The University of Ottawa in OTTAWA, Ont, began as the College of Bytown, founded by the OBLATE fathers in 1848. It was renamed the College of Ottawa in 1861. Its status as the largest bilingual university in North America is one of its key strengths. In keeping with its mandate to promote bilingualism and biculturalism in a multicultural environment, the University of Ottawa offers a mix of teaching and research programs in both of Canada's official languages.
In 1866, university status was granted by Parliament, making the University of Ottawa the last university to receive its charter prior to the British North America Act, which made education a provincial responsibility. In 1965, the University of Ottawa became a publicly funded nondenominational institution, a time in which it experienced rapid growth. The university is federated with St Paul University, which offers degree programs in theology, philosophy and canon law.
The university offers courses through the faculties of administration, arts, education, engineering, health sciences, medicine, law (both common and civil), science and social sciences. There is also a School of Graduate Studies, a Human Rights Research and Education Centre and the Institute for International Development and Co-operation. The University of Ottawa Heart Institute at Ottawa Civic Hospital is a leading cardiology centre and, in 1986, performed Canada's first artificial heart operation. The University of Ottawa is heavily involved with business and government, in research, consulting and co-operative education programs and receives approximately $91 million in research funding each year. The University of Ottawa has approximately 25 000 students and 1500 faculty members.