Brescia University College

Coordinates: 43°0′18.61″N 81°16′36.54″W / 43.0051694°N 81.2768167°W / 43.0051694; -81.2768167
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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
MottoChoose to Lead
TypePublic liberal arts college
Women's college
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic (Ursulines)
Academic affiliation
University of Western Ontario
PrincipalDr. Lauretta Frederking
Academic staff
Undergraduates1350 full time
200 part time
1285 Western Road
, ,
N6G 1H2
ColoursBlue and Tangerine    
AffiliationsAUCC, IAU, COU, ACU, WCC

Brescia University College is a Catholic liberal arts women's 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 1,500 undergraduate students and a 14:1 student/faculty ratio. Although Brescia is a Catholic institution,[1] it accepts students of all faiths and backgrounds.


Brescia was founded in 1919 as Ursuline College by the Ursulines, an organization of women of Catholic faith.[2][3] It was originally located in an old converted house at 556 Wellington Street in downtown London, Ontario.[4] It was founded as a Roman Catholic affiliate of the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario,[5] and the graduates received University of Western Ontario degrees.[6] The first class was of seven young women who each paid $50 for tuition.

The Ursuline Superior General, Mother Clare Gaukler, bought a piece of land at 1285 Western Road in London, and construction began on a permanent building in 1923. The building was built by contractor Joseph Michael Piggot, opened for classes and residence in 1925, and was named Brescia Hall. Brescia Hall was later renamed "Ursuline Hall".

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.

Ursuline College was renamed "Brescia College" in 1963, after the Italian city of Brescia where the Ursuline religious institute was founded. In 2001 it was again renamed to "Brescia University College".

In September 2007, Brescia started the first graduate program. In 2017, the college began offering a degree in non-profit management.[7]

On September 21, 2023, Western University announced it would begin fully integrating Brescia into Western. The process will last until May 2024, whereby Brescia will fully wind down and cease operations. Western will assume all of Brescia's assets and liabilites, and will introduce a $25-million Brescia Legacy fund to support existing students who will complete their degrees under Western University.[8] This news has drawn criticism from many students and faculty. On September 27, Brescia students held a rally with about 300 participants to voice their discontent with this desicion.[9]


  • Bachelor of Arts (English, French, Psychology, Sociology, Family Studies, Health Sciences, Kinesiology, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Community Development, Political Science, Human Ecology, and Leadership Studies)
  • Bachelor of Management & Organizational Studies (Food Management & Marketing, Accounting, Nonprofit Management, and Consumer Behaviour)
  • Bachelor of Science (Foods & Nutrition and Human Ecology)
  • Master of Foods and Nutritional Sciences
  • Master of Engineering in Food Processing (MEng)
  • Diploma in Dietetic Education & Practical Training
  • Diploma in Management Studies
  • Diploma in Diversity and Families
  • Certificate in Community Development
  • Certificate in Diversity and Families

The Honours Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition at Brescia is accredited by Dietitians of Canada, making graduates eligible to apply for dietetic internship placements.

Brescia offers a Master of Foods and Nutritional Sciences program, which is divided into two streams: The internship MSc stream, available to those who have graduated from a programme accredited by Dietitians of Canada, combines a master's degree with an internship and graduates 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 Preliminary Year, a co-educational one-year university preparatory program taught by university professors on the College campus.[10] The College also offers an English as a Second Language programme called CultureWorks.[11]

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.[12] 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 and The Hive. Ursuline Hall was Brescia's original building and residence, but now houses classrooms, food laboratories and administrative offices. In September 2013, Brescia opened its new residence building and dining pavilion, Clare Hall, which houses just over 300 students and includes an eatery called the Mercato.[13]

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. ^ Rory Leishman (2006). Against Judicial Activism: The Decline of Freedom and Democracy in Canada. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-7735-6001-7.
  2. ^ Terence J. Fay (9 May 2002). History of Canadian Catholics. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-7735-6988-1.
  3. ^ Teresa Berger (1 January 2001). Dissident Daughters: Feminist Liturgies in Global Context. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-664-22379-3.
  4. ^ John H. Lutman; McIntosh Art Gallery (1978). Heritage Western: a celebration, 1878-1978 : an illustrated history of the University of Western Ontario in celebration of its first one hundred years. McIntosh Art Gallery, University of Western Ontario. p. 21. ISBN 9780771400339.
  5. ^ "University of Western Ontario". The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  6. ^ Beverly Boutilier; Alison Prentice (1 November 2011). Creating Historical Memory: English-Canadian Women and the Work of History. UBC Press. p. 307. ISBN 978-0-7748-4164-1.
  7. ^ "New degree breaks ground for non-profit sector". Jennifer Lewington, The Globe and Mail, July 10, 2015.
  8. ^ "Western, Brescia begin plans to integrate". Western News. 2023-09-21. Retrieved 2023-09-23.
  9. ^ "'Felt like we had been lied to': Hundreds rally against Brescia-Western merger". London. 2023-09-27. Retrieved 2023-09-28.
  10. ^ Preliminary Year Archived May 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Assyrian brother and sister fled Syria and got scholarships to London's Western University". London Free Press, By Dale Carruther, August 2, 2016
  12. ^ Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine James Carlisle Pennington
  13. ^ "Brescia University College | Residence". Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  14. ^ "Katherine Henderson". Brescia University College. Retrieved July 5, 2023.

External links[edit]