09/20/2017 12:37 EDT | Updated 09/20/2017 12:41 EDT

Mulroney breaks ground for Mulroney Institute at Nova Scotia university

ANTIGONISH, N.S. — Brian Mulroney returned once more to St. Francis Xavier University, his Nova Scotia alma matter, for the official ground-breaking of a $100 million project that in part bears his name.

The Brian Mulroney Institute of Government will be dedicated to the study of government, Canada-U.S. relations, and global affairs for undergraduate students.

Canada's 18th prime minister was joined Wednesday by his daughter Caroline Mulroney Lapham — who this month was named the Progressive Conservative candidate for the Ontario provincial riding of York-Simcoe — and his wife, Mila.

Mulroney said the 95,000-square-foot Mulroney Hall will house "the only public policy institute at a Canadian university directed towards undergraduate students."

He said the school will prepare students for graduate studies, for the public service and for agencies like the Bank of Canada and the United Nations.

Mulroney underlined the "unparalleled generosity and support of benefactors" from the private sector, as well as $5 million from the province and another $30 million from Ottawa.

"It simply would not have been possible without them," he said.

Fully $10 million has been raised for scholarships and bursaries.

The official sod turning for Mulroney Hall, part of a larger project known as Xaverian Commons, featured the spectacle of provincial and federal Liberals touting the potential of an institute named for a Progressive Conservative prime minister.

"I look forward to walking through Mulroney Hall and getting an opportunity to meet the StFX students who study there. They will be the leaders of tomorrow," said Nova Scotia Labour and Advanced Education Minister Labi Kousoulis.

It was billed as the "most transformational" project in the history of the small university.