SMUS History

St. Michaels University School first came into existence in 1971, when two schools, St. Michael’s School and University School decided to join together.

The Wilson Archives

The Wilson Archives (named for former headmaster Robert Wilson) is a repository of SMUS history that is also available online as The Wilson Interactive Archives. Find out more about the fascinating history of our school and submit your own memories.

 The Wilson Archives

St. Michaels University School History

  • 1971: St. Michael’s School and University School amalgamate to form St. Michaels University School (note – the removal of the apostrophe in the new name was intentional).
  • 1973: The school enrols Grade 1 and Grade 2 students for the first time.
  • 1974: The International Baccalaureate office in Geneva accepts the International Baccalaureate status of the school.
  • 1978: SMUS becomes the first school in Canada to offer Advanced Placement courses and eventually drops the IB program in favour of AP. Seven students write AP exams in the first year.
  • 1978: Girls enter the school and boarding life for the first time
  • 1985: The Wenman Pavilion is opened and dedicated to Reg Wenman (student and teacher at University School from 1912-1971)
  • 1992: The Middle School moves to the new Middle School building on the Richmond Road campus.
  • 1993: Boarding houses are re-named – Bolton, Harvey, Winslow, Timmis, Symons, Barnacle.
  • 1994: The new Science Block is opened and the first-ever Composer's Concert debuts, featuring original works composed by the students.
  • 1996: Cricket returns to SMUS and the Clayton Cup, first inaugurated in 1912, returns.
  • 2002: Crothall Centre for Arts and Humanities opens.
  • 2004: In recognition of work done by our Streamkeepers and Shorekeepers, an environmental achievement award was presented to our most dedicated volunteers by Mayor Frank Leonard. John and Anne Schaffter Hall Music Centre opens.
  • 2008: Monkman Athletic Complex, including the Brian Graves Squash Courts, opens.
  • 2018: The Sun Centre student commons and dining hall opens.
  • 2021: SMUS celebrates 50 years since the amalgamation of St. Michael’s School and University School.

St. Michael's School and University School


St. Michael's School

University School

Founding year




K.C. Symons

Rev. W.W. Bolton, J.C. Barnacle and R.V. Harvey


Royal blue and black

Red and black


Nihil magnum nisi bonum: Nothing is great unless it is good.

Mens sana in corpore sano: A healthy mind in a healthy body.

Fun Facts

In 1915, University School founder Rev. W.W. Bolton offered K.C. Symons the position of Head of University Junior School, but K.C. declined graciously.

Eleven boarders and Captain Beaumont were marooned returning from a trip to Discovery Island in 1918, until they were rescued by a Japanese fishing boat.

When K.C. Symons retired in 1948, he was succeeded by his son K.W. Symons who continued as headmaster until 1970.

The school colours (black and royal blue) and its crest, were adopted with permission from Dulwich College, England (founder K.C. Symons' alma mater).

In the midst of the Second World War, the University School boys dug a potato patch and donated the net proceeds of this crop to the Red Cross.

In 1948, Brentwood College was amalgamated with University School after a fire destroyed their campus. The Brentwood boys stayed at University School until 1961, when a new Brentwood campus was built at Mill Bay.

University School was the first Canadian school to be represented in the Illustrated London News, as part of the series "The Education of British Youth."

In 1967, University School hosted the first visit of a British public school's XV rugby team to Canada, as the boys played Trinity College.

History Highlights

1926: St. Michael’s buys the School House building for $10,000. After raising $7,000 from donations made by Old Boys, K.C. Symons unexpectedly inherits $3,000.

1930-1931: K.C. Symons celebrates his 50th birthday with ice cream and he treats the whole school to ice cream cones. This later becomes a SMUS tradition.

1937-1938: The school buys its first radio to keep up to date with any war news.

1959-1960: The new St. Michael's School campus is opened.

1919-1920: The Old Boys resolve at their annual meeting that red, black and gold will be the colours of the Old Boys' Association and should be adopted by football jerseys, cricket blazers, ties, etc. University School decides to become a military school.

1923-1924: The headmaster's residence, known now as Reynolds House, is finished.

1941-1942: The Ker Cup is awarded jointly for the first time in the history of the Cup.

1957-1958: Brown Hall is opened thanks to a gift from Mrs. R.A. Brown of Calgary.