Dalhousie College was founded in 1818 by George Ramsay[?], who as the Ninth Earl of Dalhousie[?], and Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, established Dalhousie as a college open to all people regardless of class or creed, and at the laying of the cornerstone on May 22, 1820, Lord Dalhousie said that this University was "founded on the principles of religious tolerance." The College did not, however, have a student population until about 1860.
Dalhousie was distinctive as an urban institution. This status was seen not only, in the early days at least, in the use of much of the college's lowest floor as vault space for Oland's Brewery, but also in the consistent drawing of about one-third of the student body from the Halifax-Dartmouth urban area and in the college's ability to draw upon local professional populations in the establishment of faculties of medicine and law. Finances remained difficult into the 1880s, but by the end of that decade the accumulated donations of the wealthy alumnus George Munro[?] had provided the stimulus that led to growth in student numbers and the emergence of Dalhousie as a centre of scholarship acknowledged throughout the dominion.
In 1920 the University of King's College in Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada's oldest degree granting institution, burned down. Through a grant from the Carnegie foundation, King's College was able to relocate to Halifax and entered into a partnersip with Dalhousie University. It shares Dalhousie's Arts and Sciences Faculty, and offers several interdisciplinary uhmanities degree programmes.
The current campus was designed by Andrew R. Cobb.
The school's athletic teams are called the Tigers.