St. Mark's College is the Catholic theological college at the University of British Columbia. We offer graduate degree programs to teachers, administrators, health workers, and other professionals, and certificates in Religious Education, Theological Studies, Pastoral Studies, and Catholic Ministry Leadership. We also offer continuing education courses throughout the year. We have been entrusted by the Archdiocese of Vancouver to provide the academic component of the Permanent Deacon program.
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Founded by the Basilian Fathers and chartered by the provincial legislature in 1956 as a theological college in affiliation with UBC Vancouver, St. Mark’s College has long contributed to the life of the university through residential, library, and teaching resources. For many years, the faculty of St. Mark’s College taught within the University of British Columbia. Through its Catholic Campus Ministry programs, the College also serves the estimated 8,000 Catholics studying, teaching, and working on the campuses of UBC, St. Mark's College, and Corpus Christi College.
Some seventy years ago, at an age when most men would have retired, Basilian Father Henry Carr undertook a bold new beginning. It was 1937 when Fr. Carr made his way to the West Coast at the request of Archbishop Duke. His educational leadership in Toronto, Saskatoon and Edmonton made him a natural choice to assist in the establishment of Catholic higher education in B.C.
The northeast corner of the UBC campus had long been reserved for a Roman Catholic College within the theological precinct at the UBC campus. With an active Newman Club since 1932 and eventually three Basilian Fathers teaching at the University, the idea of starting a College, which could provide a base for these operations and for others as well, seemed highly attractive.
It would take another two decades of discussion and planning and the continued leadership of the Basilians and Archbishop Martin Johnson to secure a provincial charter in 1956 for the establishment of a Catholic theological college at UBC. Following a fundraising campaign, the official opening of the St. Mark’s College classroom and residences buildings took place on September 9th, 1958.
From here the College grew wings, literally and spiritually. In 1959, a small ‘temporary’ chapel and library were added. When the current St. Mark’s chapel and library were eventually dedicated in 1997, the former chapel was converted into a student lounge (now Plato’s Cave) and in 1999 the original library was remodelled to serve as classroom space for Corpus Christi, the new Catholic undergraduate college on the campus. The entire wing was renamed Hanrahan Hall in 2005 in honour of Fr. James Hanrahan, CSB, the longest serving Principal of St. Mark’s. The current library (dedicated in 2007 as the Micallef Memorial Library) now holds over 40,000 volumes, qualifying it as the largest public Catholic library in the province. While the library specializes in theology, philosophy and patristics, the generosity of recent donors (including Drs. Patricia Roy, Jacqueline Gresko and Gerald Sylvester) has resulted in an important collection in Canadian history.
While the residences are now gone, the academic programming at both colleges is expanding and the need for classroom and faculty space has St. Mark’s looking to expand its facilities. St. Mark’s now offers graduate certificates and master’s level degrees in theological studies, religious education and pastoral studies, as well as continuing education diplomas. The establishment in 1999 of Corpus Christi’s undergraduate humanities program has brought the plans of Fr. Carr full circle.
For half a century St. Mark’s has provided a home for Catholic higher education and Catholics on the UBC campus. Now in partnership with Corpus Christi College, St. Mark’s looks forward to continuing its service to the Church and society in western Canada.