Ron Thom

Trent University

This article is about Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. You might be looking for Nottingham Trent University in the UK

Trent University is a liberal arts and science-oriented institution located along the Otonabee River in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. The chancellor of Trent University is Dr. Roberta Bondar and Bonnie Patterson is the president and vice-chancellor.

The Symons campus of Trent is approximately 14.60 square kilometres, 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. The exception to this rule is Julian Blackburn Hall, which does not house a residence, and is also used for administrative purposes. The campus plan and the original colleges were designed by the Canadian architect Ron Thom. A large portion of the main campus consists of land that was donated by GE Canada. This donation included a functioning hydroelectric power plant dating from the 1890s, and 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 Oshawa at the campus of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, with an enrollment of over 800 students. The university is represented in Canadian Interuniversity Sport by the Trent Excalibur.


Trent University came about from public discussion in 1957 about the possibility of opening a post-secondary institution in the Trent Valley. 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.

Trent University is a non-denominational institution founded in Peterborough, Ontario granted a provincial university in 1963. In 1963, the university opened Rubidge Hall, Traill College, and Peter Robinson College in 1964. The governor general, Georges Vanier officially opened Trent University in 1964.

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.

The first students were admitted in September, 1964. Although Trent University is predominantly undergraduate, some graduate programs are offered at the master's level.

Catharine Parr Traill College

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, Bradburn, Stewart, Langton 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.

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.

Champlain College

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.

Lady Eaton College

The fourth college, established in 1968, it is named in honour of Lady Flora McCrea Eaton, one of the original sponsors of the university. It contains the offices for the departments of History, Philosophy, Women's Studies, and Modern Languages.

Otonabee College

Founded in 1972 and named for the river that runs through the university, Otonabee College was the fifth established college at Trent. Its name was the source of debate, with some suggestions including Norman Bethune, Lester B. Pearson, and Ojibwa for a tullibee. It is now the only college in the university to bear a name in a Native language (Ojibwa) and the only one not named after a person. Otonabee includes the offices for the Departments of Psychology, Anthropology, Computer Science, and Sociology. It is also the home of Trent's main auditorium, the Wenjack Theatre, named after Charlie Wenjack, a native student who suffered at the hands of the residential school system and died trying to escape back to his home.

Peter Gzowski College

Founded in 2003, it is the newest of the Trent University colleges. It is 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, 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.) 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.

Peter Robinson College

The first college to open at the university, it is dedicated to Peter Robinson, the member of the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada who oversaw emigration of Irish settlers to the area in the 1820s. The city of Peterborough is also named in his honour. 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, although many Peter Robinson students and faculty protested the closure.

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 Sadlier 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 Sadler House on 27 February, 2004. Currently, each student pays a levy fee each year of over $25 to support the mortgage on the house.

Julian Blackburn College

This college has programs for part-time students in Peterborough, and part-time and full-time students in Oshawa. It is named after Julian Blackburn, who was one of the original professors who helped establish Trent.

Trent in Oshawa

Trent runs a full time program in Oshawa at the campus of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College. Administered by JBC, Trent has a history of over 30 years of offering courses in the Oshawa area. Over 800 students attend Trent in Oshawa (formerly Trent@UOIT), which is home to a number of tenure-track professors, as well as staff who are based at the main campus. Students may obtain degrees in Oshawa in Anthropology, Biology, Computer Studies, Cultural Studies, English, Environmental & Resource Studies, History, Psychology, Sociology and Women's Studies. Trent in Oshawa has a unique feel, with small classes and a tightly knit student body.

Trent's other undergraduate programs include the Queen's University/Trent concurrent education program, the Trent University School of Education, a joint program with Fleming College, in which students earn a B.Sc.F.S. in Forensic Science, as well as a B.Sc.N. program in Nursing.

Graduate studies

Trent has a small 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., Canadian Studies English M.A., History M.A., and Indigenous Studies M.A. Canadian Studies Ph.D., Theory, Culture and Politics M.A., Indigenous Studies Ph.D. Environmental and Life Sciences (formerly known as Watershed Ecosystems) Ph. D / M.Sc, and Materials Sciences M.Sc. The university's Indigenous/Native Studies program was the first in Canada, and only the second in North America. In addition, the Joint Carleton/Trent Canadian Studies Ph.D. Program was the first program in Canada. The new Ph.D Program in Cultural Studies is the first in Canada.


Trent University developed governing board and senate policies as well as Aboriginal governed councils within the university structure. Trent University’s First Peoples House of Learning is a dedicated space for Aboriginal institutions, a “zone of comfort” for Aboriginal students and a focus for Aboriginal culture and activities on campus. Trent University has had success in recruiting and retaining large numbers of Aboriginal faculty. The language and Native Studies Programs at Trent University were designed to meet the knowledge needs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit. Trent University offers a Native Management and Economic Development Program to meet specific needs within Aboriginal communities.

Famous graduates


  • 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.
  • Absynthe Magazine is a student paper at Trent. It was founded in 1999. It is a submissions-based publication, reliant on members of the Trent community to provide content. It is, like Arthur, distributed free of charge. Absynthe receives a refundable levy from each full-time student of Trent University.
  • CFFF-FM is the university's community radio (formerly classified as campus radio) station known as Trent Radio 92.7 FM; All students pay a levy in their student fees to support the broadcasting of Trent Radio.




There are many varsity and intramural sports at Trent. Trent 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 to fit 1,000 spectators.

Trent Summer Sports Camp, a sports and leadership camp affiliated with the university's athletics department, offers a full range of activities to children 4 to 16 during the summer months. The camp's director is Bruce Emmerton.

Trent University takes pride in its rowing club. Each autumn, Trent in conjunction with the Peterborough Rowing Club hosts the Head of the Trent rowing regatta, a 5 kilometre 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.

Clubs and Groups

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. These groups include the Peterborough chapter of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group, Anne Shirley Theatre Company, and Sustainable Trent. These groups are showcased during Introductory Seminar Week (ISW) for the benefit of new students.

Notes and references

External links

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