The University of Regina is a non-denominational university, which grew out of Regina College, founded in 2008 . In direct response to the award of the University of Saskatchewan to Saskatoon rather than Regina, the Methodist Church of Canada established Regina College in 1911 on College Avenue in Regina, Saskatchewan, starting with an enrolment of 27 students; it was adjacent to the now long-defunct St Chad's College (a theological seminary for the training of Anglican clergy) and Qu'Appelle Diocesan School, also on College Avenue.
In 1934 Regina College became part of the University of Saskatchewan. The University of Saskatchewan a single, public provincial university created in 1907 was modelled on the American state university, with an emphasis on extension work and applied research. 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. In the early part of this century, professional education expanded beyond the traditional fields of theology, law and medicine. Graduate training based on the German-inspired American model of specialized course work and the completion of a research thesis was introduced.
Regina College commenced a formal association with the University of Saskatchewan as a junior college offering accredited university courses in 1925 though continuing as a denominational college of the now-United Church of Canada, the successor to the Methodist Church. Regina College continued as a Junior College until 1959, when it received full degree granting status as a second campus of the University of Saskatchewan.
Methodist patrons of Regina College contributed amply to its development: Francis Nicholson Darke, a pioneer of early Regina, financed the building of Darke Hall, the concert venue of the old Regina College Campus, built in 1929. (See Regina's historic buildings and precincts.) However, in 1934, the United Church was financially hard pressed by the Great Depression and in any case its history from the great Egerton Ryerson of urgent advocacy of universal free public education made its involvement in private schools anomalous. It accordingly fully surrendered Regina College to the University of Saskatchewan. Regina College and its successor Regina Campus of the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina have — possibly unawares — retained the Methodist motto "as one who serves" (Luke 22.27).
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. In 1961 the College was renamed the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus. In 1974 it became the independent University of Regina.
The original United Church affiliation is, however, symbolically commemorated in the convocation furniture, resumed by the university for ceremonial use from one of the last downtown United Churches, which closed in the 1990s.
The upgrading process accelerated in 1961 when the college was granted full-degree granting status as the Regina Campus of the University of Saskatchewan and students completing degrees at Regina Campus were granted degrees of the University of Saskatchewan.
The arts and sciences programs evolved with the growth of Regina Campus, which held its first convocation in 1965. The new campus was begun in 1966 to the southwest of the old campus whose buildings, however, remain in use: the old Girls' Residence is now used by the Regina Conservatory of Music; the Normal School, having at various times housed not only the teacher-training facility that is now the University's Department of Education but the Saskatchewan Museum of Natural History, war-training facilities during World War II when it was temporarily resumed by the federal crown and latterly the University's Fine Arts Department, is now the Canada-Saskatchewan Soundstage. The original design of Regina Campus (as of Wascana Centre itself) and its initial buildings, in a stark concrete modernist style, were by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect of the original World Trade Center in New York.
Yamasaki's original vision was that:
Yamaski's vision of the new university campus as part of the wider Wascana Centre involved the eventual Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts as an adjacent convocation hall, which informed its placement on the south shore of Wascana Lake, some distance from the city centre, to the serious detriment of the city centre at a time when issues of inner-urban decay did not yet appear likely to affect Regina. Indeed, it was not immediately apparent that the development of the new campus would quickly stall: after an initial spate of development in the mid-60s and early 70s, building substantially lapsed for some years and the halted building and landscaping for a time were a somewhat bleak and barren outpost on the outskirts of the city. The Dr. John Archer Library, the main library of the university, was opened in 1967, one of the original three buildings of the new campus (the others being the classroom and laboratory buildings), and named after Dr. John Archer in 1999. Further building has been substantially in accord with Yamasaki's vision, notwithstanding some controversy over the years as to the suitability of its austere style for the featureless Regina plain; by 1972 with the demolition of Yamasaki's 1955 Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis, Missouri — such demolition being considered by some to be the beginning of postmodern architecture — Yamasaki's modernist aesthetic was already somewhat passé in the view of many architects.
Campion and later Luther Colleges, which like Regina College had also been denominational junior colleges affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan, established "federated college" status on the model of Victoria, Trinity, St Michael's and University Colleges at the University of Toronto (and ultimately the collegiate system of Oxford and Cambridge) and built facilities at the new campus. (St Chad's, a fourth denominational college in Regina, operated by the Anglican Church of Canada on the former Anglican diocesan property on College Avenue immediately to the east of Regina College, merged with Emmanuel College on the Saskatoon campus in 1964 and, after a period of continuing to operate its private girls' high school closed its Regina facilities in 1970.)
As with other rapidly expanding universities in the late 1960s, the Regina Campus of the University of Saskatchewan was able to benefit from a significant outflow of academics from American universities during the Vietnam War era of U.S. history at a time when the supply of Canadian PhDs could not yet keep up with demand ; it was labelled by a deputy commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP, the Canadian federal police force) as one of the three most radical campuses in Canada , along with Burnaby's Simon Fraser University and Sir George Williams University (now part of Concordia University) in Montreal.
As of the 2002-2003 academic year the U of R was rated 6th in the 2005 Maclean's magazine Canadian National Comprehensive Universities Rankings. The original Regina College buildings on College Avenue continue in use; the old Girls' Residence is now the Regina Conservatory of Music; in 1997 the Fine Arts Department moved from the old Normal School building to the new W.A. Riddell Centre and the Normal School was substantially renovated to become the Canada-Saskatchewan Soundstage.
In the summer of 2005 the University of Regina hosted the 2005 Canada Games. Many events took place in the newly completed state-of-the-art Centre for Kinesiology and Health Studies. The administration of the games proceeded from the University of Regina Students Union offices.
The campus has experienced a recent spurt of growth and expansion, having been static for some two decades after the construction of La Residence at the end of the 1970s. The Education Building has been significantly enlarged and the new Riddell Centre, the North and South Residences, the Centre of Kinesiology and the First Nations University of Canada have been built. The building of the North and South Residences also involved a significant redevelopment of the landscaping of the campus around a new oval as an aesthetic and community hub of campus. A lab building extension is under construction which will add 150,000 square feet to the university. Future plans include construction on the east side of the Ring Road. The goal is to accommodate an enrolment of 25,000.
In early 2006 the construction of a multipurpose arena on the University of Regina campus was under discussion. The Regina Research Park is located immediately adjacent to the main campus and conducts many of its initiatives in conjunction with university departments. In recent years, local benefactors have substantially endowed the university with scholarships and chairs in various disciplines.
Campion and Luther colleges had been high schools offering junior college courses accredited by the University of Saskatchewan on the same basis as the old Regina College, out of premises located elsewhere in Regina. Campion became a junior college of the University of Saskatchewan like Regina College in 1923, later severed that association in favour of one with St Boniface College in Manitoba, and returned to federated college status with the University of Saskatchewan in 1964. It built its facilities on the new Regina Campus in 1968 and subsequently vacated its original high school premises on 23rd Avenue. Its Regina Campus building was designed in accordance with Minoru Yamasaki's original plan for the campus, with a "podium," contemplated as eventually being joined with the campus-wide ground floor. Thus far this has not occurred and Campion's building remains isolated.
Luther College opened its building on the new Regina Campus in 1971 but continues to operate its high school on Royal Street, on the site of the first Government House of the North-West Territories. By this point the original Yamasaki plan for the campus was being reconsidered and the Luther College complex is isolated to the east of the principal campus buildings, though it is connected by an all-weather corridor via Campion College.
The First Nations University of Canada grew out of the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, established in 1976, which was an original foundation at the University of Regina. Its new building to the east of Luther College replaced its original facilities to the west of College West and was opened by Prince Edward in 2003 and visited by the Queen in 2005 when she installed a commemorative stone to symbolise the special relationship between Canada's First Nations and the sovereign.
The United Church, having vacated tertiary education in Regina when it ceded Regina College to the University of Saskatchewan, and the Anglican Church, having removed its St Chad's College from Regina to Saskatoon, do not maintain any presence at the University of Regina. The Christian and Missionary Alliance Church formerly maintained the residential Canadian Bible College in Regina and offered some of its courses for accreditation with the University of Regina but was unable to obtain university status in Saskatchewan and vacated to Calgary in 2003.
The University offers an Agriculture Transfer Program. <>
The new campus now has the following residences, which have enabled campus life to be considerably enlivened from the somewhat bleak atmosphere of its early days:
The University of Regina is a member of Canadian Interuniversity Sport and fields men and women's teams in various sports. Its teams bear the name "Cougars" in all sports, except the Regina Rams, which were originally a community junior football team competing in PJFC football without affiliation with the University, and who joined University ranks in 1999 as a member of the Canada West Conference of Canadian Interuniversity Sport. The University sports teams are: the Regina Rams (football); men's basketball; women's basketball; men's volleyball; women's volleyball; men's hockey; women's hockey; women's soccer; track and field; swimming; cross country; wrestling; and cheerleading. In the summer of 2005, the University hosted the Jeux du Canada Games.
The university is home to the School of Journalism, which was one of the first established in western Canada. The School publishes a student periodical, The Crow, and hosts the annual Minifie lecture, in honour of one of Canada's most illustrious journalists, James M. Minifie (1900-1974).
The University of Regina provides services to Aboriginal people in more remote communities. The University of Regina’s SUNTEP program was developed in partnership with specific Aboriginal communities to meet specific needs within Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal Elders are present on campus at University of Regina to provide social supports. Through the University of Regina’s Kâspohtamatâtân Mentorship Program Aboriginal students act as role models to younger students still in their home communities. The University of Regina has established an Aboriginal Career Centre to assist with the transition to a fulfilling career.