Our History

skaters on ice outside Cody Hall

1857 The University of Windsor traces its roots to the establishment in September 1857 of Assumption College, which, by 1919, had become one of the largest colleges affiliated with the University of Western Ontario.  

1950s A pivotal moment occurred in 1950 when Assumption College embraced inclusivity by admitting its first women students. It gained independence from the University of Western Ontario in 1953.

Between 1954 and 1956, the institution underwent transformative changes, attaining full membership in academic associations and adopting the name Assumption University, incorporating the non-denominational Essex College.

1960s – 1970s The University of Windsor was officially incorporated on December 19, 1962, and by July 1, 1963, became southwestern Ontario’s first autonomous degree-granting institution, affiliated with Canterbury, Iona, and Holy Redeemer colleges.

Under President Dr. J. Francis Leddy (1964-1977), the university experienced explosive growth, achieving full membership in the International Association of Universities by 1964, with the student population growing from 1,500 to 8,000 by 1977. 

1980s – 1990s The 1980s and early 1990s, under President Ron Ianni, marked significant growth, including the construction of notable buildings like the Odette Building and the CAW Student Centre.  

2000s In 2003, record enrolment led to a $50 million investment in new facilities under President Ross Paul including the Alumni Hall student residence, the Anthony P. Toldo Health Education Centre, the Jackman Dramatic Art Centre, and upgrades to classrooms and labs. 

President Alan Wildeman oversaw the 2012 opening of the Medical Education Building to house a satellite medical school, and the university expanded into Windsor’s downtown core in 2011, repurposing for academic use such historic sites as the former Armouries and Windsor Star newspaper buildings.

In 2012, the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation became the Faculty of Engineering’s new home, boasting extensive teaching and research labs.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013, the University of Windsor reflected on its evolution as a dynamic public institution.

In 2019, the Essex CORe opened, a state-of-the-art research facility for Biology, and Materials Chemistry, Health, and Medical Physics. 

2020s In 2022, the University extended its downtown presence by acquiring 300 Ouellette Ave. for the School of Computer Science Master of Applied Computing program.

The University further extended its community presence with the redevelopment of the Toldo Lancer Centre. This versatile facility now serves as the hub for recreational services, intercollegiate sports, and varsity teams, providing a modern space.

Today, the 51-hectare campus offers 140+ programs, serving over 16,000 students. The institution provides nine cooperative education programs benefiting 1,100 students and boasts a global network with more than 135,000 proud University of Windsor alumni.