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Brescia University College to fully integrate into Western University in 2024

Brescia University College at Western University is seen in London, Ont. on Friday, May 29, 2020. (Celine Zadorsky / CTV London) Brescia University College at Western University is seen in London, Ont. on Friday, May 29, 2020. (Celine Zadorsky / CTV London)

In the spring of 2024, Canada's only women's university will begin integrating into Western University with improved access to education and honouring its legacy top of mind.

According to a release, a memorandum of understanding was approved by the governing boards of Brescia University College and Western University, allowing for the full integration of the college into Western. The merger is planned for May 2024, at which time Brescia will wind down 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,” the release reads.

Brescia was founded in 1919 by the Ursuline Sisters with the goal of bridging gaps in women’s education. Lauretta Frederking, president of Brescia, sees the merger as the college’s 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,” she said.

In order to build on Brescia’s legacy, Western will broaden pathways for students from equity-deserving groups through an enhanced preparatory program on the college’s campus. According to the release, the program will help domestic and international students “achieve their full potential” by building academic foundations and English language proficiency, and will offer customized cultural supports before beginning their program.

The planned integration will involve several commitments, including ensuring that current Brescia students can complete their program of study and remain in the current program for the duration of their degree.

With this in mind, Western will assume Brescia’s assets and liabilities and will provide the college’s full-time faculty, current contract faculty with sessional appointments, and full-time staff and permanent part-time staff with employment offers.

“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.”

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

“This agreement will better position us to enhance educational outcomes for students with the greatest needs,” added Frederking.

Sr. Theresa Mahoney, community leader of the Ursuline Sisters of Chatham, said the new merger will allow students, faculty and staff to continue to build on Brescia’s established legacy in a way that is “responsive to changing times.”

‘“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,” she said.

Brescia University College is a women’s university college with 1,200 women registered as full or part-time students, with programs ranging from behavioural and social sciences, to food and nutritional sciences, to the humanities. Top Stories

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