The Central and East European Studies Society of Alberta was created as a result of a panel at the "One Day Conference on Central and East European Studies", organized by the Division of East European and Soviet Studies, held on February 14, 1976. During February and March, several meetings of a steering committee took place. At the meeting on April 10th, the draft constitution was approved, a Board of Directors chosen, and a name decided upon, the Central and East European Studies Society of Alberta or CEESSA. The first meeting of the Board of Directors took place on April 29th. The Society was officially incorporated under the Societies Act of the Province of Alberta, on May 28, 1976. The first board of directors included: M. Lobay, P. Czartoryski, A. Dudaravicius, B. Biro, C. Suchowersky, W. Kostash, F. Pelech, M. Sulyma, C. Rodkiewicz, E. Zeiter, J. Stribrny, A. Saruk, A. Osis, W. Schepanovich, W. Kuester, Mrs. Panciuk, M. Gulutsan, and T. Priestly. Mary Lobay served as the Society's first president.
The original objectives of the society were to assist academics in the effort to train students in an interdisciplinary field and to aid and support in the work on the histories of ethnic communities from Eastern Europe. The Society was established as a non-profit educational institution.
CEESSA held two conferences in Banff, AB. The "First Banff Conference on Central and East European Studies" was held March 3-6, 1977. During this conference, the Central and East European Studies Association of Canada or CEESAC was established, with Metro Gulutsan as its first president. The "Second Banff Conference on Central and East European Studies" was held March 2-5, 1978, and also contained a CEESAC meeting. The first conference had 122 participants, while the second had 194 participants.