In the mid 1950s the University Council approached the Catholic Diocese of Armidale and asked if the Church would build and run an all-male College and an all-female College on the Armidale campus. In response to this request the all-male University College, now known as St. Albert’s College, was founded in 1969, under the direction of the Dominican Fathers.
In 1971 at the request of the university the College was expanded from 120 residents to 300 residents and became the largest college on the campus. Then in 1976 the College became co-educational and now houses up to 300 male and female residents. In the mid 1990s St. Albert’s became the only College at UNE with a fully catered and a self catered option for its residents.
St. Albert’s is the only independently run college at UNE with all of the other colleges operated by the University itself.
As an affiliated college, St. Albert’s was from the start integrated in every way possible with the life of the University and the Residential System.
As a Christian college St. Albert’s sees every individual as important and is open to people of all faiths. This produces a strong family atmosphere at the College, where everyone supports the other residents as they meet the challenges of today’s society. Being part of the Catholic Church the College has developed its own Catholic character and is able to support and develop young Catholics at UNE without being separatist or exclusive.
During the first 33 years of the College’s history the College was run by the Dominican Fathers and they filled the roles of Master, Dean and Chaplain and went on to provide academic, pastoral, spiritual and moral support to thousands of university students. They supplied vision, leadership and management to the College through many difficult and trying times, as well as providing the base of operations for the University Chaplaincy.
At the end of 1997 the shortage of suitable priests in the Dominican Order saw the position of Master of the College passed onto lay staff, as the future of the College was decided. The decision was then made to pass the leadership and administration of the College over to the Catholic Diocese of Armidale, which was led by Bishop Luc Matthys. On the weekend of 27-28 October 2001, the Dominican Fathers ended their formal association with the College. The Diocese now appointed the Master of the College who led and administered St. Albert’s, on behalf of the Bishop, with the advice of the College Council.
In 2015 the Bishop of Armidale decided to pass the Governance and direction of the College to a Board of Directors and the Master became the Chief Executive Officer of the company called St. Albert’s College.
Dominican Fathers who have served as Masters of the College:
From 1997 onward lay Masters of the College:
The heraldic shield of St Albert’s College was adopted in 1969 and combines elements from the shields of the University of New England, the Dominican Order and symbolic elements that represent St Albert the Great. The shield underwent a refresh in 2016.
The upper right hand corner holds the Tudor rose of U.N.E. and the upper left the black and white cross and fleur-de-lis of the Dominican Order.
The bottom half of the shield holds the twin towers of sanctity and learning and an open book to symbolise St. Albert the Great as a scholar.
The name St Albert’s was taken from Albertus Magnus O.P. (c. 1200 – November 15, 1280) also known as Albert the Great and Albert of Cologne and is a Catholic saint. He was known during his lifetime as doctor universalis and doctor expertus and, late in his life, the term magnus was appended to his name.
Scholars such as James A. Weisheipl and Joachim R. Söder have referred to him as the greatest German philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages.
The Catholic Church honours him as a Doctor of the Church, one of only 36 so honored.
In the course of his long life Albertus made major contributions to a wide range of subjects, as well as carrying out the arduous duties of Prior Provincial of the Dominican province of Teutonia. For two years he was Bishop of Regensburg, but he resigned so as to be able to continue his scholarly work. He has been described as the most influential scientist of the Middle Ages. His beatification took place in 1622, by Pope Gregory XV, and he was canonised in 1931 by Pope Pius XI and declared a Doctor of the Church.
Albert had an encyclopaedic knowledge of logic, philosophy, theology and the natural sciences, including cosmology and psychology. He was a prolific writer and wrote approximately 70 books including about 22 on the sciences, mostly in the form of extended commentaries on the works of the Greek philosopher Aristotle.
He was a keen observer, interested in everything in the natural world, the birds and flowers, rocks and minerals, and wrote books summarising all that was known at that time. He wrote on logic, the concept of time, the nature of being and action at a distance.
He was a great synthesiser rather than an original thinker and his works contain a detailed and ordered account of the best secular knowledge of the time in the context of the Christian world view.
Such was his fame that he was called Albert the Great even before his death and it was most appropriate that he should be proclaimed patron Saint of Scientists.