Charter issued by Queen Victoria. Its founders modelled the new college on the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and like them, Queen's was given a governing structure built around a Board of Trustees, a Principal, and a Senate.
Classes began on March 7, 1842, when "Queen's College at Kingston" opened in a small wood-frame house on the edge of the city with two professors and 13 students. A Faculty of Medicine was added in 1854, and in 1869, Queen's became the first university west of the Maritimes to admit women to classes. In 1893, Queen's established the Ontario School of Mining and Agriculture, forerunner of today's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. A graduate studies program was launched in l889, and in 1918 Queen's introduced the first commerce courses in Canada. The School of Nursing was launched in 1941 and the Faculty of Law opened in 1957.
By the mid-1970s, the number of full-time students had reached 10,000. And though the number of students levelled out, the number of applications soared, allowing Queen's to develop what are now the highest undergraduate admission standards in Canada. Queen's also worked successfully throughout the decade to improve graduate studies and research, increasing both the quantity and the quality of its graduate students. Under the leadership of Principal David Smith (1984-1994), Queen's worked to maintain its high graduate and undergraduate standards. It sought as well to build on its roots as a place that welcomes students from all parts of Canadian society and from around the world.
This move to a more global ethos continued with the establishment of a branch campus in the United Kingdom, built around the donation of England's historic Herstmonceux Estate, complete with a 15th-century moated castle, to Queen's in 1993 by alumnus Alfred Bader. The estate serves as the Bader International Study Centre (BISC). For twenty years, the BISC has served Queen’s students as a base camp for going global, and as a site where Queen’s can showcase its commitment to quality higher education.
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