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Prince of Wales College (PWC) is a former university college, which was located in Charlottetownmarker, Prince Edward Islandmarker, Canadamarker. PWC merged with St. Dunstan's University in 1969 to form the University of Prince Edward Island.

PWC traces its history to 1804 when land was set aside by Lieutenant-Governor Edmund Fanning for a college - the colony's first. In 1821 a district school called the National School opened on the site located on Kent Street in the east end of Charlottetown. In 1835 Central Academy opened on a site along Grafton Street, immediately south of the National School. The National School closed in the early 1850s and the provincial Normal School for training teachers opened on the site in 1856. In 1860, an upgraded Central Academy was renamed Prince of Wales College.

The Prince of Wales College (PWC) was established followed the visit of Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) to Charlottetownmarker, Prince Edward Islandmarker in 1860.

In 1879, PWC became co-educational and the Normal School was merged into the institution.PWC's Grafton Street campus underwent several changes as buildings evolved from wooden structures into the stone structures which stand today. PWC was a non-denominational or inter-denominational college which served to provide an education comparable to the present-day CEGEP colleges in Quebec, namely senior matriculation and one or several years of university. It was the non-denominational character of PWC which led many of Island Roman Catholics to label the school as being "Protestant". Many Catholic women attended PWC despite this label because they were barred from attending Catholic St. Dunstan's University. It was not until 1965 that the provincial government granted PWC a degree-granting charter and its only Bachelor degrees were awarded in the spring 1969 convocation.

PWC had several administrators who proved their importance to Prince Edward Island's education profession:

  • Dr. Alexander Anderson served as professor 1862–1868 and principal of PWC from 1868–1901, having influenced many islanders, including Lucy Maud Montgomery.
  • Dr. Samuel Napier Robertson served as professor 1869–1901 and took over as principal of PWC following Anderson's move into the provincial civil service, serving until 1937.
  • Dr. Frank MacKinnon served as professor 1919–1937 and was the last principal of PWC.

PWC held high academic standards for its students and as early as the 1910s, McGill Universitymarker entered into talks about making PWC into its Atlantic coast counterpart to the University of Victoriamarker (which it had helped to establish and nurture). Master plans had called for quadrupling the size of the PWC Grafton Street campus to encompass most of what is now the eastern end of downtown Charlottetown with the proposed PWC-McGill campus being built along the area bounded by Grafton, Prince, Kent, and Edward Streets in a massive redevelopment of the community.

The plans did not come to fruition and by the 1960s, the provincial government in Prince Edward Islandmarker began a critical study of its post-secondary education institutions (PWC and SDU), concluding that a merger to form a provincial university was the desired funding and service model for future Island students. The merger was not without controversy as emotions ran their course on the part of supporters of both institutions, however in May, 1969 the last classes graduated from PWC and SDU and the institutions were merged into the University of Prince Edward Island which opened for the first time in September 1969 on the now-former SDU campus. The PWC campus on Grafton Street was taken over by the provincial government and formed the basis for the new provincial community college, Holland Collegemarker.


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