Our Story

At the University of Alberta, we begin with people—people with ideas, talent, and purpose. Then, we act. 

We seek knowledge. We educate citizens. We ask the big questions. We push the limits of human understanding and knowledge. We engage with partners and communities close to home and around the world to lead positive change. We empower creative people to take risks and make imaginative leaps towards as yet undetermined futures. 

Why? The answer is simple: We are a public university acting for the public good. When we act, we provide meaningful educational experiences, promote innovative thinking, and develop original and compelling solutions that matter. 

When we lead, we tackle the most important local, national, and global challenges. When we excel, our work sparks and feeds widespread social, cultural, and economic benefits for others—indeed for the uplifting of the whole people. 

In For the Public Good—our institutional strategic plan for the coming decade—we embrace and affirm our vision to inspire the human spirit through outstanding achievements in learning, discovery, and citizenship in a creative community, building one of the world’s great universities for the public good.


The University of Alberta respectfully acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory, traditional lands of First Nations and Metis people.


The University of Alberta is the province's leading educator, generator of new ideas, and engine of social, cultural, and economic prosperity. Created by one of the first acts of the legislature, our university is one of the province's most enduring and vital public institutions. As our name suggests, our history is bound to that of Alberta; we respectfully acknowledge that we are on Treaty Six Territory and the homelands of First Nations and Métis peoples. For more than a century, University of Alberta scholars have inspired graduates to become purposeful, active citizens and leaders. Our alumni-now numbering more than 260,000-have founded more than 70,000 organizations and businesses around the world, creating one and a half million jobs, nearly 400,000 in Alberta. Along with inspiring next-generation leaders, University of Alberta scholars have engaged in research and creative activities answering fundamental questions, building new industries and businesses, improving human health, fostering social, economic, and environmental change, and enhancing an innovative and vibrant arts and culture scene. They are world-leaders in fields as diverse as energy, virology, literature and history, agricultural genomics and proteomics, and paleontology. Today, the University of Alberta is one of Canada's leading research universities. Standing with pride among the world's finest public institutions, the University of Alberta brings the ideas of Albertans to the world, and the world of ideas to Albertans.


Stories told by University of Alberta alumni often share a common thematic arc. That arc tells of students being inspired by exceptional professors to pursue excellence, to stretch themselves in new ways, and take on the responsibilities of public service and leadership. Undergraduate and graduate students, along with professional, continuing, and lifelong learners, continue to pursue transformative learning experiences that reveal and nurture their talents and prepare them for success. They seek an education that is rich with experiential learning, interdisciplinary depth, research opportunities, and engagement with business, government, and community organizations. At the University of Alberta, we strive to answer learners' intellectual and professional aspirations. Arts and science programs form the foundation of the university's broad network of professional faculties and continuing education opportunities. Our multi-campus environment offers students the benefits of an intimate liberal arts education at Augustana Campus or an immersive francophone education at Campus Saint-Jean, connected to one of Canada's most highly respected research universities. This diversity of opportunity, combined with our international, multicultural, and Indigenous populations of students, faculty, and staff, builds global citizens-leaders with the imagination, critical eye, and passion to rethink the status quo, diversify economies, and reinvigorate society.


At the University of Alberta, excellence is both a goal and an attitude. We aspire to achieve the first and to inspire the latter. Motivated to excel, University of Alberta students, faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and staff have received many academic awards and distinctions over the history of the university, including 71 Rhodes Scholarships, 15 Banting Post-doctoral Fellowships, 41 3M National Teaching Fellowships, and three Governor General Awards for Literature. Many in our community are members of the Order of Canada (60), fellows of the Royal Society of Canada (138), members of the Alberta Order of Excellence (20), and winners of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (11)-honours that recognize not only outstanding research achievement but also exceptional service and contribution to society. Researchers across the university consistently attract more than $450 million in external research funding each year. When we excel as researchers, we create knowledge that translates into social, technical, and artistic innovations, new enterprises and community organizations, life-saving medical treatments and procedures, critically needed environmental protections, and more. When we excel as researchers, teachers and students, we empower a culture that values curiosity, critical thinking, diversity, hard work, and ambition-all vital to advancing knowledge and inciting change for the public good. When we excel on the global stage, we connect Alberta and Canada to the world.


From the earliest years when professors and staff travelled to rural communities to lecture on Shakespeare, agricultural practices, and more, the University of Alberta has been deeply embedded in communities both near and far. In 1908, founding president Henry Marshall Tory reminded Albertans that "the modern state university has sprung from a demand on the part of the people themselves" and promised "that knowledge shall not alone be the concern of scholars. The uplifting of the whole people shall be its final goal." He challenged future generations not to forget this ultimate goal. It has not been forgotten. We continue to seek mutually beneficial, reciprocal connections and collaborations with partners throughout the global academy, as well as with local, rural, and Indigenous communities. We work with industry, business, and government to find solutions to shared problems. We engage with diverse partners to conduct and translate learning and research into evidence-based public policy, improved industrial practices, changed attitudes, and healthier, more compassionate communities. We sit at the centre of the province's Campus Alberta and Edmonton's City of Learners, working with our post-secondary partners to provide Albertans with multiple integrated pathways to achieve their educational goals and aspirations. We build multi-level, cross-sectoral national and international partnerships with high-ranking universities and institutions across Canada and the world. Through these efforts and more, we reaffirm Tory's founding promise, and continue to grow as a university that endeavours to create and disseminate knowledge and scholarship for the benefit and uplifting of the whole people.


As a proud public university, the University of Alberta not only serves the people of our province and our country but also receives their steadfast support. We earn that support and trust because of the quality of our work and the benefits we bring to all Albertans and Canadians as a leading global institution founded on more than a century of excellence in teaching, learning, research, and service. We maintain that support and trust because we take seriously our responsibility to steward and sustain public investments in our people, operations, infrastructure, and systems. One of Canada's Greenest Employers since 2009, we strive to model sustainability as an integral part of university life, recognizing that the health and well-being of our people are tied to the health and well-being of our environment, economy, and social systems. The University of Alberta is a recognized leader in environmental sustainability and energy management in practice as well as teaching and research. We promote a culture of continuous improvement in administration and governance, and ensure that our resources are used and sustained effectively to ensure the long-term vibrancy of our institution. We do this to the benefit of Campus Alberta as a whole: we share critical research infrastructure, provide systems and services to smaller institutions, facilitate student mobility, and build partnerships across the province to ensure that all Albertans have access to their provincial university and the benefits we offer.
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