Concordia University

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Motto: Real education for the real world
Founded 1974, with the merger of two institutions, Loyola College (1896) and Sir George Williams University (1926)
School type Public
President Frederick Lowy
Location Montreal, Quebec
Enrollment 25,417 undergrad, 4,444 grad
Campus surroundings Urban
Campus size 40 acres (160,000 m²) Loyola Campus
Sports teams Stingers
Mascot Buzz

Concordia University's downtown (Sir George Williams) campus: the Hall building (at left) and the library.

This article is about Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. For other universities named Concordia, see Concordia.

Concordia University is a large urban university in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The university has two campuses, set approximately 7 km apart: Sir George Williams Campus is in the downtown core of Montreal (at Guy-Concordia metro station), and Loyola Campus is in the residential west-end district of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. They are connected by free shuttle-bus service for students, faculty and staff. Concordia is one of Montreal's two universities that teach in English (the other being McGill University). Unlike McGill, Concordia is officially bilingual.



The university traces its academic roots back to the early 20th century, with the development of the Jesuit-run Loyola College and the YMCA-based Sir George Williams University.

Sir George Williams University

The Montreal YMCA was established in 1851. From its early years, it offered evening classes to allow working people in the English-speaking community to pursue their education while working during the day. Concordia has continued this tradition by offering many night classes during the traditional fall and winter semesters, as well as the summer sessions. In 1926, the education program was organized as Sir George Williams College, named after George Williams, founder of the YMCA. It received a university charter from the provincial government in 1948. The first SGWU building was built in 1956, although the university continued to hold classes in the YMCA building until the construction of the Hall Building in 1966. The university gained international attention in 1969, when a group of students occupied the computer lab (see Sir George Williams Computer Riot).

Loyola College

Loyola College was founded in 1896 as an English-language program of the Jesuit Collège Sainte-Marie (since merged into UQAM). It was originally located at the Sacred Heart Convent in downtown Montreal. The college moved into the present west-end campus in 1916. Although founded as a collège classique (the forerunners of Quebec's CEGEPs), Loyola began granting university degrees through Laval University as early as 1906. By 1940, collège classique programs were gone and Loyola became a four-year university, although it never obtained its own charter, granting its degrees through Laval or, after 1920, the Université de Montréal.

Concordia University

The merger of Loyola and SGWU was recommended in 1969 by a Royal Commission, as part of the secularisation of Quebec's educational system (see Quiet Revolution). The two schools were merged in 1974 under the name of Concordia University, taking the name from the motto of the city of Montreal, Concordia salus (meaning 'well-being through harmony'). [1] (


Concordia has more than 180 undergraduate programs, divided into four Faculties: Arts and Science, Engineering and Computer Science, Fine Arts, and the John Molson School of Business. Students are enrolled in one of these Faculties, but they may take courses from any of the others as part of their studies. Many programs also offer a 'co-operative' component, whereby students get work experience while they study.

In addition, the School of Graduate Studies offers more than 70 programs leading to Master's and doctoral degrees, as well as a variety of graduate diplomas and certificates for professionals seeking to upgrade their knowledge and skills.

Students enter the university in September, or, in some cases, in January or May. An undergraduate degree normally takes three or four years to complete, a Master's takes from a year and a half (three semesters) to three, and a Ph.D. is at least four years long. Certificates and diplomas usually take no longer than a year and a half to complete.

The student body is extremely varied and represents an ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural cross section that could be said to be even more pluralistic than the country or even the city itself.

Student Activism

Although student activism could be said to be a natural part of campus life, Concordia has been known to be home to some very politically active students, several of whom are not unknown both in local and national media. Several recurring causes include highlighting the plight of the poverty-stricken, cruelty to anumals and the like.

While protesting and fiery debate are considered a staple of college life, heavy politicization of the Arab-Israeli conflict on campus has caused certain student groups to step up their political militancy.

Given that universities are often places of promotion and dissemination of liberal (and, in the extreme, anti-establishment) ideas, and that Concordia hosts a large representation of students from Middle Eastern countries, the campus has itself recently been the scene of sporadic skirmishes, protests, or, more infrequently, highly polarized riots. Although "information tables" are set up by virtually all student associations throughout a semester, much of the more significant political activism hails from pro-Palestinian groups on campus, though these are generally in the form of expositions held in open public areas on campus.

The Hall building (Sir George Williams campus) was shut down on September 9th, 2002 in response to a massive protest by pro-Palestinian students opposed to an exclusive, visit by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The protest itself lasted several hours and resulted in the breaking of several windows of the main building. Sadly, much was made of the very apparent "violent rioting", while little attention was paid to the fact that a only a small and very select number of pro-Netanyahu supporters were ever approved by organizers to attend the speech that was to be given in the University's main Lecture Hall. Several repeated warnings to the effect that campus security would be unable to guarantee the safety of the premises if Netanyahu to speak at such a politically charged time went unheeded. The protest itself caused Netanyahu to cancel his appearance at Concordia in favor of a smaller, more friendly venue. The principal outcome of the September 9th protest was an immediate ban on any Middle Eastern related cultural activity (which was later lifted).

Anti-Netanyahu groups were ecstatic at having prevented him from speaking, as in their view his abusive actions as an Israeli politician vis-a-vis the Palestinians as well as his less than moderate views on Palestinian statehood were unwelcome on campus. For its part, the Pro-Netanyahu camp, which included the group that had coordinated the visit, deliberately staged the entire event in a highly unfriendly venue at such a volatile time as a move to demonstrate how it was impossible for pro-Palestinian elements on campus to tolerate a visit by an Israeli political figure, and was equally overjoyed at proving its own point. The vast majority of students, however, saw the entire event as a propaganda coup benefiting only the two opposing sides and inconveniencing those who would rather see such debates occur away from campus.

Fabrikant Affair

August 24, 1992 was a sad chapter in Concordia's history: Valery Fabrikant, a Mechanical Engineering professor, shot five colleagues on the ninth floor of the Hall Building.

Civil Engineering professor Matthew McCartney Douglass, Chemistry professor Michael Gorden Hogben and Mechanical Engineering Professor Aaron Jaan Saber died that day while Electrical and Computer Engineering Chair Phoivos Ziogas passed on a month later. Mechanical Engineering secretary Elizabeth Horwood recovered from her injuries.

Fabrikant was convicted for the murders. A memorial to the slain professors was erected in the Hall Building lobby.


Concordia University's athletic teams are called the Concordia Stingers. They compete with other schools in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, and, more specifically, in the Quebec Student Sport Federation and the Quebec Interuniversity Football Conference. The university has ten varsity teams. In the fall, teams compete in football, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's rugby football and sport wrestling. There are female and male wrestlers on the team from year to year, however they compete as one team. In the winter, teams compete in men's and women's ice hockey and men's and women's basketball. There is also a baseball team, which competes at the club level against other schools in Quebec, but the baseball team receives no money from the university.

The school last won a national championship in 1999, when the women's hockey team beat the University of Alberta in the final game of the season.

Noted alumni

Sir George Williams



See also

External link

Template:Qc Unifr:Université Concordia


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