It is my great pleasure to introduce this President's Report for the special anniversary year of 2003. In 1878, 125 years ago, Bishop Isaac Hellmuth of Huron College was granted a charter for "The Western University of London Ontario." From a small, borrowed schoolhouse in downtown London, Western has grown to be one of Canada's major research universities. Today, we are an academic community of more than 32,000 students, nearly 3,150 full-time faculty and staff, and approximately 200,000 alumni worldwide. In teaching and scholarship, we are among this country's leaders.
Developing as a major university in a global context, Western has also worked to preserve and strengthen our local and regional roots. Our relationship with the City of London is a true partnership, and the celebration of our 125th Anniversary also honours those Londoners who saw Western's promise in those early years and invested so much to make it a reality. Looking forward, we see an increasing role for our University in our country and internationally as we expand the influence of our scholarship in the worlds of health care, social policy, culture, commerce, media and the arts. Western graduates will continue to be leaders in learning, in the corporate, public, and academic sectors and in their individual communities.
Western has become a destination of choice for the best young students in Ontario and throughout Canada. Over the decade ending in 2002, first-choice applications to Ontario universities increased by 16 per cent, while Western's jumped by 56 per cent. Each year over the last decade, the average marks of our entering first-year class have climbed and this year stand at just over 86 per cent. With our affiliates, Brescia University College, Huron University College and King's College, we have done our part to meet the challenges of the "double cohort" resulting from the elimination of Ontario Grade 13: this fall, we admitted nearly 6,625 first-year students. The University Senate has just put in place a full revision of our undergraduate curriculum, allowing our students more flexibility in choosing courses and programs while building on our tremendous academic strengths across the disciplines.
Our longer-range plans call for a stabilization of Western's undergraduate population and a concentration of growth in graduate programs, where we have capacity and outstanding quality. A Task Force of the Council of Ontario Universities, which I chaired, has recently released a report calling for the number of graduate student places to double in the province over the next decade. This expansion is needed to provide the professoriate of the future and to give our province and our country the educated professionals needed to be leaders in our knowledge society.
As a result of new Federal and Provincial initiatives, research funding has created a wealth of opportunities for faculty members who aspire to international leadership in research across the disciplines. At Western, funded research totals over $150 million a year, and we expect this to grow. During the current academic year, we hope to appoint 100 new full-time faculty. We are already more than halfway there, and half of these new appointments have gone to women. Western's professors, as well as our staff and students, will determine our stature among universities, and we have succeeded in recruiting the very best. Our alumni, building on their student experience, will maintain their Western commitment, contributing in recruiting their successors, finding employment opportunities for graduates, and actively supporting the objectives of the University.
In teaching, research, and all realms of scholarship and campus life, Western has sought to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of Bishop Hellmuth and his visionary colleagues of 125 years ago. Through the dedication of thousands of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the University, we have built an institution which is a credit to their memories.
- McMullan wins $3 million
- School of hard rocks
- Changing the community with a bit of class
- The Coca-Cola kid
- Will to win
- $270 million and still going
- Western's day care centre partners with YMCA