Champlain College Saint-Lambert and the CEGEP System
In 1967, the Québec government passed the General and Vocational Colleges Act, providing for a new level of education following high school, the collegial level. Each college is an independent public corporation, separate from both high schools and universities. These Community Colleges of General and Vocational Education, referred to as CEGEP, an acronym for the French name, “Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel”, are distinctive post-secondary institutions in the province of Québec. Prior to 1967 students went directly from high school (after completion of Grade XI) to university. The CEGEP system was instituted in the English language sector in 1969. CEGEPs offer two-year general programs, leading to university studies, and three-year technological programs, serving a wide variety of interests. Tuition-free for Québec residents, the junior colleges are open to all students who have completed high school.
Champlain Regional College, the fourth of the English language CEGEPs was established on April 7, 1971 by letters patent received from the department of Education and signed by Hughes Lapointe, Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Quebec. Named after Samuel de Champlain - seventeenth century explorer, fur trader, writer and far sighted administrator of New France - the College was set up to serve the English language population of the Quebec City, Eastern Township and Montreal South Shore regions. In quick succession three distinctive campuses - St. Lawrence, Lennoxville and Saint Lambert/Longueuil - made their appearance with the College establishing its central administration office in Sherbrooke.
Champlain College Saint Lambert is the largest component of Champlain Regional College. The college opened in September 1972 in temporary quarters at 110 Green Street, Saint Lambert. It soon became imperative to move to new facilities. With the acquisition of 21 acres of land (8 in St. Lambert and 13 in Longueuil) along the St. Lawrence Seaway, the first block of the building was completed in August 1973 and classes began on September 4th. Construction of phase two of the building commenced in August 1974.
The official inauguration of the Champlain Regional College and Vocational Education St.Lambert/Longueuil Campus took place on October 23, 1976 with the Honourable Bernard Lachapelle officiating.