In the 1954 - 1964 decade, SDU’s enrolment and graduating classes grew considerably: the University had 310 students enrolled in the 1953-1954 academic year, with 34 graduates received degrees at the May, 1954 convocation; in 1963-1964, 510 students were enrolled, with more than 80 degrees, certificates, and diplomas presented at graduation. Part of the University’s increased attraction was its expanding course offerings: students entering SDU in the early 1950s could choose from 3 Bachelor’s programs (BA, BSc, and BComm); by the 1963-1964 academic year, SDU was offering five Bachelors’ degrees (BA, BSc, BComm, BEd, BSc - Nursing), as well as certificates in teacher training and engineering, and a secretarial studies diploma. [Touch here to see our online SDU graduate photo gallery]

As the student body grew, it also became more diverse: in the 1953-1954 academic year, just over 50 students were from other Canadian provinces, and barely a dozen were from other countries; in 1963-1964, SDU had roughly 160 students from other Canadian provinces, and more than 70 from other countries. In a single decade, then, the proportion of the SDU student population drawn from outside Prince Edward Island more than doubled. Most of the international students were Americans from New York and New England, but there were also significant numbers of students from overseas, including a sizeable group from Hong Kong.

Another highly-visible change to the SDU student community came with the increasing enrolment of women, commonly referred to as “co-eds”. Only about 25 women were enrolled at SDU in 1953-1954, accounting for barely 8% of the student population. By 1963-1964, there were nearly 100 female SDU students, close to 20% of the total enrolment.

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