University description (as per official university website)
One of Canada's most innovative universities, Concordia values inter-disciplinary approaches to learning, and is dedicated to offering the best possible scholarship, research and training. You can learn about our leading-edge teaching and research, our inspired students and our close links to the community in the Telling our stories section.
Concordia boasts a diverse student body of almost 44,000 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students from more than 150 countries, studying in over 500 programs. For a snapshot of Concordia in figures, see the Fast facts page.
Concordia's reputation as one of Canada's most dynamic and innovative universities has its roots in over 180 years of pursuing academic excellence and student success. This tradition of individual empowerment, discovery and leadership building was developed by the University's founding institutions - Loyola College and Sir George Williams University - and continues to flourish locally, nationally and on the global stage.
Concordia University has been in existence since 1974, but its two founding institutions — Loyola College and Sir George Williams University — have a considerably longer history.
The name of the university comes from the motto of the City of Montreal, “Concordia Salus,” which means “well-being through harmony.”
In 1968, in the wake of the Parent Commission Report, the Quebec government asked Loyola and Sir George Williams to consider some form of union. Negotiations began in 1969 and continued on and off over the next four years.
While a number of possible models were considered, including that of a loose federation, the solution finally adopted was that of an integrated institution, Concordia University, operating under the existing Sir George Williams charter. The legal existence of Concordia dates from August 24, 1974.
The new university started with five Faculties: a merged Faculty of Commerce (now the John Molson School of Business), a merged Faculty of Engineering (now the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science), a Sir George Williams Faculty of Arts, a SGW Faculty of Science, and a Loyola Faculty of Arts and Science.
It was understood that the Arts and Science operations would eventually be brought together. The first phase of the centralization of Arts and Science took place in 1977, and the present Faculty of Arts and Science, under a single dean, was formed in 1985. The Faculty of Fine Arts was created in 1976.
Concordia’s five colleges in the Faculty of Arts and Science (Liberal Arts College, Loyola International College, School of Community and Public Affairs, Science College, and Simone de Beauvoir Institute) were founded to give students a unique interdisciplinary experience.
The popular Institute for Co-operative Education, which arranges work terms for students in certain disciplines, was established in 1980.
In the late 1980s, Loyola’s Vanier Library expanded. In 1992, a new home for the downtown library was completed in the J.W. McConnell Building, and the Norris Building was finally closed. (Visit the Concordia Libraries website.)
That same year, the School of Graduate Studies replaced the Division of Graduate Studies in an effort to expand post-graduate studies.
Not all events in the university's history have been positive. The most painful period came in August 1992, when an unstable professor opened fire on his colleagues, killing four and wounding a member of the support staff.
After the shootings, many Concordians worked closely with the Coalition for Gun Control, starting a petition advocating the prohibition of handguns in Canada. Eventually, a law was passed by Parliament. A memorial of four granite tables was installed in the lobby of the Hall Building in 1997 to commemorate the loss.
By 1998, the university was ready to move on from this incident and to expand. The groundwork was laid for the development of new university buildings to accommodate growing enrolment. Among other developments, the Richard J. Renaud Science Complex opened at Loyola in August 2003, the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex opened on the Sir George Williams campus in September 2005, and the new John Molson School of Business building is scheduled to open in September 2009.