Very Rev. Joseph Henry Tabaret, president of the Ottawa College, and a member of the Congregation of Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is a native of the Department of L’Isere, France, and was born on the 10th of April, 1828, his parents being Antony and Adele (Foret) Tabaret. His religious and missionary training began in the Novitiate of Notre Dame de L’Osier, a miraculous sanctuary and pilgrimage of Our Lady in the Department of L’Isere, not far from his native place; and was completed in the scholastic house of the Congregation at Marseilles.
In the Autumn of 1850 our subject came to Canada, spending, at first, a few months with the Right Rev. Joseph E. Guigues, Bishop of Ottawa. He then gave two years to mission work in the diocese of Ottawa, and in September 1853, was placed at the head of the Ottawa College. That responsible position he has held from that date, with the exception of two years 1866-1867 when he was absent from the city, being Provincial of the Oblate Fathers, and visiting the many establishments in Canada and the United States. In February 1854, .he was nominated by his Excellency, the Administrator of Government, to be a member of the Senate of the University of Toronto.
His approved prudence, capacity, and integrity recommending him as well qualified for the office of Vicar-General of the diocese, he was in June of 1862 promoted to that dignity, by the Right Rev. Bishop Guigues.
The year 1866 formed an era in the history of the College of Ottawa. Having been incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1849, it now received its University charter, conferred by the unanimous voice of the Federal Legislature. In virtue of this charter, the University College has the right to elect a member of the Council of Public Instruction for Ontario. It confers the degrees of “Bachelor of Arts,” and “Master of Arts.”
Under the able management of Dr. Tabaret, the college has acquired a foremost place among the educational institutions of the Dominion. In the year 1874, he introduced a new program of studies of a higher order and more comprehensive range than that previously followed; and at the same time he inaugurated the University method of teaching by lectures. He has lately enlarged the laboratory and physical cabinet of the College, and furnished them with the necessary apparatus. In the elegantly furnished museum the visitor will find much to gratify his curiosity.
In audience of His Holiness, Leo XIII, in January, 1879, the Right Rev. J. J. Duhamel, Bishop of Ottawa, submitted the program of studies to the Holy Father, who approved of and blessed it, and as a mark of his appreciation of the valuable services rendered to the cause of education by the president of the College, delegated his lordship to confer upon him the exalted title and privilege of Doctor of Divinity. His lordship fulfilled this pleasing duty in the presence of several hundred students and alumni of the College on the 13th of June 1879.
It is almost superfluous to say that, under the efficient management of Dr. Tabaret, the College is very flourishing. It has students from all parts of the United States, as well as Canada, and its popularity is well known in Europe.