Our Campus in the 1960s


Welcome to our historical campus tour. 


As you step back in time to the early 1960s, you will witness the dramatic changes taking place as Laurentian University and its three federated partners - the University of Sudbury, Huntington University and Thorneloe University - embark simultaneously on construction projects to build the Sudbury campus.
You will also discover the curious spaces in downtown Sudbury, including a former funeral parlour and the floor above a pool hall, where classes were held temporarily while the four institutions were anxiously awaiting the opening of the new campus.




We will start with a visit to the University of Sudbury which acquired the status of a university in 1957, having been founded as a Jesuit college (Sacred Heart College) in 1913. The College was located on Notre Dame Avenue at Kathleen Street.


Notre Dame Avenue at Kathleen Street


Father Alphonse Raymond was the president of Sacred Heart College and became the first president of the University of Sudbury. His expansion plan included new programs and buildings at the new campus on Ramsey Lake Road.

While construction was underway, the University of Sudbury rented space on Elm Street in downtown Sudbury.


Father Ambrose

Construction of the new buildings began in 1963.


University of Sudbury, in the early 1960s. 


University of Sudbury, 1966.


Father Lucien Matte (1907-75) was a Jesuit priest who was appointed president of the University of Sudbury in 1962.


Lucien Matte Residence, August 1965. 

Lucien Matte

Construction of the University of Sudbury was completed by 1967.


University of Sudbury, 1967.

Sudbury Campus, 2010.





Laurentian University was established in 1960 as a secular institution through the combined efforts of the University of Sudbury and delegates of the United Church of Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada.
During construction of the new campus on Ramsey Lake Road, classes were held at various locations in downtown Sudbury including Larch Street, Elgin Street, Lisgar Street and Durham Street.


Official entrance of the Laurentian University downtown campus on the Empire Block on Elgin Street, 1960. 


Student lounge and Dean of students
DeMarco building, n.d.

Classrooms above Sudbury Billiards, n.d. 

During the fall of 1963, the new Arts and Humanities building began to take shape. The building was to house faculty offices, the Extension Division offices, language and psychology labs, seminar rooms, and the bookstore.


Arts and Humanities Building, August 2, 1963. 


Arts and Humanities Building, November 1963. 

The Arts and Humanities Building opened officially on October 8, 1964. In this photo, the Parker Building which housed the Library (hence the building code L) is barely visible.


Arts and Humanities Building, October 3, 1964. 

By the time Olympic swimming champion Alex Baumann is welcomed home 20 years later, the Parker Building has been expanded and trees have taken root. Mr. Baumann graduated from Laurentian University with a B.A. in political science in 1990.


Arts Building, September, 1984. 

As the greening of the campus continued, the buildings, once fully visible, became partially obscured.


The entrance to the Sudbury campus on Ramsey Lake Road, 1972. 


The entrance to the Sudbury campus on Ramsey Lake Road, 2013. 



Huntington University was established in 1960. Affiliated with the United Church of Canada, it was named after the Rev. Silas Huntington (1829-1905), a Methodist minister who established churches in Sudbury and across Northern Ontario.
Huntington University purchased the former Jackson and Barnard funeral parlour at 83 Larch Street and held classes there during the construction phase of the new campus.


Huntington University, 83 Larch Street, ca 1961. 

The J.W. Tate Library (1972) was named after Joseph Walter Tate, a founding member of the Board of Regents.
Lautenslager Hall opened in 1977 following a second construction phase. Also known as the Social Centre, it was named after the Rev. Dr. Earl S. Lautenslager, a minister of the United Church of Canada.


Huntington University during the later construction phase, n.d.

Rev. Dr. Earl S. Lautenslager
More recently, the Lougheed Teaching and Learning Centre of Excellence (2010) was named in honour of Marguerite and Gerry Lougheed Sr. in recognition of their contributions to the Sudbury community.


Thorneloe University was established in 1963. Affiliated with the Anglican Church of Canada, it was named after the Most Rev. Dr. George Thorneloe (1848-1935), who was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1875 and who served as Bishop of Algoma (1896-1927) and later as Metropolitan of Ontario.
Like Huntington University, Thorneloe University had a second construction phase during which an extension was added.


Thorneloe University, Building Extension: July 25, 1990. 

Rev. Dr. George Thorneloe




When the new campus on Ramsey Lake Road opened in 1964, the International Nickel Company of Canada Limited, which made the largest corporate donation to the University’s Founders’ Fund, declared that: “The new campus of Laurentian University will stand as a hopeful and permanent monument to the uniquely happy cooperation between churches, community and industry.”


Signing the Laurentian University Act of Incorporation, 1960. 
R.J. Boyer, J.-N. Desmarais, R.D. Parker, J.E. Fullerton, L.J. Côté, R. Béslisle, E. Bouvier, E.S. Lautenslager, Chief Justice Hon. Dana Porter, Administrator.

Industry support for the new university is reflected in the names of some of the buildings. These include:
The Parker, named after Ralph D. Parker, former senior vice-president of the International Nickel Company of Canada (INCO), who was the first Chair of the Board of Governors of Laurentian University (1960-65).
The Fraser, named after Horace J. Fraser, former president of Falconbridge Nickel Mines, who was the second Chair of the Board of Governors of Laurentian University (1965-69).
The Ben Avery, named after Benjamin F. Avery, vice-chair of the board of KVP Sutherland Paper in Espanola, who was a member of the executive of the Board of Governors of Laurentian University.




Huntington University Students in 1960. In the early years, male students outnumbered female students by 4 to 1. 

In the early years, the University of Sudbury, Huntington University and Thorneloe University were not eligible for full provincial funding due to their church affiliations. After much debate, a non-denominational University College was established at Laurentian University to house all of its departments and programs. Just two weeks prior to the start of classes in 1960, it was decided that the Arts, Science and Engineering programs developed at the University of Sudbury and the faculty teaching them would have to be transferred to Laurentian University in order to meet the funding eligibility requirements.
In September 1960, University College had 14 full-time students, Huntington University had 36 and the University of Sudbury had 135. Initially, only philosophy and religious studies would be taught at the three federated institutions. The funding regulations soon changed and by 1974, the federated Universities were fully funded and able to develop new programs. Today, students in the B.A. at Laurentian University may be taking courses at all four institutions without even realizing it.


University College Residence, 2014. 

In the 1960s, all four institutions referred to themselves as members of the Laurentian Federation which included University College, the University of Sudbury, Huntington University and Thorneloe University. However, as University College grew, the Laurentian University administration began to speak of Laurentian University and its three federated partners. The old name University College is no longer used today but has been preserved in the name of one of Laurentian University’s student residences.




Dr. John S. Daniel, president of Laurentian University (left), signs new affiliation agreement, Hearst, February 14, 1986. 

The University of Hearst has been affiliated with Laurentian University since 1963. Founded in 1953 as the Séminaire de Hearst, it became the Collège de Hearst in 1959, and then the Collège Universitaire de Hearst in 1972 at which time it ceased offering a high school program.  In May 2014, it became the Université de Hearst. Its curriculum is approved by Laurentian University’s Faculty of Arts Council.
In 1965, Algoma University College was established in Sault Ste. Marie. A year later, Nipissing University College was established in North Bay. Both commenced classes in 1967 and were affiliated with Laurentian University. New affiliation agreements were signed in 1986 but on December 10, 1992, Nipissing University became independent. The affiliation with Algoma University ended in 2008 when it also gained full university status.




In 1960, Laurentian University established an Extension Division for part-time students and distance education. In 1962-63, there were 414 students in evening courses in Sudbury, another 172 students in evening courses in North Bay, Parry Sound and Sturgeon Falls, 264 students in general culture courses and 368 students in summer courses. The same year, on-campus enrolments at Laurentian University stood at 272 full-time students. In a press release dated October 14, 1960, it was announced that courses in Economics and French would be broadcast by the local television station CKSO, a first in Canada. By the mid-1960s, courses were available by videotape. By 1966-67, 74 different courses were on offer to over 1000 students in eleven centres including Sudbury.


Anishinaabe workers, both men and women, attend an Extension course at a Catholic church in Garden Village, south of Sturgeon Falls, in March 1962.

By the mid-1970s, Extension courses were being delivered: 1) face-to-face in small towns and on reserves around the region; 2) off-campus by correspondence, audiotape, videotape or television; and 3) on-campus as evening or summer courses. While some were university credit courses, others were non-credit courses or adult education courses for students without a secondary school education. A number of faculty members travelled to various towns (Timmins, Elliot Lake, New Liskeard, Kirkland Lake, Englehart, Cobalt, Sturgeon Falls, Bracebridge and Parry Sound) every second weekend to teach three hour classes on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings.
In 1981, the 3-year B.A. in Religious Studies was offered for the first time by distance. In 1986, the distance education program was named Envision. By 1994, some 5,761 students had obtained a B.A. by distance. In Changing Lives: Women in Northern Ontario (eds. M. Kechnie and M. Reitsma-Street, Toronto/Oxford: Dundurn, 1996), Dr. Anne-Marie Mawhiney and Dr. Ross Paul noted the high participation rate of Aboriginal women in distance education courses.
Today, students may complete a 3-year B.A. by distance with a concentration in Gerontology, History, Indigenous Studies, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology or Women’s Studies. A 4-year B.A. in Indigenous Studies is also available. Courses are now run with a Learning Management System which allows for online discussion forums, the online submission of assignments and electronic grading.
In the early years, the course offerings were aimed primarily at adult learners. The courses on anti-communism and leadership training for miners created in 1958 by Alexandre Boudreau, a Jesuit professor of Economics hired by the University of Sudbury, were particularly popular during a time of tense struggles between Local 598 of the International Union of Mine Mill and Smelter Workers (IUMMSW), which represented 18,000 workers at INCO and Falconbridge nickel mines, and the United Steelworkers of America (UWSA), which had been granted jurisdictional rights to those workers by the Canadian Congress of Labour (CCL), following the expulsion of the IUMMSW from the CCL in 1949. In 1958, the strike led by Mine Mill was thought to be the work of communists. There were demands for reforms from within Mine Mill, ultimately leading to a membership vote in Sudbury from February 27 to March 2, 1962, which resulted in the creation of Steelworkers Local 6500 in November 1962.
Jesuit economics professor Alexandre Boudreau, who had previously established co-operatives for fishermen in the Maritimes, formed the Northern Workers’ Adult Education Association. In collaboration with the Steelworkers and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), he designed courses on anti-communism and leadership training for miners, geared towards workers without a secondary school education. Actively supported by the Roman Catholic Church, the courses were intended to help fight communist infiltrations, promote co-operatives, and equip workers to take on leadership roles, particularly in the campaign to win the membership vote for the Steelworkers at the expense of Mine Mill. At the time, the senior vice-president of the International Nickel Company of Canada (INCO) was Ralph D. Parker, Chair of the Board of Governors at Laurentian University
Classes were held in Catholic churches across the region. An article appeared in the Sudbury Star on March 14, 1962 regarding a course for Anishinaabe workers, held at a church in Garden Village, south of Sturgeon Falls: “Guest lecturers are on hand each week to give information on such subjects as leadership qualities, use of leisure time, Indian culture, communism, current events in Africa, co-operatives, and primary education for Indian children. [...] A very interesting program of colored slides and movies was presented by Father McKey showing his tour through Canada and northern United States visiting Indian schools and churches.”




Université canadienne en France, Gazette, March 13, 1992
From 1987 to 1996, the Université canadienne en France (UCF) offered a one-year program in Villefranche-sur-Mer, France for as many as 200 Canadian students, primarily from anglophone universities. Initiated by Laurentian President Dr. John S. Daniel who had studied in Oxford and Paris, and Sam Blyth of Blyth and Company, a Toronto-based student travel firm, the program was coordinated by Dr. Douglas Parker, English professor and former Dean of Humanities, from 1987 to 1992, and then by Dr. K. Walter Schwager, Sociology professor
and former Dean of Social Sciences, from 1992 to 1996. Consisting mainly of second-year Humanities (Literature, Music, History, Classical Studies) and language courses, the program was intended “to equip future leaders in different areas of Canadian life with bilingual competency and understanding”. Students from Ontario universities were able to receive transfer credits and paid the same tuition fees as students at Laurentian University in Sudbury. The program was terminated in 1996 for financial reasons.


Dr. Douglas Parker

Dr. K. Walter Schwager




The first Laurentian University courses in Arts were offered in Barrie after Laurentian President Jean R. Watters (1998-2001), founding president of Collège Boréal, signed a partnership agreement with Georgian College to offer joint B.A and B.Com. degrees. Barrie programs in English, History, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology offered through Georgian College’s University Partnership Centre were administered by Dr. Donald Dennie (2001-06), Dr. Susan Silverton (2006-07), Dr. Thomas Gerry (2008-10) and Dr. Bernadette Schell (2010-14).


University Partnership Centre, Georgian College - Barrie 

In 2008-09, the first Arts faculty members in Barrie to receive tenure-track appointments were Dr. Adam Sol, English, Dr. Daniel Byers, History, Dr. Todd Webb, History, Dr. Michael Johns, Political Science, Dr. Chantal Arpin-Cribbie, Psychology, and Dr. Marianne Vardalos, Sociology.
In 2013-14, there were 13 full-time Arts faculty members in Barrie serving some 489 students (395 full-time equivalents). Laurentian University faculty offices were located in a strip mall at 130 Bell Farm Road.


Faculty Offices - 130 Bell Farm Road, Barrie, ON. 




In the Fall of 2014, the Arts Building in Sudbury reached its 50th birthday. The building was repainted and the seminar rooms refurbished in 2015. In January 2016, the Classroom Building re-opened with updated classrooms and teaching technology.