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Cape Breton University

Cape Breton University
Motto Theid Díchioll Air Thoiseach (Scottish Gaelic)
Motto in English Perseverance Will Triumph
Established 1951 as Xavier Junior College
1968 as NSEIT
1974 as College Of Cape Breton
1982 as University College Of Cape Breton
2005 as Cape Breton University
Type Public
Religious affiliation non-denominational
Endowment $14M[1]
Chancellor Annette Verschuren
President Dr. David Wheeler[2]
Students 4,344[3]
Undergraduates 4,140[3]
Postgraduates 204[3]
Doctoral students not available
Location P.O. Box 5300 Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada B1P 6L2
Campus Urban
Former names Xavier Junior College (1951)
Nova Scotia Eastern Institute of Technology (1968)
College of Cape Breton (1974)
University College of Cape Breton (1982)[4]
Sport Teams CBU Capers
Colours Gold     , Green     , black      and gray      orange
Nickname Capers
Mascot Caper

Cape Breton University (CBU), formerly known as the "University College of Cape Breton" (UCCB), is a Canadian university in Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Located near Sydney, CBU is the only post-secondary degree-granting institution on Cape Breton Island. The university is enabled by the Cape Breton University Act passed by the Nova Scotia House of Assembly.[5] Prior to this, CBU was enabled by the University College of Cape Breton Act (amended).[6] The University College of Cape Breton's Coat of Arms were registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority on May 27, 1995.[7]

CBU is an ordinary (full) member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) and Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU), as well as an Associate Member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).[8]


  • History 1
  • Library and Archives 2
  • Campus 3
  • Academics 4
    • School of Arts and Social Sciences 4.1
    • Shannon School of Business 4.2
    • School of Professional Studies 4.3
    • School of Science and Technology 4.4
    • Unama'ki College 4.5
  • Scholarships & Bursaries 5
  • Research 6
  • Students' Union 7
  • Newspaper 8
  • Athletics 9
  • Clubs and Societies 10
  • Notable alumni 11
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


CBU traces its roots to 1951 when the St. Francis Xavier University Sydney Campus was opened as a satellite campus of St. Francis Xavier University. Also referred to informally as "St. Francis Xavier Junior College" or "Xavier Junior College" (XJC) and colloquially as "Little X", the St. Francis Xavier University Sydney Campus was situated in Sydney's central business district and saw several buildings opened as a result of growth during its first decade of operation.

While working as librarian at Xavier Junior College, Mother St. Margaret of Scotland (Sister Margaret Beaton) recognized that documents of historical significance to Cape Breton Island were being lost. In 1957 Sister Beaton responded to this challenge and established Cape Bretoniana.

The Nova Scotia Eastern Institute of Technology (NSEIT) opened in 1968 on Grand Lake Road (Trunk 4) several kilometres east of the Sydney city limits. This institution focused on business technology and trades and its development was largely enabled by federal and provincial funding at a time when the coal and steel industries in Industrial Cape Breton were facing serious financial challenges.

In the early 1970s, the provincial and federal governments, as well as the local community, recognized the need for developing an institution of higher learning in the economically challenged Industrial Cape Breton region. With assistance from the Cape Breton Development Corporation, St. Francis Xavier University Sydney Campus and NSEIT were merged into the College of Cape Breton (CCB) in June 1974.

In 1980, the former NSEIT campus on Grand Lake Road was expanded as the institution consolidated at this location. The Government of Nova Scotia granted CCB a charter for granting university degrees in 1982 which saw the institution rename itself as the University College of Cape Breton (UCCB). UCCB united diverse education streams such as the liberal arts and sciences with technological and vocational diploma programs.[9]

In 2004, UCCB undertook several studies on how to better position the institution locally, regionally and nationally. One recommendation arising out of these studies was to rename the institution to remove the reference to "college", in recognition of its transformation over the past two decades into primarily a university level institution. This process led to UCCB transferring its trades and technology programs to the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) which operated its "Marconi Campus" (the former NSEIT) which is co-located on the Grand Lake Road campus.

On September 23, 2004 the university's board of governors voted unanimously to rename the institution Breton University, however the proposed name received opposition from a number of groups in the institution and local community over the removal of the word "Cape" from the proposed new name, thus the name Cape Breton University was adopted instead. The name change became official through the University College of Cape Breton Act (amended) which received Royal Assent on May 19, 2005.

Library and Archives

The Beaton Institute, housed at CBU, is the second largest public archive in Nova Scotia. The Beaton Institute operates as a regional archive from and about Cape Breton Island's history, society, politics, economy, health, people, places, and events. The collection includes paper records, photographs, film, video, audio materials, books, maps, plans, and microfilms.[10]


The original CBU campus structures were built in the 1960s. A major expansion was undertaken for the 1987 Canada Winter Games which saw extensive sports facilities built at the campus. During the 1990s over $20 million were spent on several campus expansions that saw residences, a Student, Culture, and Heritage Centre, and various academic and research facilities were constructed.[11]

The university continued to expand with major campus additions initiated in 2009. As a collaborative player, CBU became a lead partner in the establishment of the Cape Breton Health Recreation Complex. The $10 million project is a newly opened health and recreation community facility situated on the CBU campus. It provides CBU students and the community with access to a track and field operation and year round indoor soccer facilities as well as a fitness centre.[11]

CBU is growing in terms or residence and enhanced food services through the construction of Harriss Hall, a new student residence and dining hall, in September 2010. [12] The residence halls now offer meal service and living space for over 550 students.[11]

The establishment of the Verschuren Centre Centre for Sustainability in Energy & Environment (CSEE) is a major part of CBU’s commitment to growth in research, specifically in efforts to balance needs for new sources of energy and increasing environmental sustainability. With public and private investment, construction on the CSEE began in 2010. Additionally,in 2012, the new Shannon School of Business building opened and became the new home of the Shannon School of Business faculty and programs. [13]


Cape Breton University serves more than 3,300 full-time and part-time students from local, regional and national locations.[3] CBU is also the academic home of several hundred international students representing more than 50 countries.[14]

Virtually all Cape Breton University degree, diploma and certificate programs offer a transition-to-work component through co-op education, work placements, internships and work-study programs. [15]

CBU has four faculties and one affiliated college and offers the following programs:

School of Arts and Social Sciences

Bachelors degrees in:

  • Anthropology and Sociology
  • Communication
  • Community Studies
  • History and Culture
  • Languages and Letters
  • Mathematics
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • Political Science
  • Psychology

Shannon School of Business

  • Master of Business Administration in Community Economic Development
  • Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
  • Bachelor of Arts Community Studies/Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • Bachelor of Technology Information
  • Certificate & Designation Programs

School of Professional Studies

  • Cape Breton Health Research Centre
  • Education Advisory Council
  • Master of Education (Information Technology)
  • Bachelor of Education
  • Bachelor of Science Nursing
  • Bachelor of Health Sciences (Public Health)
  • Bachelor of Technology (Emergency Management)
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition (Transfer)
  • Diploma Programs
  • Certificate Programs

School of Science and Technology

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Science Community Studies
  • Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Electronics & Controls)
  • Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Environmental Studies)
  • Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Manufacturing)
  • Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Petroleum)
  • Bachelor of Engineering Transfer Program (Engineering Diploma)
  • Bachelor of Computer Science (Transfer)
  • Other Science Programs

Combined Programs

  • BSc in Mathematics jointly with the Engineering Diploma
  • BSc Chemistry with Engineering
  • BSc in Mathematics with Computing Science
  • Diploma Programs

Unama'ki College

"In 2010, Unama’ki College was founded as an offshoot of the school specializing in Mi’kmaq history, culture and education." As of 2013, "it has some 250 aboriginal students. Its library holds 1,500 books on aboriginal issues and 7,000 documents."[16]

  • Mi’kmaq Resource Centre (MRC)
  • L’nui’sultimkeweyo’kom Mi’kmaq Language Lab
  • Indigenous Science Research Commons
  • Indigenous Students Commons
  • Department of Indigenous Studies
  • Unama’ki College Student Services
  • Mi’kmaq Student Services
  • Aboriginal Academic Support Programming

Scholarships & Bursaries

The Government of Canada sponsors an Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool that lists over 680 scholarships, bursaries, and other incentives offered by governments, universities, and industry to support Aboriginal post-secondary participation. Cape Breton University scholarships for Aboriginal, First Nations and Métis students include: Earth Tech/CBCL Award – Entrance Award; Verschuren Family Entrance Scholarship; Wood, Walker Foundation Aboriginal Awards Entrance Scholarship; Bank of Montreal Aboriginal Business Administration Student Scholarship [17]


CBU is a small comprehensive university that performs over $3 million in externally funded research and employed over 65 students as researchers in 2011.[18][19] The Office of Research and Graduate Studies publishes two annual research publication titled Research Matters, as well as a separate student Research Matters magazine.[18] Research chairs and programs at CBU include:[11]

  • Two Tier 1 & One Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs
    • Integrative Science
    • Intangible Cultural Heritage
    • Molecular Spectroscopy
  • Chair in Mine Water Management
  • Projects funded by all federal granting councils
  • CFI, NSRIT, AIF projects

Currently CBU offers two graduate programs (Master of Business Administration in Community Economic Development and Masters of Education in Information Technology) with two additional graduate programs in development(Social Justice and Heritage Management).[20]

Students' Union

The Cape Breton University Students' Union provides services such as the Emergency Bursary Fund, funding and management of societies, health and dental plans, Women’s Centre, Pride and Ally Centre, Capers Helping Capers: The Orange Initiative, The Pit (campus bar), Caper Convenience (store), and free legal service. The CBUSU's main focus is advocacy on behalf of its members, and it is also the largest employer of students on the CBU campus.[21]


The Caper Times is a newspaper owned collectively by the students of Cape Breton University and published by the Publishing Board of the Caper Times. It prints 2,000 copies on a fortnightly basis and is distributed on campus and to 25 points across the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and southern Victoria County. The newspaper has been autonomous from the Cape Breton University Students' Union since March 1, 2013. It is a member of the Canadian University Press. The newspaper also publishes an electronic monthly newsletter, CampusLink, which is tailored specifically for Cape Breton University students and faculty. The current Chairperson of the Publishing Board is Sarah Hines and the current Editor-in-Chief is Frederick Boutilier.


CBU is represented in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) association by the Cape Breton University Capers. Men's teams include basketball and soccer, while women's teams include basketball, soccer and volleyball teams. All sports teams wear uniforms with the Caper logo and mascot along with the school color (orange).

Clubs and Societies

The CBU Students' Union list includes the following societies:

  • Biology Society
  • CBU Celtic & Gaelic Society
  • Chemistry Society
  • Children's Wish
  • Chinese Students' Association
  • Christian Student Society
  • CBU Debating Society
  • Education Society
  • Engineering Society
  • Gaming Society
  • International Students Society
  • Nursing Society
  • Orange Army
  • Petroleum Society
  • Political Science Society
  • Pre-Law Society
  • Pre-Med Society
  • Psychology Society
  • Public Health Society
  • Saudi Student Society
  • Save The Children
  • Scuba Diving Society
  • Enactus (formerly SIFE)
  • Track and Field Society
  • Vivace-Forte Society
  • Volunteer Society
  • CBU Muslim Student Society
  • Zombie Education Society

Notable alumni

Of the over 15,000+ CBU alumni across the world, some prominent grads include:[22]

See also


All facts, unless otherwise stated, are from Cape Breton University's official website.

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d "Full-time plus Part-time Enrollment". Association of Atlantic Universities. 2012-10-15. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  4. ^ The Canadian Encyclopedia University College
  5. ^
  6. ^ University College of Cape Breton Act
  7. ^ Arms and Badge
  8. ^ http://www.cbu.cas/
  9. ^ University College
  10. ^ Beaton Institute
  11. ^ a b c d
  12. ^ "CBU". 
  13. ^ "CBU". 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "CBU". 
  16. ^ Beswick, Truro (2013-10-16). "Efforts gain strength across N.S. to ensure future for Mi’kmaq language". The Chronicle Herald (Halifax, NS). Retrieved 2013-10-24. 
  17. ^ Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool
  18. ^ a b
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^

External links

  • Cape Breton University
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