The New Student's Reference Work/Laval University
Laval University, the first institution for higher education in Lower Canada, was founded in 1852. The Seminary of Quebec, the pioneer institute, secured a charter from Queen Victoria which conferred the privileges of a university. Pius IX in 1853 gave the Quebec archbishops the right to confer theological degrees on divinity graduates from the new university. They are the visitors, a proof of the broadmindedness of the British government in permitting the Roman Catholic French of Canada to organize a university controlled only by archbishops of their own faith and blood. The visitor appoints the professors of theology nominated by the council of the university, and may veto all nominations and regulations. The rector, the superior of Quebec Seminary, is the highest officer. The rector and council administer affairs. The faculties are those of theology, law, medicine and the arts, each having its own council. It was not until 1866 that the theological faculty was organized. That of medicine opened in 1853, six professors of the Quebec School of Medicine becoming professors in the university. The faculty of law was the one for which most need existed, for there was no school of law in Quebec. It opened in 1854, but for several years teaching was limited to civil and Roman law. The faculty of arts, though outlined in 1855, was not opened for years. Laval has power to confer degrees in law, medicine and the arts, but not in theology, and did not receive all the rights of a canonical university until 1876. In 1870 the faculty of medicine was affiliated to the Royal College of Surgeons, London, England. In 1897-8 a bacteriological laboratory was installed, in 1899 one for experimental chemistry. The cabinet of physics contains thousands of instruments. The university has eight large and valuable museums. The library contains 150,000 volumes. The faculty consists of 50 professors, and the students number 444. Theology claims over 120, law 84, medicine and arts 140. There is a branch at Montreal, the statistics of which are not included here.