Celebrating a century of close quarters

- December 18, 2023

Blueprints for the University of King's College (Nick Pearce photo).
Blueprints for the University of King's College (Nick Pearce photo).

Nova Scotia’s 11 degree-granting institutions collaborate in many ways, but the relationship between Dalhousie and King’s College is decidedly special. This year marks the 100th anniversary of their Agreement of Association, which was brought to fruition three years after a fire destroyed King’s beloved home in Windsor. Earlier efforts to create a union between them had failed, as had several later attempts to establish a wider federation of Maritime colleges.

The Carnegie Foundation of New York, which had an expressed interest in Maritime education, agreed to assist King’s if the college were willing to join with Dalhousie and move its campus to Halifax. The Faculty of Arts would become a joint faculty of Dal and King’s professors, the latter to be funded by the foundation—hence King’s Carnegie Professors, who still teach across both universities. Other terms of association included Dalhousie’s sole right to confer academic degrees and the transfer of King’s library collections and scientific apparatus to Dalhousie. In exchange, Dalhousie would provide up to five acres of Studley Campus on which King’s could rebuild, with the provision that the college buildings be in keeping with Dalhousie’s established style and that plans be approved by their de facto university architect, Andrew Cobb.

It would be six more years before King’s had the money to build. In the meantime, the college, with its 85 students, moved into Birchdale, a former hotel on the Northwest Arm bought by Dalhousie to serve as a student residence. In 1930 King’s opened the doors to its new campus, nestled on Studley’s northwest corner. Built of blue-grey quartzite dotted with red stones, the buildings were both reminiscent of King’s Windsor heritage and at ease alongside Dalhousie's neo-Georgian ironstone campus. Distinct but harmonious, a fine reflection on the association itself. And a century later, good neighbours still make good friends.

Read more: Dalhousie and King’s celebrate 100 years together (Dal News)

Blueprints for the University of King's College (Nick Pearce photo).

Blueprints for the University of King's College (Nick Pearce photo).

This story appeared in the DAL Magazine Fall/Winter 2023 issue. Flip through the rest of the issue using the links below.


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