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What is Our Promise

In 1908, Henry Marshall Tory, the University of Alberta's first president, challenged the university community, the Province of Alberta, and future generations to remember that:

"The modern state university has sprung from a demand on the part of the people themselves….The people demand that knowledge shall not be the concern of scholars alone.  The uplifting of the whole people shall be its final goal."

Today, the University of Alberta community renews our commitment to Tory’s promise by making it a conscious and visible presence or ethos on the campus.  “Uplifting the whole people” is not a temporary marketing slogan but an enduring expression of who we were are, and aspire to become. The conception of the university as a force that can “uplift the whole people” must infuse all that U of A faculty, staff, students and alumni do. 

As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, the U of A is firmly established as one of Canada’s top five universities and is consistently ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. Today’s faculty, staff and students are members of diverse and complex local and global communities.  Aspiring to be a great 21st century research and teaching institution, the U of A aims to uplift leaders of tomorrow by creating a learning and research environment that is similar to and competitive with the world’s finest universities.

More than one hundred years after our founding, the University of Alberta has an international profile of excellence across the humanities, sciences, creative arts, engineering, and health sciences.  And, as the province’s flagship university, the U of A brings the benefits of being a globally recognized institution to Alberta’s citizenry. As an institutional global citizen, the U of A provides and promotes learning, discovery, and creative activity that engage the issues, questions, and concerns that matter to communities both locally and internationally.

In spite of differences between 1908 and today, the uplifting of the whole people still begins with the individual. At the University of Alberta, we make personal and social transformation possible.  We seek to be a place where uplifted learners can become extraordinary, uplifting leaders, transformed by world-class research and learning that changes the world by advancing knowledge, solving problems, and enriching human experience.

To fulfill the promise of uplifting the whole people today, we will continually develop and renew learning and research programs, student and staff support systems, and intrinsic and extrinsic rewards that, first, nurture and foster personal growth in young students and alumni, and then, second, enable them to translate their personal growth into leadership that, in some way, uplifts others.