Western University is dedicated to the advancement of learning through teaching and research and to the discovery and application of knowledge. The University seeks to provide an environment of free and creative inquiry within which critical thinking, humane values, and practical skills are cultivated and sustained. By pursuing these objectives, the University endeavours to serve the interests of society.
This Statement of Mission was formally articulated in 1995. It has been the governing principle of the University since its establishment almost 122 years ago, however, and will continue to frame the focus of Western's activities in the future.
Originally called "The Western University of London, Ontario", the University received its charter from the province in 1878. The first students graduated in Arts and in Medicine in 1883. In 1923, the province recognized the University's growing regional importance and formally changed its name to "The University of Western Ontario".
Western graduates bear for all time the mark of their association with Western: at Convocation, the Chancellor "admitted" them to the University, and they received what the University has been, currently is, and hopes to be. In their relationship to Western, they constitute Western's heritage and repository of knowledge; in their relationship to the community, they reflect Western's continuing commitment to benefit society provincially, nationally, and internationally. Such fields as medicine, geography, business, engineering, sport, and the arts have been immeasurably enriched by Western's graduates. There is no doubt that future graduates will follow their forebears' example.
Western is now a long-established academic community. The University currently consists of twelve faculties and professional schools that offer more than forty degrees, diplomas, and certificates to over 26,000 students. Over 200 different individual and combined 3-year and 4-year degree programs are offered, ranging from classical studies to physics, sociology to environmental studies. Together with 3,000 faculty and staff, our students enjoy a diversified academic and social life on a campus that is one of the most picturesque in North America.
In its size, cohesiveness and diversity, Western embodies many of the best features of both a small town and a cosmopolitan city. There are 86 buildings on campus, which house lecture rooms, laboratories, libraries, theatres, research centres, residences, colleges, restaurants, pubs, a concert hall, an art gallery, and numerous recreational facilities. These buildings form the physical framework in which students from across Canada and abroad experience the Western community's stimulating balance of social and intellectual life.
If the buildings form Western's physical "body", however, our faculty and students constitute its "neural network". Our faculty have earned national and international respect for excellence across the full spectrum of the sciences, the arts, the social sciences, and the professions. Over 2,000 research projects are currently in progress at Western. Many of them involve and foster the talents and skills of our students. All of them enrich the quality of teaching at an institution that has already won a world-wide reputation for outstanding scholarship and teaching.
Yet Western's "community" extends far beyond the campus. In addition to offering degree-credit courses on campus during three spring/summer sessions, the University offers an extensive selection of Distance Studies in the spring/summer and fall/winter sessions which free students from the demands of attending classes at specific times and places. At selected sites, audiographic teleconference creates an "extended" classroom by linking students from other sites and an instructor on campus. In addition, a variety of Diploma and Certificate programs are offered in all sessions. At the Trois-Pistoles French Immersion School in Quebec, an important element of Western's extended community, a number of degree-credit courses are offered during two sessions in the spring and summer.
At Western, you will join an academic community that comprises graduates, current students (full-time and part-time), and faculty. You will help to unite the past, present, and future by preserving and extending the frontiers of knowledge, maintaining and promoting the benefits of education to society. In short, you will become part of the grand continuum of educational, cultural, and social progress that informs our civilization.