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The University of Western Ontario
Motto Veritas et Utilitas
(Truth and usefulness)
Established 1878
Type Public
Endowment $325.308 million[1]
Chancellor John Thompson
President Amit Chakma
Faculty 1,249
Undergraduates 28,000
Postgraduates 5,000
Location London, Ontario, Canada
Campus Urban/Suburban— 395 acres (1.6 km²)
Former names Western University of London Ontario
Sport Teams Western Ontario Mustangs
Colours Purple and White          
Mascot Mustang
Affiliations ACU, AUCC, IAU, G13, COU, CIS, CUSID, OUA, Fields Institute, CBIE, CUP.

The University of Western Ontario (known as Western or UWO) is a public research university located in London, Ontario. It was founded in 1878 by Bishop Isaac Hellmuth of Bishop's University and the Anglican Diocese of Huron as The Western University of London Ontario. Huron College, established in 1863 as an Anglican theological school, provided the basis for the new university.[2] The University covers 395 acres (1.6 km²) of land on the north branch of the Thames River and the main campus consists of 75 buildings. The university also has extensive land holdings outside of the main campus.

The school colours are purple and white, and the school's motto is Veritas et utilitas, meaning Truth and usefulness.[2] The University's Chancellor is John Thompson, and its President is Dr. Amit Chakma. Through its twelve faculties and schools, and three affiliated colleges, the University offers more than 200 different degree and diploma programs.



University College building

The University was founded in 1878 by Bishop Isaac Hellmuth of the Anglican Diocese of Huron as "The Western University of London Ontario."[3] It incorporated Huron University College, which had been founded in 1863.[2] The first four faculties were Arts, Divinity, Law and Medicine, and there were originally only 15 students when classes began in 1881. The first of these students graduated in 1883. The Western University of London was eventually made non-denominational in 1908.[3]

In 1916, the current site of the University was purchased from the Kingsmill family, and in 1923 the Western University of London was renamed the University of Western Ontario.[3] The first two buildings constructed at the new site were the Arts Building (now University College) and the Natural Science Building (now the Physics and Astronomy Building). These were built in a neo-Gothic or "Collegiate Gothic" style, and classes on the present site of the school began in 1924.[citation needed] The University College tower, one of the most distinctive features of the University, was named the Middlesex Memorial Tower in honour of the men from Middlesex County who had fought in World War I (all 40 male students at Western in 1914 had enlisted). Western later became affiliated with St. Peter's College seminary of London, Ontario in 1939, and it eventually became King's College, an arts faculty.[2]

Although enrollment was relatively small for many years, the University began to increase greatly in size after World War II and by the 1970s, 10% of university students in Ontario were enrolled at Western. The University saw the addition of a number of new faculties in the post-war period, such as the Faculty of Graduate Studies (1947), the School of Business Administration (now the Richard Ivey School of Business) (1949), the Faculty of Engineering Science (now the Faculty of Engineering) (1957), the Faculty of Law (1959), and Althouse College for education students (now the Faculty of Education) (1963).[citation needed]

Other notable buildings on campus include Thames Hall (built in 1949), the Stevenson-Lawson Building (built in 1959), Middlesex College (with its clock tower, another distinctive feature of the university, built in 1960), Talbot College (built in 1966), Alumni Hall (built in 1967), London Health Sciences Centre University Hospital, the John P. Robarts Research Institute, the Lawson Health Research Institute, the D.B. Weldon Library, the John Labatt Visual Arts Centre, the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory, the University Community Centre, the Social Science Centre, and T.D. Waterhouse Stadium (built in 2001). The campus is also home to the Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory, built in 1940 as one of the first observatories at a Canadian university, and named after the grandfather of actor Hume Cronyn. The McIntosh Memorial Art Gallery was built in 1942, and is now the oldest university art gallery in Canada.[citation needed]

The University of Western Ontario also has a well-developed part-time and continuing education faculty which includes a French-English Summer School at Trois-Pistoles, Quebec. The university has affiliations with Huron University College, Brescia University College, and King's University College (University of Western Ontario).[3]


Conron Hall

Western offers more than 200 different programs through its 12 faculties and schools and three affiliated colleges:[2]

Including its three affiliated colleges, Western's total enrolment is currently 34,000 full- and part-time students.[2] The University has three affiliated colleges:

The Brescia University College: Dept. of Human Ecology has an accredited dietetic program. The university is accredited by the Dietitians of Canada and the university's graduates may subsequently become registered dietitians. List of universities with accredited dietetic programs

In addition, there is a Continuing Studies facility in the downtown Galleria Mall for the purposes of adult education. Western was also the first and only Canadian University to offer a Commercial Aviation Management program.[citation needed]

Student life

Elgin Hall
O-week at Western

There are approximately 25,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students at Western.[citation needed] King's University College has about 3,100 students (2003/2004), Huron University College about 1,000, and Brescia University College about 500. Western has a number of student residences on campus, ranging in type from the more traditional dorm-style residences to newer suite-style accommodation:[4]

  • Traditional-style residences
  • Suite-style residences
    • Essex Hall (500 students)
    • Elgin Hall (400 students)
    • Alumni House (250 students)
    • London Hall (417 students)
  • Huron University College residences
    • O'Neil/Ridley
    • Southwest (suite-style)
    • Hellmuth
  • King's University College residences
    • Alumni Court
    • Townhouses
    • Wemple Hall

There are additional campus apartments and townhouses available for upper-year students.

The University Community Centre is home to many student-run clubs and media outlets, including The Gazette, Western's daily student newspaper,, the campus television station, and 94.9 CHRW-FM, legally known as Radio Western. The campus also houses the popular student lounge with pub section, the Spoke, as well as the Wave, a restaurant/dance club. School spirit runs high at Western, as social events are well attended. Orientation (Frosh) Week and Homecoming are especially popular. Western's O-Week is a $600,000 program, and the largest of its kind in Canada and University Students' Council representatives have led several seminars at other universities to share their experiences in running a successful orientation week program.[citation needed]

Western also provides generous financial aid, bursaries and competitive scholarship programs. The University's top scholarships are the National Scholarships, which include the President's Scholarship, the Faculty Scholarship and the National Merit Awards. However, unlike many top universities in Canada[citation needed], Western offers almost no scholarships (need- or merit-based) to undergraduate international students.[citation needed]

McIntosh Gallery

Student groups and clubs

Western is home to over 175 clubs for academic, religious, cultural, philanthropic and other pursuits, which are governed by the University Students' Council (USC). Some of these groups are the University of Western Ontario Debating Society, the oldest student association at the university and one of the largest debating societies in Canada, the largest undergraduate pre-medical club in Canada (UWO Pre-Med Society), and student political clubs such as the UWO Tories, UWO Liberals, and UWO New Democrats. The UWO Liberals are the largest campus Liberal club in Ontario, and one of the largest in the country. One of the largest club on campus is the infamous Purple Spur Society, which has been ranked in Macleans Magazine as having the number one student ski trip in all of Canada.

Theatre Western

Theatre Western, meanwhile, produces a season that includes an annual musical revue of modern and classic Broadway, Purple Shorts (Western's One-Act Play Festival,) and a major musical production each spring. Recent productions include West Side Story, Cabaret, Gypsy, and Sweeney Todd.

The Faculty of Music, meanwhile, performs various styles of concerts throughout the year, which are open to the public. UWOpera, operating out of the Paul Davenport Theatre (refurbished and renamed in 2009 from Talbot Theatre), also performs a wide variety of repertoire ranging from operetta to full operatic works.

Additionally, the Faculty of Education typically puts on a major production every year. Past years have included such shows as Hair, Into The Woods, Chess, Seussical and Urinetown. 2010's production will be Jason Robert Brown's '13'.


The campus radio station CHRW celebrated 25 years on FM in 2006. Several alumni including former ABC, and current Global TV anchor Kevin Newman have gone on to other careers in the music and broadcasting industries.

The student television station at Western,, has existed for a decade. features original video programming created for students by students, including coverage of sports, arts, information and culture. Its programming is available on the website, via Rogers Cable on the show " on Rogers" and all programming since January 2008 is available through podcasts on iTunes.

Western News is the award-winning staff and faculty newspaper at the university.

Greek life

Middlesex College, built in the early 1960s

There are currently five nationally chartered sorority houses: Alpha Phi, Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Gamma Delta, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Pi Beta Phi. There are also nine fraternities: Alpha Epsilon Pi, Delta Upsilon, the Kappa Alpha Society, Pi Kappa Alpha, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Chi, Pi Lambda Phi and Phi Delta Phi. Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) established a colony Spring 2009. The Greek system is active on campus as well as throughout the city of London, through numerous philanthropy events and special events at local bars and clubs.


The University Students' Council (USC) is a $30-million dollar corporation; over half of Western students are involved with the USC through its various levels, volunteer-driven Orientation program[citation needed]. In 2009, USC presidential candidate and eventual president-elect Emily Rowe caught national attention when her campaign video, a spoof of a popular Discovery Channel commercial, became one of the most viewed Canadian videos on YouTube and was referenced in a "Maclean's Campus" article.[7] The USC also publishes The Gazette, Canada's only daily student newspaper. Founded in 1906 and given its present name in 1930, the Gazette is widely read across campus and is routinely the venue for comment and debate by students.


The Gazette is the student newspaper on campus and is widely-read both by students and faculty. Published between Tuesday and Friday, the paper is edited and written entirely by undergraduate students. The paper consists of multiple sections, including sports, fashion, news, and campus issues. Many contributors to the newspaper began their involvement with a simple visit to the Gazette office, which can be found on the second floor of the University Community Centre.


Allyn and Betty Taylor Library
The D.B Weldon Library

The library system at Western has seven major service locations with more than 9 million items in print, microform and electronic formats. There are many special collections, such as those in the areas of Canadiana, Art History, Sport History, Music and Law.

Western's libraries include:

In addition to the above locations materials from the Affiliated University College Libraries are available to Western faculty, students and staff:

  • Brescia University College Library
  • King's University College Library
  • Huron University College Library
  • St. Peter's Seminary Library

The campus is also the home of art and performance facilities, and the McIntosh Gallery, the second oldest university art gallery in Canada.[citation needed]The permanent collection of the McIntosh includes over 3000 works in various media dating primarily from the early 19th century to the present, including works by the Group of Seven.

Fight song

Notable among a number of songs commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement and convocation, and athletic games are: "Western University Song", with words by Margaret Ovens. [9]

The Lyrics of the Western School Song are as follows:

Western, Western, Western U College fair and square Arts and Meds are strong for you Deny it if you dare. White and purple colours are worn by all who know Just which college is the best Come and let us show.

That this U is our U and for her we'll strive to Do our best to fight with might and main. We will always adore her Our old Alma Mater Western School of Fame.

When Western U goes marching down the field We know our team will never never yield And though the other team has lots of pep When they see our team they'll Know they're out of step. And when the game goes down in history It's just another Western victory Let all our cheers go out for Western U, Western U Rah, Rah, Raaaahh.

KINNANY, KINNANY, KANANNY, KANOO It's a HULLABA, HULLABA, HULLABALU Rickity, Rickity, Rackity Roo High up, Sky up, Western U. W - E - S - T - E - R - N WESTERN, WESTERN, WESTERN [2]


Football at Western

Western has 37 Varsity sports teams,[citation needed] which are called the The University of Western Ontario Mustangs. From 1939 to 1948 the football team was undefeated, and they have won six Vanier Cups. For 30 years the football team was coached by John P. Metras, for whom the Canadian Interuniversity Sport's best defensive linesman award is named. Football games have been broadcast continuously since 1980 on the Western station 94.9 CHRW. The men's basketball team has also won many championships. Further, the men's squash team has won 26 consecutive Ontario University Athletics (OUA) titles, making it the most winning team in OUA history[10].

In 1929 J.W. Little Stadium was built, named after former Mayor of London and vice-chairman of the Western Board of Governors John William Little. This stadium served as the site of convocation until 1960, and continued to be used as a sports stadium until 2001 when it was torn down and replaced with TD-Waterhouse Stadium. The new stadium was the primary site of the 2001 Summer Canada Games, which were held in London.

Until the 2005–06 season, Western's men's hockey team played on campus at Thompson Arena, completed in January 1975 with a capacity of 4,159. The arena also hosts an indoor track, while its curling rink is being removed as part of a large renovation to create additional recreational space. Men's hockey games now take place in downtown London at the John Labatt Centre, also the home of the London Knights. After years of debate, the Ontario University Athletics board of directors voted in May, 2006 to let schools provide athletic financial awards (AFAs) to first-year student-athletes.[citation needed]

TD-Waterhouse Stadium

Western is also home to one of Canada's two university-level marching bands, the Western Mustang Band. It was started in 1938 by alumnus Don Wright (for whom the Music Faculty is now named). The only other Canadian university marching band is the Queen's Bands of Queen's University.[citation needed]

The Mustang Cheerleading team, meanwhile, has won 24 of the last 25 Canadian Collegiate Championships (since 1985).[citation needed] The squad, which was formed in 1924, is the longest running collegiate cheer team in Canada.[citation needed]

Athletics facilities on campus include the 10,000-seat TD Waterhouse Stadium, the Thompson Recreation and Athletic Centre, which contains an ice rink, an indoor track, curling sheets and tennis facilities, and Alumni Hall, a multi-purpose auditorium for basketball, volleyball, and other indoor events. Campus Recreation, formerly in the UCC basement, moved to a new Athletic Centre at the start of 2009.

Reputation and rankings


University rankings
ARWU World[11] 201-302
ARWU N. America[12] 100-134
ARWU Social Sciences[13] 76-100
THE-QS World[14] 151
THE-QS Arts[15] 168
THE-QS Life Sciences/Biomed[16] 102
THE-QS Natural Sciences[17] 261
THE-QS Social Sciences[18] 95
THE-QS Engineering/Tech.[19] 210
Canadian rankings
Maclean's Medical/Doctoral[20] 9
Alumni Hall

Western is one of Canada's leading universities, ranked #1 in the 2008, 2007 and 2005 Globe and Mail University Report Card for overall quality of education.[21] It ranked #3 among medical-doctoral level universities according to Maclean's Magazine 2005 University Rankings.[22] In 2006, Western and many other universities refused to provide Maclean's with data due to concerns regarding the magazine's ranking methodology.[23] In that year, it ranked #5 in the Medical-Doctoral category.[24] Three of the four schools placed above Western in that year's ranking had also refused to participate.[24] In the Times Higher Education 2009 rankings of the top 200 world universities, Western received a score of 91 out of 100 for faculty citations,[25] which is intended to give "a sense of the density of research excellence on a campus."

Entrance requirements to the university are high, with increasing admission averages; the entrance average for those admitted in 2008-09 class was 86.4%;one of the highest in Canada[26]. The student/faculty ratio for the 2003-04 year was about 21 students per member of faculty[citation needed].

As a research university, external support for research projects totals nearly $190 million per year[citation needed]. There are about 1,200 faculty members at the university and affiliated colleges.

Popular culture

  • Asteroid 15025 Uwontario is named after the university.
  • An episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, an NBC comedy for which Western alumnus Andrew Orenstein (his cousin Matt Orenstein is a current student) wrote, featured a school whose football team was known as the "Western Mustangs" and which wore purple jerseys.
  • In the comic strip, For Better or For Worse, Michael Patterson studies journalism there and in the graduation storyline, UWO's Alumni Hall is depicted.
  • Recent icons to visit Western have included retired Canadian general Romeo Dallaire, Former Prime Minister Paul Martin, and environmental activist David Suzuki, who all spoke to sold out audiences at Alumni Hall.

See also


  1. ^ [1] [Accessed May 2009]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h B. Beaton. University of Western Ontario, The Canadian Encyclopedia
  3. ^ a b c d J. Paul Green. University of Western Ontario, The Canadian Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia of Music in Canada
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ The Pride Library, retrieved on 2009-06-29
  9. ^ Fight Songs
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  12. ^ "Top 100 North & Latin American Universities". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  13. ^ "Top 100 world universities in Social Sciences". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  14. ^ "World University Rankings". Times Higher Education-Quacquarelli Symonds. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  15. ^ "THE-QS Top Universities Rankings: Arts and Humanities". Times Higher Education-Quacquarelli Symonds. 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  16. ^ "THE-QS Top Universities Rankings: Life Sciences and Biomedicine". Times Higher Education-Quacquarelli Symonds. 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  17. ^ "THE-QS Top Universities Rankings: Natural Sciences". Times Higher Education-Quacquarelli Symonds. 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  18. ^ "THE-QS Top Universities Rankings: Social Sciences". Times Higher Education-Quacquarelli Symonds. 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  19. ^ "THE-QS Top Universities Rankings: Technology". Times Higher Education-Quacquarelli Symonds. 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  20. ^ "Medical Doctoral Ranking". Maclean's. 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  21. ^ Globe and Mail University Report Card
  22. ^ 2005 Macleans M-D Rankings
  23. ^ Dalhousie University, et al. (14 August 2006). "11 universities bow out of Maclean's university rankings". Retrieved 15 August 2006. 
  24. ^ a b 2006 Macleans M-D Rankings
  25. ^
  26. ^

General sources

  • Barr, Murray Llewellyn. A century of medicine at Western : a centennial history of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Western Ontario. London: University of Western Ontario, 1977
  • Gwynne-Timothy, John R. W. Western's first century. London: University of Western Ontario, 1978
  • Talman, Ruth Davis. The beginnings and development of the University of Western Ontario, 1878-1924. MA Thesis, University of Western Ontario, 1925

External links

Coordinates: 43°00′29.84″N 81°16′18.82″W / 43.0082889°N 81.2718944°W / 43.0082889; -81.2718944


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