To Learn, To Lead, To Serve

School House as it stands today
School House as it stands today on the Richmond Road campus
To Learn, To Lead, To Serve

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To Learn, To Lead, To Serve is the history of three Victoria schools, University School established in 1906 by its three founders, J.C. Barnacle, W.W. Bolton and R.V. Harvey, St. Michael’s School founded by K.C. Symons in 1910 and St. Michaels University School formed by merging the two founding schools in 1971.

University School was set up to be primarily a boys’ boarding school educating the sons of the gentry of British Columbia and imitating the English public schools where its three founders had been educated. St. Michael’s, established by a single headmaster who remained in charge of the school from the beginning until his retirement almost 40 years later, was also intended to perpetuate the traditions of the English public schools.

Through a series of internal and external crises, both schools maintained these traditions from their foundation until they were combined in 1971. Both schools came close to failure and dissolution but, with strong guidance from a variety of people – headmasters, staff, board members – and with growing support from alumni, parents and friends, they survived and sometimes even prospered through their early and middle years.

It was, however, a final crisis that brought them together when, in the later 1960s, a major, almost fatal crisis engulfed University School. This brought an approach to the St. Michael’s board that, after lengthy negotiation, resulted in amalgamation.

At the end of its first hundred years, it has become an institution of major importance and one of the most prestigious of Canada’s independent schools.

St. Michael's School

St. Michael's School, 1921