This is a postcard of the University of Windsor from I suspect, shortly after the Ambassador Bridge was completed in 1929. Nice bird’s eye view but the astute reader will notice that the U is virtually non-existent. Today, that empty space to the left of Assumption Church is chock full of campus buildings. (And Sandwich is no longer a town as it was swallowed up by the City of Windsor, Ontario.)
When I was trying to find out when the first campus building was erected, I discovered lots of other things I didn’t know about the University. So here are…
Things I Didn’t Learn When I Was Getting My Edjamication:
The cornerstone of Assumption College was laid in the spring of 1855. Assumption was originally 90 feet long, 50 feet wide, 43 feet high and cost $11,000.
On February 10, 1857, a group of young men kicked the snow off their boots and tramped through the doors of the three-storey stone building to begin their first day of secondary school.
My favorite new fun fact: According to a 1902/1903 Assumption College booklet, discipline meant that “the use of tobacco is strictly forbidden” and that “incorrigible sloth or giddiness will not be tolerated.”
By 1919, Assumption became one of the largest colleges associated with the University of Western Ontario.
The Bishop of London suggested in 1920 that the entire Assumption College and community move to London! The Basilians, under Father Francis Forster and Father Dan Dillon, declined the invitation, appealing successfully to Rome. (So that’s how Dillon Hall, the prettiest old building – 1928 – on campus, got its name!)
The War Memorial Hall (known as Memorial Hall – aha!) is a landmark building on the campus of the University of Windsor used as classrooms, labs, and offices. Built in 1947, Memorial Hall honours alumni who had enlisted and died in the First World War, and in the Second World War. A bronze tablet remembers the alumni of Assumption College who died in the Second World War. (This old building is also very pretty.)
In 1950, Assumption College welcomed its first women students. (About time!)
In 1956, the College changed its name to Assumption University by an Act of the Ontario Legislature. (!)
As a religious institution, Assumption College couldn’t access public funds and had to rely on student fees and donations to operate so it stayed tiny. In 1956, under President Father EC LeBel (so that’s where the LeBel Building – the art school – got its name!), Assumption University of Windsor was established, with the non-denominational Essex College as an affiliate. The institution offered engineering, commerce, nursing and science and hoped to obtain a more sound financial footing.
Leddy Library was named for Dr. J. Francis Leddy (this I knew) who became President of the University of Windsor in 1964 and presided over a period of explosive growth. From 1967-77, Windsor grew from approximately 1,500 to 8,000 full-time students. (I did not know this.)
Today, the campus covers 51 hectares (125 acres – that’s pretty big, eh?), has 40 buildings and 16,000 full- and part-time students.
More than 80,000 people world-wide call the University of Windsor their alma mater, including me. : )
You can learn more about the history of the U here: