U of A: A Rich History

Explore the history of the U of A through the words of our past presidents.

The Early Years

The first graduate degrees conferred at the University of Alberta at the first Convocation, held May 16, 1911, were two Master of Arts degrees to George Fred McNally and Jennie Stark Hill, and three Master of Science degrees to Clarence Arthur Curtis, James Alexander Fife and Ethelbert Lincoln Hill.

From 1911 until 1955 the University conferred a total of 1,163 graduate degrees, all but seven on the master's level. From 1956 until 1982 the University awarded a total of 11,676 graduate degrees, of which 2,753 were PhD's.

In 1957, the Graduate School became the Faculty of Graduate Studies with first Dean Dr. A.G. McCalla leading the way.

(Excerpt in part from: The Development of Graduate Studies at the University of Alberta, 1908-1983. Arthur G. McCalla.)

The Killam Trusts

For decades, generous contributions from the Killam family have provided our students with financial and research support.

We gratefully acknowledge the invaluable financial assistance that the Killam Trusts have provided the university and our doctoral laureates, postdoctoral fellows and professors.

Since 1967, the endowment created by the Killam bequest has provided more than $96 million in program funding to the U of A.

My purpose in establishing the Killam Trusts is to help in the building of Canada's future by encouraging advanced study. Thereby, I hope, in some measure, to increase the scientific and scholastic attainments of Canadians, to develop and expand the work of Canadian universities and to promote sympathetic understanding between Canadians and peoples of other countries.

Dorothy Killam

Photo image for Dorothy Killam

The Naming of Triffo Hall

Triffo Hall is home to the Killam Centre for Advanced Studies, which houses GPS, the Graduate Students' Association, and the Postdoctoral Fellows' office.

Originally built in 1915, the structure underwent an extensive renovation in 2008.

The newly minted Triffo Hall opened on April 15, 2008, in honour of the $1 million donation from Ronald and Dorothy Triffo.

LEEDing the Way in Environmental Design

In May 2009, Triffo Hall became the first project at the U of A to be registered with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED ®) association.

The renovation incorporated sustainable design strategies, including:

  • Reusing the historical structure, one of the oldest buildings on campus
  • Maximizing the use of daylight
  • Capturing and reusing rainwater
  • Using high-performance heating and cooling