Trent University

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This article is about the university in Canada. It is not to be confused with Nottingham Trent University in the UK.

Coordinates: 44°21′27.95″N 78°17′22.42″W / 44.3577639°N 78.2895611°W / 44.3577639; -78.2895611

Trent University
Trent University Logo.svg
Motto nunc cognosco ex parte
Motto in English
Now I know in part - 1 Corinthians 13:12
Type Public
Established 1964
Endowment $52 million
Chancellor Don Tapscott
President Leo Groarke
Academic staff
Undergraduates 8,006
Postgraduates 400
Location Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Campus Urban
Sports teams Trent Excalibur
Colours Green      and white     [1]
Affiliations AUCC, Fields Institute, IAU, CIS, COU, ACU, OUA, CBIE, Peterborough Centennial Museum & Archives

Trent University is a liberal arts and science-oriented institution located along the Otonabee River in Peterborough and the Regional Municipality of Durham, Ontario, Canada.

The enabling legislation is the Trent University Act, 1962-63.[2] The university was founded through the efforts of a citizens' committee interested in creating a university to serve the Trent valley.[3] The chancellor of Trent University is Don Tapscott, and Leo Groarke is the president and vice-chancellor.

The Symons campus of Trent is approximately 5.6 km2 (2.2 sq mi), over half of which is a part of Trent's Nature Areas, an ecologically diverse wild-life preserve. It is divided into a series of colleges: Champlain, Lady Eaton, Catharine Parr Traill, Otonabee, Peter Gzowski, and Julian Blackburn. Each college has its own residence hall, dining room, and student government, other than Julian Blackburn which is a non-residential college and home to Trent's 1,700 part-time students. The campus plan and the original college buildings were designed by the Canadian architect Ron Thom. A large portion of the main campus consists of land that was donated by General Electric Canada. This donation included a functioning hydroelectric power plant dating from the 1890s, which still generates a substantial portion of the university's electricity; the power plant is being updated and a second generating plant being considered.

Trent also runs a full- and part-time program in Durham at the Thornton Road campus, with an enrolment of over 800 students. The university is represented in Canadian Interuniversity Sport by the Trent Excalibur. Some of the specialized programs at Trent include the Human Resources Management Certificate Program, a joint program with Fleming College allowing students to earn a B.Sc.F.S. in Forensic Science, and a B.Sc.N. program in Nursing.


A view of the Faryon footbridge that connects the east and west parts of the college across the Otonabee River.

Trent University came about from public discussion in 1957 about the possibility of opening a post-secondary institution in the Trent Valley.[4] The policy of university education initiated in the 1960s responded to population pressure and the belief that higher education was a key to social justice and economic productivity for individuals and for society.[4]

Trent University is a non-denominational, public institution founded in downtown Peterborough, Ontario. Trent University was established as a provincial university under the Trent University Act of 1963.[5][6] In 1963, the university opened Rubidge Hall, Catherine Parr Traill College for women, and Peter Robinson College for men in 1964.[7] The governor general, Georges Vanier officially opened Trent University in 1964.[8]

The governance was modelled on the provincial University of Toronto Act of 1906 which established a bicameral system of university government consisting of a senate (faculty), responsible for academic policy, and a board of governors (citizens) exercising exclusive control over financial policy and having formal authority in all other matters. The president, appointed by the board, was to provide a link between the 2 bodies and to perform institutional leadership.[4]

The first students were admitted in September, 1964. The university offered Canada's first Native Studies program in September, 1969.[7] Although Trent University is predominantly undergraduate, graduate programs are offered at the master's and doctoral level.[8] Monture House, near Rubidge Hall, at Trent University was named after Gilbert Monture, who was a member of the Board of Governors of Trent University from 1966-1973.[9]


Catharine Parr Traill College[edit]

Named after local biologist and writer Catharine Parr Traill, this college was one of the first to be opened, in 1964. It serves as the base for the Departments of English, Cultural Studies, and Canadian Studies. The college also includes the Alan Wilson reading room as well as the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies, where the M.A. and PhD. programs are housed.

Traill College consists of Wallis Hall, Stewart and Crawford Houses, which are residential; as well as Scott House — the original location of Catharine Parr Traill College in its entirety — Kerr house, and the Principal's Lodge which houses the on-line political and cultural theory journal, Theory and Event. The university previously owned Bradburn and Langton House but both properties were sold to the Peterborough Housing Corporation in 2009. Bradburn House is a fully functional affordable housing unit converted into its present state by a provincial and federal grant given to the corporation, however funding was not available to convert Langton House into a functional housing facility.[10] The property was sold to Hospice Peterborough in 2012 and will to be turned into a residential hospice.[11]

By 2004 the University was considering either closing the college or converting it to some other use. Following prolonged debate the University decided in 2007 to convert Traill from an undergraduate to a graduate facility.[12]

Champlain College[edit]

Located on Symons Campus along the Otonabee River, this college was opened in 1967. It is named after the early 17th century explorer Samuel de Champlain, who explored the Otonabee area in 1615 and founded Quebec City in 1608 and whose sword is featured in the Trent crest. It originally served as an all-male residence, along with Peter Robinson College. The college is home to the Political Studies department and the Trent University Alumni Association.[citation needed]

Lady Eaton College[edit]

The fourth college, established in 1968, it is named in honour of Flora McCrea Eaton, Lady Eaton. It contains the offices for the departments of History, Philosophy, Women's Studies, and Modern Languages. It originally served as the Female Dormitory and still today has an all-female section.[citation needed]

Otonabee College[edit]

Trent University; a view across the Otonabee River, showing the west bank part of the campus, including Bata Library on the left. The Faryon bridge is to the right.

Otonabee College was founded in 1972. The buildings of Otonabee range along a cedar ridge overlooking the river from which the College derives its name ("fast water" in Nishnaabee).[citation needed] To the east of the College are located the new buildings of the DNA Cluster and the Forensic Science program. To the west are Peter Gzowski College and the Science buildings, leading to the Faryon pedestrian bridge, which provides access to the Bata Library, Murno Gladst, the Athletics Complex, and the colleges on the West Bank. Eight "houses" connected by an interior walkway called "the Link", make up Otonabee's residence. The residence is co-educational, although there are single-sex areas within the houses. Past "the Link", (a path leading to the instructional area of the College which bisects the residences) are a set of faculty offices, the mailboxes, College Porter's office, and the main dining hall looking to the north and east of the grounds. The academic wing is directly connected with the Science Buildings and houses the School of Education, the departments of Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, and Computing & Information Systems. Teaching facilities include a 125-seat lecture theatre, various seminar rooms, laboratories for Anthropology and Psychology and Computer Science, and a Sociology resource room, offices for faculty in many of the disciplines in arts and sciences, and the Wenjack Theatre, which provides a venue for multimedia lecture presentations as well as theatrical productions by amateur and professional companies. Nearby are the Archaeology Centre, Mackenzie House, and a wildlife sanctuary with walks and ski trails. Students at Otonabee play a major role in organizing and conducting cultural, social and athletic activities. The student government (Cabinet) and its committees cooperate with the College Office and dons in planning and delivering a variety of events for both its non-resident and resident members: visiting scholars, artists, musicians, scientists; College dinners and dances; Fall and Winter College Weekend; and intramural co-educational competitions in a number of sports.[citation needed]

Peter Gzowski College[edit]

Founded in 2003, it is the newest of the Trent University colleges, named for CBC broadcaster Peter Gzowski, who was Trent's 8th chancellor. At one point the college had two campuses: on Peterborough's Argyle Street in buildings leased from the Eastern Pentecostal Bible College, now Master's College and Seminary, which housed the Teacher Education and Nursing programs; and the Enweying building on the main Symons campus ("enweying" means "the way we speak together" in the Anishinaabe language.)[citation needed] Enweying housed the Indigenous Studies, Economics, Mathematics and Business Administration programs. Programs at the Argyle location were moved to Enweying prior to the 2006–2007 academic year.[citation needed]

Peter Robinson College[edit]

The first college to open at the university, it was dedicated to Peter Robinson, the member of the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada who oversaw migration of Irish settlers to the area in the 1820s. The college used to have a residence (apartment style) until its sale to a private landlord in 2004. The college was shut down by the university administration, against the protests of many Peter Robinson students and faculty.[citation needed] By referendum in March, 2003, Trent students voted to create and operate a non-profit educational and cultural student facility, to be shared with the community as a whole. Chosen to house this new facility was Sadleir House: one of the original university buildings at the PR site, it holds special historical significance for both the Trent and Peterborough communities. Funded by a new student levy and organized as the P.R. Community and Student Association (PRCSA), the students' offer to purchase the property was accepted by the current non-university owners. The Trust secured a mortgage for the property and the students took possession of Sadleir House on 27 February 2004. Currently, each student pays a levy fee each year of over $25 to support the mortgage on the house. Among other things, Sadleir House contains the offices of the Arthur, the Trent student newspaper, and the Sadleir House Alternative Library. Another building on the premises, housing Trent Radio headquarters, is also affiliated with the University.[citation needed]

Julian Blackburn College[edit]

This college offered programs for part-time students in Peterborough until it was closed in 2011. It is named after Julian Blackburn, one of the original professors who helped establish Trent. Blackburn had no residences as it handled the part-time students, but the Julian Blackburn building is now home to Trent's administration, as well as medical, counseling, printing, parking, registrar, financial aid, student affairs, student accounts, and several other important university services.[citation needed]

Trent University Durham[edit]

Trent has a campus in the Regional Municipality of Durham, and has been offering courses for over 40 years. Located originally at the campus of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College, Trent University Durham built its own campus on Thornton Road which officially opened on Monday, October 18, 2010[13] and was inaugurated for the 2010–2011 academic year. Over 900 students attend Trent University Durham, who can study full- or part-time for degrees in Anthropology, Business Administration, Communications and Critical Thinking, English Literature, History, Media Studies, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology,and the Teacher Education Stream.[14] In addition to the above, there are several course offerings (some with the possibility of a minor) at Trent's Durham campus that students can take and later major in at the Peterborough campus, including: Biology, Computer Information Systems, Cultural Studies, Economics, Environmental & Resource Studies, Geography, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Political Studies, and Women's Studies.[citation needed]

Graduate studies[edit]

Trent has a number of graduate programs including Anthropology M.A. (current focus is in physical anthropology and archaeology), Applications of Modelling in the Natural & Social Sciences M.A./M.Sc., Public Texts (English) M.A., History M.A., Theory, Culture and Politics M.A., Environmental and Life Sciences (formerly known as Watershed Ecosystems) Ph. D / M.Sc, and Materials Sciences M.Sc. The Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies offers an interdisciplinary Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies M.A. program. In addition, the Centre offers, in collaboration with Carleton University, a Canadian Studies Ph.D. program, which was the first of its kind in Canada.[citation needed] The university's Indigenous/Native Studies program was the first in Canada, and only the second in North America.[citation needed] The new Ph.D Program in Cultural Studies is the first in Canada. Trent was also recently[when?] approved for Psychology M.A./M.Sc. graduate studies.[citation needed]

On July 2014, Trent announced they will open a Masters in Educational Studies program that will begin in July 2015.[15]

Indigenous studies[edit]

Trent University's First Peoples House of Learning houses the Indigenous Studies Department and a focus for Indigenous intellectual and cultural activities on campus. The Indigenous Studies Department offers undergraduate and PhD programs designed to meet the needs of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Trent University offers a program in Indigenous Environmental Studies in addition to a specialized Indigenous Learning Program that provides access for people of Indigenous heritage. The First Peoples House of Learning also houses Nozhem, a First Peoples performance space.[16]


Trent University is among Canada’s top universities, according to the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) 2015 list of the world’s top 1,000 universities, coming in at number 31 nationally, and number 910 overall worldwide.[citation needed] Trent University also ranked #1 in Ontario in Maclean's University Ranking in the Primarily Undergraduate Category and #2 in Canada.[citation needed]

Notable alumni[edit]


Arthur is a student-published newspaper at Trent. The paper is distributed on the Trent campus and around the Peterborough community free of charge; All students pay a non-refundable levy in their student fees to the Arthur.[citation needed] Absynthe Magazine is another student paper at Trent. Founded in 1999, it is a submissions-based publication, reliant on members of the Trent community to provide content. Like Arthur, it is distributed free of charge. Absynthe receives a refundable levy from each full-time student of Trent University.[citation needed]

Trent Radio operates the community's student sponsored community radio (formerly classified as student radio) broadcast facility - CFFF 92.7fm. Full-time students pay a membership fee as part of their student fees to support Trent Radio activities. TrentBook is a website designed by students for students. This website has articles and discussions on an array of topics that concern Trent students. Students can also post and ask questions that they might want to have answered or discussed about.[citation needed]

The final scenes of Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000) were filmed at Trent University.[citation needed]


Trent University offers a number of Internet-based courses to their students and approximately 70 per cent of all Trent courses use some form of web-based component. Trent's primary LMS is Blackboard. Many course lectures are also webcast for students using PANOPTO.[19]

Trent offers three separate Internet access systems: AirTrent Guest, Reznet and Eduroam.[citation needed]




  • Thomas H. B. Symons (1963 - 1972)
  • Thomas E. W. Nind (1972 - 1979)
  • Donald F. Theall (1980 - 1987)
  • John O. Stubbs (1987 - 1993)
  • Leonard W. Conolly (1994 - 1997)
  • David C. Smith - Interim President (1997 - 1998)
  • Bonnie M. Patterson (1998 - 2009)
  • Steven E. Franklin (2009-2014)
  • Leo Groarke (2014–present)


Athletics field
Location Peterborough, Ontario
Owner Trent University
Capacity 1000
Surface FieldTurf (artificial)
Opened 2005
Trent University

There are many varsity and intramural sports at Trent. The university competes at the varsity level under the name Excalibur in men's and women's rugby union, volleyball, fencing, rowing, competitive swimming, and soccer. Trent University installed a new artificial turf athletics field in the summer of 2005. The field was built as part of Trent's bid to hold the 2007 U19 Women's Lacrosse Championships. There is seating for 1,000 spectators.[citation needed]

Logo for the Trent Excalibur.

Each autumn, Trent in conjunction with the Peterborough Rowing Club hosts the Head of the Trent rowing regatta, a 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) head-style race along the Trent Canal and Otonabee River, finishing under the Faryon Bridge on the Trent University campus. The day-long event is open to university, club, and high school crews. Head of the Trent weekend is also homecoming at Trent University and includes a wide range of athletic and festive events. The Head of The Trent is one of the largest events of its kind in the world, and the largest single-day regatta in North America.[citation needed] A new rowing/paddling tank, named in honour of former head coach Carol Love, was recently opened[when?] in the new Trent Community Sports and Recreation Center (formerly the Trent Athletics Complex).[citation needed]

Trent's lacrosse team went through the 2008 campaign with a perfect regular season of 10-0 winning the Eastern Championship.[citation needed] However fell short in the Bagataway Championships to the eventual CUFLA champions the Guelph Gryphons. All-Canadians included Mack O'Brien, Josh Wasson and Kalvin Thomas. Thomas was named the league's Most Out Standing Goalie with Wasson earning an honorable mention for league MVP. Jesse Thomas and his coaching staff were selected as Coaching Staff of the Year in 2008 by their peers for leading Trent to a perfect 10-0 in the regular season and reaching the Baggataway National Championship Semi Finals in only their second season of play.[citation needed]

The 2009 CUFLA season saw Trent's lacrosse team reach its 2nd consecutive Baggataway Final Four Championship. Veteran leadership[citation needed] from Senior players such as Josh Wasson Mack O'Brien Seamus McGee and Brock Boynton as well as Juniors Brock Koczka Sean McGee and Kalvin Thomas earned the Trent Excalibur team to an 8-2 season finishing first in the Eastern Conference.[citation needed]

In 2002-2003, the women's volleyball team obtained varsity status. Competing in the OCAA (Ontario Colleges Athletics Association), Trent, over the last 10 years has grown into a top team in the east division. Under the guidance of Coach Peter Carter (the programs only head coach), Trent has seen growth in recruiting and success. In 2009-2010, the Trent Women qualified for its first ever provincial championship (at Cambrian College). The 2010–2011 season saw Trent post a program best 18-2 regular season record, and another appearance at the provincial championships (at Loyalist College). After once again qualifying for the 2011–2012 provincial championships, Trent won the bid to host the 2012–2013 provincial championships, earning an automatic berth.[citation needed]

The Trent Women's volleyball team has had one athlete (Becki Rodin) inducted into the OCAA Hall of Fame.[citation needed]

The Trent University Taekwondo team - under the influence of Tom Locke and Doug Johnson won the Canadian University Taekwondo championships for two years in a row. A change in the rules of the competition prevented Trent from winning a third consecutive title opting instead for a second place.[citation needed]

Clubs and Groups[edit]

Trent has a variety of clubs and groups, including a number of theatre groups, social interest groups, newspapers, religious groups, political chapters and academic societies and Greeks. These groups include The Trent Business Students' Association, the Peterborough chapter of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group, Anne Shirley Theatre Company, Sustainable Trent, the Centre for Gender and Social Justice (previously known as Trent Women's Centre) and Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3908. These groups are showcased during Introductory Seminar Week (ISW) for the benefit of new students.[citation needed]

Trent University's Fraternity is Tau Kappa Epsilon, and its Sorority is Alpha Pi Phi.[citation needed] The university is also served by the Trent University Emergency First Response Team (TUEFRT), a student run organization whose members provide emergency first aid to all students, visitors and staff on campus.[citation needed]

Labour unions and associations[edit]

Part-time contract faculty (Course Instructors, Clinical Instructors, Tutorial Leaders, etc.) and Student Academic Workers (Graduate Teaching Assistants, Markers) are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3908.[citation needed]

Support Staff (secretaries, maintenance staff, caretakers, groundskeepers, assistants, etc.) are part of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 365.[citation needed]

Professors (Full, Associate, and Assistant) both full-time tenured and part-time are represented by the Trent University Faculty Association (TUFA).[citation needed]

All full-time undergraduate and consecutive education students are represented through channels of the University by the Trent Central Student Association (TCSA), a nonpartisan association representing the best interest of all students.[citation needed]


Published histories[edit]

  • Cole, A.O.C. 'Trent: The Making of a University, 1957-1987.' Peterborough: Trent University, 1992.
  • Hansen, Bertrand L., Brenda McKelvie, and Donald F. Theall. "Ontario's Trent University: Rational and Different An Illustrative Case of Selective Government Intervention." In Readings in Canadian Higher Education, edited by Cecily Watson. Toronto: OISE Press, 1988.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]