Brescia University College and Western University Agree to Strategic Integration

MOU outlines plans to honour Brescia legacy, while supporting improved access to education, world-class preparatory and pathways program

LONDON, ON (21 September 2023) – A memorandum of understanding has been approved by the governing boards of Brescia University College and Western University that outlines plans for Brescia to fully integrate into Western, beginning in May 2024, at which point Brescia will wind down its operations as an affiliated university college.

The plans aim to honour Brescia’s core mission to educate and prepare its students to live with wisdom, justice and compassion while meeting the needs of today’s students.

“Today’s agreement is about meeting present needs of students, with an eye to the future,” said Lauretta Frederking, president of Brescia. “Brescia was founded in 1919 by the Ursuline Sisters, with a goal of bridging gaps in women’s education. I am incredibly grateful for their legacy and for their support in planning this next chapter. We are now at a point where women make up the majority of post-secondary learners in Canada and there is an equally important need to adapt to new realities, including the underrepresentation of equity-deserving groups in our postsecondary institutions. This agreement will better position us to enhance educational outcomes for students with the greatest needs.”

Building on Brescia’s legacy, Western will broaden pathways for students from equity-deserving groups through an enhanced preparatory program on Brescia’s campus. The program will help promising domestic and international students achieve their full potential by building academic foundations and English-language proficiency, and offering customized cultural supports before they start their degree program. 

Western will also create a $25-million Brescia Legacy Fund to support access to education through scholarships, bursaries and programs.

“Western and Brescia have a deep historical connection, and now we have an opportunity to chart a new path that stays true to those roots,” said Alan Shepard, president of Western. “What we are contemplating together aligns beautifully with Western’s strategic plan, including bold innovations in education.”

The planned integration will involve several commitments, including ensuring current Brescia students can complete their program of study and remain in their current program for the duration of their degree. Western will assume Brescia’s assets and liabilities and will provide Brescia’s full-time faculty, current contract faculty with sessional appointments, full-time staff and permanent part-time staff with employment offers. The university will identify all available employment options for Brescia’s contract faculty and staff. 

“I am proud of the vibrant and welcoming culture that many students have come to know at Brescia, and believe this proposal will allow our students, faculty and staff to build on that legacy in a manner that is responsive to the changing times,” said Sr. Theresa Mahoney, community leader of the Ursuline Sisters of Chatham. “As Ursulines, we have always tried to respond to the needs of the times, and I am grateful for the support of Bishop Fabbro, Dr. Frederking, and Dr. Shepard in reaching this agreement, which will truly put students first.”

About Brescia University College
Brescia University College is affiliated with Western University. The 1,200 students registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in the Schools of Behavioural & Social Sciences, Food & Nutritional Sciences, and Humanities in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic University College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. 

About Western University
Since 1878, Western has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.

About the Ursuline Sisters
The Ursuline Sisters were instrumental in expanding education and Catholic institutions in early 20th century southwestern Ontario. They established various educational facilities, including schools and music institutions, contributing significantly to the Catholic school system. Their efforts led to the founding of Brescia University College, Canada's only women's university college, and laid the groundwork for Glengarda Child and Family Services in Windsor. 

The Ursulines remain devoted to justice, especially for marginalized groups, women, and the environment. They exemplify this commitment through their eco-friendly Villa Angela home in Chatham. Their activities encompass education, spiritual growth, and advocacy on global issues, promoting a nurturing and present approach in a fast-paced world.

For more information, please contact Rachel Macaulay, Director of Communications & External Relations, at Brescia:
c. 519-281-5049