Source: University of Waterloo
UW and Stratford explore possibility of liberal arts campus
October 17, 2006
(Tuesday, October 17, 2006) -- The University of Waterloo, the City of
Stratford and the Stratford Festival of Canada are taking the first steps
toward opening a liberal arts college.
The three parties are signing a memorandum of agreement to explore the
possibility. UW's senate was briefed on the project late yesterday afternoon
and Stratford City Council approved the agreement at a special council
meeting held at the same time.
The bulk of the details, including the programs offered and number of
students, have yet to be determined. The parties envision the satellite
campus would operate as a liberal arts college, offering co-op and regular
programs in as-yet-to-be-determined academic and professional fields.
They will explore opportunities to acquire land in Stratford and to secure
capital for construction; investigate options to fund and mount academic
programs on the satellite campus; and draft a business plan within six
"We envision a number of exciting possibilities for this project, and look
forward to working with the City of Stratford and the Stratford Festival to
develop a campus that fits with this wonderful community," says UW president
David Johnston. "My own vision includes an international student body
attracted by a unique liberal arts curriculum with its roots in culture."
Work on the agreement began in May during the Southwest Economic Assembly,
when Stratford mayor Dan Mathieson approached Johnston about exploring the
possibility of a UW presence within Stratford. The city, as part of its
economic development plans, wishes to partner with a post-secondary
institution and assist in creating a satellite campus.
"We need to diversify our economic development portfolio in Stratford," says
Mathieson. "With an aging population, we need to attract and retain young,
great minds. A liberal arts college would be a wonderful addition in a city
where culture is an important part of our economic mix."
In early June, UW provost Amit Chakma and Antoni Cimolino, then executive
director (now general director) of the Stratford Festival, joined Mathieson
and Johnston to discuss possibilities and options.
"The Stratford Festival and the University of Waterloo have a long history
of collaboration over the nearly 50 years we have been neighbours," says
Cimolino. "Both our festival and the university aspire to excellence, and
both enrich the lives of those who live in Southern Ontario. I look forward
to our discussions about how we can work together to further and enhance our
Ken Coates, UW's new dean of arts, was brought in to explore what kind of
liberal arts course offerings might complement and enhance the university's
current strengths on a distinct Stratford campus. In the 1990s, Coates was
founding vice-president academic of the University of Northern British
Columbia, the first university built from the ground up in Canada since the
1970s. He will continue to explore the options for Stratford and, following
this announcement, begin wider consultation.