Lacerte Pavilion is the oldest building on Campus Saint-Jean. When it was built in 1910, it was far removed from Edmonton's Francophone community, which was concentrated in the Grandin neighbourhood on the north side of the river, near the Alberta legislature and not far from the original Fort Edmonton.
The Juniorat Saint-Jean, as it was then called, was established in Pincher Creek in 1908. The founders, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, soon realized that it needed to be located near a major city and moved the institution to Edmonton. In fact, they had only a box full of books, a table, and a few chairs to move, along with 5 or 6 students. With the construction of the new college, things changed and students came in greater numbers.
Father Arthur Lacerte, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, was born in Marcellin, Saskatchewan. After studying in Rome, he taught at Collège Mathieu, also in Saskatchewan, before being named Dean of Collège St-Jean from 1957 to 1967.
It is thanks to him that the college became affiliated first with Laval University and then with the University of Alberta. He was the first francophone to be a member of the University of Alberta’s Senate. It was also Father Lacerte who founded the parish of Saint-Thomas d'Aquin in the early sixties.
After leaving Alberta, he was appointed Governor of the University of Ottawa in 1986, and died in the same city in 2000. His many contributions to the cultural, religious and educational life of Edmonton's Francophones are a great part of Campus Saint-Jean heritage.