Peterborough is very proud of its university located in the north end of the City of Peterborough on the Otonabee River. Community leaders dreamed of a university in the early 1960s and with the leadership of Professor Tom Symons and generous community support and land donations in the Nassau Mills area from General Electric, Trent university started in 1963 and officially opened in 1964 with downtown facilities. Trent began as a small liberal arts school which featured small group teaching and a tutorial system with a residential college system. For the first decade everybody knew everybody else and there was much interaction between “Town and Gown” with activities in the city which housed two of the university’s colleges, Peter Robinson College for male students (now closed) and Catherine Parr Traill College for female students (now the home of graduate studies). The administration was located in Rubidge Hall in town in the early days and now is located on the Nassau Mills campus in the still beautiful Bata library on the west bank of the river. Trent now has more diverse programs and the science area has grown greatly with new buildings on the east bank. Champlain College opened for male students in 1967 and Lady Eaton College for female students opened in 1968. The two colleges and the library were the centrepieces of the brilliant campus architecture of Ronald Thom, which integrated nature with university buildings, in harmony. Within a few years society had changed and the gender divisions were removed from the colleges. The campus added co-ed Otonabee College in 1972 and Peter Gzowski College in 2003. The college system was and still is a major part of the Trent system and values. There is now a student residence across the road from the west bank campus and it is not associated with a College.
With over 8,000 full time students Trent is now a medium sized university with 50 years of loyal alumni. Trent has become a leading institution for Canadian studies, environment, indigenous studies and even has a nursing programme. Trent has changed with the times but retains the values and vision of its founding president Tom Symons pictured below then and now:
Trent has big plans for the coming year with 50th Anniversary celebrations and hopes to involve many people in reunions and commemorative events. There is an Alumni Reunion Weekend in early August featuring a Blue Rodeo concert and many other activities. On October 17 there will be a Gala Dinner and a Parade on October 18th. For other events and more specific information visit the university website: Trentu.ca