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New book celebrates history of St. Dunstan’s University

| Special Event
Cover of "Caught in a Changing Society: St. Dunstan’s University 1950–1969"
Cover of "Caught in a Changing Society: St. Dunstan’s University 1950–1969"

Award-winning author Leonard Cusack will launch a new book about the history of St. Dunstan’s University (SDU) from 1950–1969 on June 8, 2022, at 3:30 pm, SDU Lecture Hall, Faculty of Sustainable Design and Engineering building, UPEI.

Published by Island Studies Press, Caught in a Changing Society: St. Dunstan’s University 1950–1969 chronicles the golden years of expansion at an esteemed Catholic university and what led to the creation of the University of Prince Edward Island. 

As Cusack (SDU’69) writes, campus life was tight knit, with students participating in sports teams, drama and music performances, social activities, and mandatory classes and religious services under the watchful eyes of the priests and sisters. With increased enrolment, more resources were needed to build new campus buildings and hire more lay teaching staff. As social mores changed and mini-skirts appeared on campus in the mid-1960s, students demanded freedoms and direct representation, while the administration fought for much needed government subsidies and faced the challenges of an uncertain future. 

With Prince of Wales College becoming a university, the province faced the daunting prospect of supporting two post-secondary institutions. To solve the financial crisis, Premier Alex Campbell mandated the creation of the University of Prince Edward Island. Caught in a Changing Society captures the ensuing debate that led to the closure of the 114-year-old St. Dunstan’s University and the resolve that allowed the institution to evolve into a charitable foundation that has invested more than $32 million into education, infrastructure, and the diocese. 

During his career, Cusack was a high school teacher and principal, a public servant, and a sessional lecturer in history at UPEI. He is the author of three previous books, including Owen Connolly: The Making of a Legacy 1820–2016. Now retired, he and his wife, Catherine, reside in the beautiful community of Emyvale.

At the launch, books will be available for purchase and signing. Masks are mandatory on campus. The event is free and open to the public. 

For more information about the book or the launch, please contact Bren Simmers at 902-566-0386 or

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