Brescia University College

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Coordinates: 43°0′18.61″N 81°16′36.54″W / 43.0051694°N 81.2768167°W / 43.0051694; -81.2768167

Brescia University College
Former names
Ursuline College
Brescia College
Motto Choose to Lead
Type Public liberal arts college
Women's college
Established 1919
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic
Academic affiliation
University of Western Ontario
Principal Dr. Susan Mumm
Academic staff
Undergraduates 1350 full time
200 part time
Postgraduates 12
Location 1285 Western Road
, Ontario, Canada
N6G 1H2
Campus Urban
Colours Blue and Tangerine          
Affiliations AUCC, IAU, COU, ACU, WCC

Brescia University College is a women's Catholic liberal arts college located in London, Ontario, Canada. Affiliated with the University of Western Ontario, Brescia is the only university-level women's college in Canada. It has approximately 1,100 undergraduate students. According to the 2017 Ranking Web of Universities, Brescia was ranked 150 in a list of postsecondary institutions in Canada.[1] Brescia was founded in 1919 by the Ursuline Religious of the Diocese of London: Women of Catholic faith whose goals are to achieve social justice, community service and the development of women.[2] Although Brescia has its Catholic roots, it accepts students of all faiths and backgrounds. 

Mission statement[edit]

According to its mission statement, Brescia University College:

  • is a Catholic college in the Ursuline tradition,
  • educates women to think critically and to participate actively in society.
  • is a student-centred community,
  • prepares graduates to respond with wisdom, justice and compassion to a changing world.


Brescia University College is the only university-level women's college in Canada. Brescia was founded in 1919 as Ursuline College by the Ursulines. It was originally located in an old converted house downtown London, Ontario (556 Wellington Street). It was founded as a Roman Catholic affiliate of the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario.[3] From the beginning, the graduates have always received University of Western Ontario degrees. The Ursuline Sisters named the Roman Catholic college after the Italian city of Brescia where their religious institute was founded. The first class was of seven young women who each paid $50 for tuition.[4] The Ursuline Superior General, Mother Clare Gaukler, bought the land Brescia is on today (1285 Western Road London, Ontario). Construction began in 1923 and opened for classes and residence only in 1925. Brescia Hall was the first building; it was built by contractor Joseph Michael Piggot. Brescia Hall was later renamed "Ursuline Hall". Ursuline College was renamed "Brescia College" in 1963, and in 2001[5] renamed "Brescia University College".

Brescia was known as a liberal arts school and the courses taught were: English, French, Spanish, Philosophy, History, Classics, and Religious Knowledge. Brescia students took other courses such as Science, Mathematics, Political Economy at Western. Over time, Brescia adapted some of the courses (e.g., Philosophy) to be appropriate for Catholic women. In 1936, a Home Economics program was begun, it evolved into what is known today as the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences. In September 2007, Brescia started the first graduate program.[6]


    • Bachelor of Arts (English, French, Psychology, Sociology, Family Studies, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Community Development, Political Science, Human Ecology and Dimensions of Leadership)
    • Bachelor of Management & Organizational Studies
    • Bachelor of Science (Foods & Nutrition and Human Ecology)
    • Master of Foods and Nutritional Sciences
    • Certificate in Community Development
    • Certificate in Religious Education

The Honours Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition at Brescia is accredited by Dietitians of Canada. This means people who graduate with this degree are eligible to apply for dietetic internship placements.

The Master of Foods and Nutritional Sciences program is divided into two streams. The internship stream is for people who have graduated from a programme accredited by Dietitians of Canada. It combines a master's degree and an internship and upon graduating, the person has an MSc and can write the exam needed to become a registered dietitian. The second stream is for people who are already a Registered Dietitian in Canada.

Brescia also offers a Pre-University Year program. According to the Brescia website, the Preliminary Year is a one-year university preparatory program taught by university professors on the College campus. This program is co-educational.[7]

The College also offers and English as a Second Language programme called CultureWorks.[8]

Student life[edit]

The Preliminary Year programme and the Masters of Science are co-education; all undergraduate programs are women-only. However, all courses are accessible to UWO students, male or female, including students from Western's two other affiliated university colleges.


James Carlisle Pennington designed Brescia Hall (1924–25) for the Ursuline Sisters, near Western Road at Sarnia Road, on the campus of the University of Western Ontario.[9] The Mother St. James memorial building (completed in 1963) is the main building on campus. It houses classrooms, offices, student services, the business office, the Beryl Ivey Library and computer lab, the Mother St. James Memorial Auditorium, a coffee shop and the Circle Women’s Centre resource centre. The Ursuline hall is the residence for 170 female students. Ursuline Hall also has the cafeteria (Castle Café), some professors' offices, the food laboratories and a few classrooms. In September 2013, Brescia opened its new residence building and dining pavilion, Clare Hall, which houses just over 300 students and features a state of the art eatery, called the Mercato.[10]

Brescia Hall

Notable alumnae[edit]

See also[edit]


  • Murray Llewellyn Barr A century of medicine at Western: a centennial history of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Western Ontario (London: University of Western Ontario, 1977), ISBN 0-919534-00-7
  • John R. W. Gwynne-Timothy Western's first century (London: University of Western Ontario, 1978)
  • Ruth Davis Talman 'The beginnings and development of the University of Western Ontario, 1878-1924.' (MA Thesis, University of Western Ontario, 1925)
  • Available from the Beryl Ivey Library are Emeritus Professor of History Dr. Patricia Skidmore's books Brescia College 1919-1979 and The History of Brescia


  1. ^ "Canada | Ranking Web of Universities". Retrieved 2017-03-26. 
  2. ^ "About | Brescia University College". About | Brescia University College. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  3. ^ University of Western Ontario
  4. ^ Brescia University College History
  5. ^[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "History". About | Brescia University College. 2014-04-05. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  7. ^ Preliminary Year Archived May 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ CultureWorks Archived May 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine..
  9. ^ James Carlisle Pennington
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 

External links[edit]