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Trinity Western University

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Trinity Western University

Trinity Western University
Motto Latin: Turris Fortis Deus Noster
Motto in English A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
Established 1962 Trinity Junior College (1962–1972), Trinity Western College (1972–1985), Trinity Western University (1986–present)
Type Private
Religious affiliation Christian
Endowment $10.6 million[1]
President Bob Kuhn
Provost W. Robert Wood
Students 4000[2]
Undergraduates 1900[2]
Location Langley, British Columbia, Canada
Campus 157-acre (64 ha)
Suburban Rural
Colours      gold &      blue
Athletics CIS, CWUAA
Nickname Spartans
Affiliations AUCC, ATS, CUP, CHEC, CCCU, RSC, BCEQA.[3]
Website .catwu

Trinity Western University (TWU) is a private Christian liberal arts university in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

Founded in 1962, it enrolls approximately 3,500[2] students and sits on a rural 157-acre (64 ha) campus near the historic village of Fort Langley, British Columbia. Trinity Western is Canada's largest privately funded Christian university. It has a broad-based liberal arts, sciences, and professional studies curriculum, offering 45 undergraduate majors and 16 graduate and post-graduate programs.[2] It has received an A+ rating in The Globe and Mail for its quality of education every year since 2005 and has a student to faculty ratio of 11:1 with an average class size of 16.[4]

Trinity Western is a member of the Royal Society of Canada.[5] Its varsity teams, known as the Spartans, are members of Canadian Interuniversity Sport.[6] It is the most expensive university in Canada for both Canadian and foreign students.[7]


Trinity Western University traces its history back to 1957, when a committee was established by the Evangelical Free Church of America to study and consider the feasibility of a liberal arts college on North America's Pacific Coast. The committee settled on a location between Vancouver and Seattle in rural British Columbia, in what is today the Township of Langley. In 1962 Trinity Junior College began as a two-year college. In 1972, its name was changed to Trinity Western College. After 20 years as a university transfer college, Trinity Western began awarding baccalaureate degrees in 1980. In 1985 the British Columbia Provincial Government legislated the institution to its current position as a privately funded Christian university and it became known as Trinity Western University.[8]

Trinity Western University's motto is Turris Fortis Deus Noster. The Latin motto is translated as "A Mighty Fortress is Our God".[9] The university's colours are gold and blue.


Trinity Western University is an independent, privately supported institution of higher education. Since its founding in 1962, it has identified as a Christian institution, although it has always been governed independently from any church or religious organization, and is currently administered by a 14-member Board of Governors, to which the President reports.[10] Jonathan Raymond was named the university's third president in 2006.[11] It is the third-oldest university in the province of B.C. after Emily Carr and UBC.[12]

Undergraduates fulfill general education requirements, choose among a wide variety of elective courses, and pursue departmental concentrations and interdisciplinary certificate programs. Students usually take classes through the university's semester system, with three semesters taking place each year. The fall semester lasts from September to December, and the spring semester from January to April. For students wishing to take classes over summer, the university offers several courses on campus as well as travel studies through its summer semester programming, which runs from May to August.

Graduate students take courses through the Faculty of Graduate Studies and ACTS Seminaries. Masters degree programs are available in the humanities, education, linguistics, psychology, business, nursing, and theology.

The university hosts a number of research institutes and centres, including the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute, Gender Studies Institute, Religion, Culture and Conflict Research Group, Septuagint Institute, Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Centre for Spiritual Formation in Higher Education, and the Religion in Canada Institute.[13]

Trinity Western's students are from all 10 provinces, 37 U.S. states, and 33 foreign countries. The student body is 72% Canadian, 12% American, with 13% of students being from abroad.[2] The university employs a faculty of over 300 instructors and professors, enabling a student to faculty ratio of 11:1, and an average class size of 25.[2] Over 85% of Trinity Western's professors have doctorates.[14]

Trinity Western University is accredited by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.[15] Trinity Western University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Tuition for the 2011-12 academic year was $21,450 CDN. Roughly 95% of Trinity Western's incoming and transfer students receive some financial aid in the form of scholarships or grants not including loans.[16] International students pay the same fees as Canadian students.

Trinity Western University is a member of the [17][18]


Undergraduate courses in the humanities are traditionally either seminars or lectures held one- or two-times a week with an additional discussion seminar that is called a "discussion group". To graduate, all students must complete a liberal arts core curriculum known as the "university core", a distribution of requirements with a total of 18 classes. Students have a high degree of latitude in creating a self-structured core. Most of the Core classes at Trinity Western contain no more than 25 students, and are generally led by a full-time professor (as opposed to a teaching assistant).

McMillan Lake

Students complete a two-semester English language requirement, along with courses from the fine arts, natural sciences, philosophy, history, sociology, and religious studies departments, two courses of interdisciplinary studies, and up to three physical education courses.

In addition to the Core, students are required to complete an academic major. Trinity Western University grants bachelor's degrees in 45 academic majors, and minors, concentrations, or certificates from 56 programs, with over 1,200 courses from which to choose.[2][19] Students may choose courses from any of the university's faculties or schools:

  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences
  • School of the Arts, Media + Culture
  • School of Business
  • School of Human Kinetics
  • School of Education
  • School of Nursing
  • Redeemer Pacific College, Trinity Western's constituent Roman Catholic college

Aside from taking courses on Trinity Western's main campus, students may take part in travel studies and exchange programs at partner institutions or universities across the globe. Students are also free to design their own courses with the support of a faculty member or member of the administration.

Undergraduate degrees awarded by Trinity Western University include the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Education, and Bachelor of Human Kinetics. There is also a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering transfer program in collaboration with the University of British Columbia's engineering department.[20] Honours programs are available in a number of majors.

International Programs

Trinity Western's international programs offer students the ability to study all over the world for a semester, a full year, or for few weeks during the summer.[21]

The School of Kinesiology has sponsored summer travel studies programs at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games in Beijing and in London, respectively, the School of Art, Media + Culture sponsors a summer program in Paris and London, and the School of Business sponsors a summer program in Ottawa and Quebec City.[21] Various other summer programs are offered such as Coral Reef Biology in Hawaii and Johannine literature in Turkey.

Additionally, the university offers 15 semester-long programs which take place during the Fall and Spring terms. Sponsored programs include religious studies in Jerusalem, filmmaking and film studies in Los Angeles, India studies in Tamil Nadu, Latin American studies in San Jose, and American Studies in Washington, D.C. Programs on every inhabited continent are offered.[22]

Trinity Western's research and exchange partnership with the University of Oxford enables qualifying students to study as a visiting student at Oxford for either a semester or a year.[23] Exchange programs at Spain's University of Salamanca and China's Xiamen University are also available to students.[24] Students may also make their own arrangements with the help of a faculty member to study at other universities in Canada or abroad as visiting students.

Laurentian Leadership Centre

The Laurentian Leadership Centre certificate program housed in Ottawa's Booth House, a National Historic Site of Canada, offers the opportunity for third- and fourth-year students to complete a fully credited semester of study while working at a semester-long Parliamentary, political, business, media, or NGO internship in the national capital. Internship placements have included the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Conservative, Liberal, and New Democratic parties, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Royal Bank's Capital Markets division, CIDA, World Vision, and CPAC. The program is also available to visiting students of other universities.

OMADA Teambuilding

OMADA Teambuilding is a leadership and team building program housed in the School of Human Kinetics. The program uses challenge course, in 2009 the Challenge Course was renamed OMADA Teambuilding to better represent the diversity of the programs that were being offered.[25]


Although it is an undergraduate-focused university, Trinity Western offers 17 programs of graduate studies through its Faculty of Graduate Studies. Graduate programs are offered in non-profit specialization.[26] Trinity Western also hosts the ACTS Seminaries, a group of seminaries founded when several Christian denominations partnered to establish an institution that would train men and women in the study of theology and for positions as ministers.[27]

The Faculty of Graduate Studies awards the following degrees: Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Counseling, Master of Studies, Master of Applied Linguistics, Master of TESOL, Master of Theology, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Divinity, and Doctor of Ministry.

Faculty of Law

In July 2012, the University submitted a proposal to offer a Juris Doctor program.[28] The proposal was put forth to the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. In December 2013, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada approved the proposal, as did the BC Ministry of Advanced Education.[29][30] The proposed faculty was also approved by most of the provincial law societies across Canada, except Ontario's Law Society of Upper Canada and the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society. On June 11, 2014, 3,210 of the BC Law Society's 13,000 members voted in support of a resolution to reverse its decision to grant the faculty accreditation and requested that the province revoke its accreditation of the law program because of the view that it discriminates against unmarried couples and homosexual individuals. 968 members voted against with 8,822 not registering a vote.[31] On September 26, 2014 the governing members of the Law Society decided to hold a binding referendum of their membership to determine whether to revoke Trinity Western's accreditation.[32]

The impact of the withholding of accreditation by some provincial law societies in light of the National Mobility Agreement is, as yet, unknown. There are currently lawsuits concerning the proposed faculty of law pending in three provinces.[33]

Christian character

The university was founded by a committee commissioned by the Evangelical Free Church of America to establish a Christian liberal arts college. As such, the committee's mission has shaped the campus and the university. Trinity Western University has maintained extremely close ties with the broader Christian church, and historically has had close relationships with the Evangelical and Mainline Protestant denominations, as well as with the Mennonite tradition recently. This has also resulted in the university having a significant American influence when compared with other Canadian universities.[34] More than one out of every six students is American.[2]

While religious affiliation is not a criterion for admission, approximately 80% of undergraduates enrolled self-identify as Christian. Denominations and traditions with significant representation in the makeup of the university include the Evangelical, mainline Protestant, Mennonite, Chaplain in residence. In the morning on every weekday there is Chapel, at which attendance is voluntary, and communion is offered each Friday. Within the university Core, students are required four terms of Religious Studies. One term is allotted to a Survey of the Old Testament, and one to a Survey of the New Testament. Another term must be a class in Religious and Cultural studies.

Northwest Building - School of Business

Redeemer Pacific College, the university's constituent Roman Catholic college, is also on campus.[35] RPC is administered separately of the university, offers classes in Catholic studies and a liberal arts curriculum is taught by a Catholic faculty.[36] Mass is also offered four times weekly.[37]

Professors of the university are also meant to uphold Christian principles of love and ethics in their dealings, teaching, and research. As such, professors sign a statement of faith before being invited on staff. This policy has caused some controversy within academic circles, and was most recently covered in Maclean's.[38] Professors come from varying faith backgrounds. As in line with the students, a mixture of Christian traditions are represented. Orthodox and Hebrew professors are also on staff.

Students are also expected to abide by traditional Christian principles in their dealings with the university and with other students. Behaviour such as hazing, verbal and physical harassment, dishonesty including plagiarism, theft or destruction of another's property, the use of illegal drugs, consuming alcohol on campus as well as drunkenness, and sexual relationships outside of a marriage between a woman and a man are all defined as inappropriate behaviour by the university's Community Covenant and grounds for disciplinary action.[39]

Insignia and Symbols

Trinity Western’s motto is Turris Fortis Deus Noster. The Latin motto is translated as "A Mighty Fortress is Our God". The inspiration for the motto came from a hymn of the same name written by Martin Luther. It is one of his most famous hymns.

The Coat of Arms of Trinity Western University depicts an Azure shield enshrined with an Or Trinity Cross and an Or B.C. sun. Surrounding the shield are a Pioneer holding a rifle and an Aboriginal Chief wearing a headdress and carrying a talking stick, both of the mid 19th century. The two are standing with the shield on a field of Pacific Dogwoods, the provincial flower of British Columbia. Above the shield are gold and blue banners, and protecting it is the helmet of salvation. Above the banners is Old Fort Langley, on which the Hudson Bay flag is flying. Surrounding the shield is an escroll on which the University motto is written. The Coat of Arms was granted by the Royal College of Arms, and was presented to then-university president R. Neil Snider in 1986 by the Lieutenant Governor of B.C. on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.[40]

A torch symbol is also used prevalently at the university, as the Coat of Arms is reserved to authenticate the highest official University academic and legal documents.

The Spartans is the nickname of the varsity teams that compete for Trinity Western University. The name, which comes from the Ancient Greek civilization of Sparta, originated when the university's first intercollegiate team the men's basketball team, began competing in 1964.[41]


Maclean’s does not currently include private universities or the Royal Military College of Canada in its rankings of Canadian universities.[42]

In the Globe and Mail’s annual survey on higher education, Trinity Western has received a grade of A+ for its quality of education every year since 2005.[43]


The main campus is located in the rural Township of Langley, British Columbia, occupying 157 acres (0.64 km2) on the edge of historic Fort Langley. Fort Langley, a former fur-trade post of the Hudson's Bay Company, was the first capital of British Columbia when the Colony of Vancouver Island and the Colony of British Columbia were united under Governor Sir James Douglas in 1858.[44] There is a residence hall on campus named in honour of Douglas. The campus is situated about 45 minutes southeast from Vancouver and about 2 hours north from Seattle.

Norma Marion Alloway Library at sunset

Campus buildings vary in age and style from Hanson Chapel, completed in 1962 (the first building completed on campus), to the Westcoast and Snider collegiums completed in 2006. Today the campus consists of over 25 buildings and residence halls that house the university's various departments and students.[45]

The architecture on campus is inspired by British Columbia, Rural B.C., and the Pacific Northwest. Modern red brick covers Alloway Library, Larsen Atrium, and Stanley Nelson Student Centre at the main part of campus. Other significant buildings on campus include Robert N. Thompson Building which houses the Political Science, History, English, and Geography departments. The newly built and yet to be named Music Building is home to the School of Art, Media + Culture. The Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences are housed in the Neufeld Science Centre, which experienced a major renovation in 2011, and the Vernon Stromback Centre at the east end of campus. In total there are 33 buildings on the university campus.[46]

During President Raymond's tenure, the university has built the Music Building in 2010, and in 2011 Fraser Hall and the Neufeld Science Centre received major renovations in 2011. In 2012 Strombeck received a significant interior and exterior renovation, and in 2013 the prominent Robert N. Thompson building is scheduled to be re-modelled.

Campus meals are served all day at three dining establishments around campus.

Academic facilities

The Norma Marion Alloway Library is the main library for undergraduate students, holding a circulation of over 300,000 books, 12,000 periodical subscriptions, and computer access to thousands more titles. The university archives house several special collections: the Mel Smith Archives, the Robert N. Thompson Archives, and the Lyle Wicks Papers, which chronicle Canada's political history through the works and personal documents of these three political figures. The library also has a Korean collection.

The Faculty of Graduate Studies and seminaries each maintain their own individual libraries.

Wireless internet is available across campus.

The Canada Institute of Linguistics

Athletic facilities

Rogers Field is located on the northeast edge of campus, and is the home pitch to the women’s and men’s varsity soccer teams. In 2008 Rogers Field was the host venue as the Spartans women’s soccer team won the CIS Championship. It also hosted the men's CIS Championship in 2009.[47]

David E. Enarson Gymnasium has been the university’s indoor sports venue since it was built in 1969. In 2009, the newly built [48] Today, Enarson Gymnasium houses the university's athletic offices and strength and conditioning room, hosts physical education classes and intramurals, and occasionally varsity sports events.

Tennis courts, an indoor rock wall, and practice fields are also located on campus. Though the university does not sponsor rowing teams, there are rowing facilities on the Fraser River. The cross country and track and field teams train at the Township of Langley's McLeod Athletic Park, the host park of the B.C. high school championships and the 2010 British Columbia Games.[49] The Redwoods and Belmont golf courses are both located minutes from campus.

Satellite campuses

Ottawa - Booth House
The Laurentian Leadership Centre, in Ottawa
The home of the Laurentian Leadership Centre in Ottawa is the Booth House, an historic mansion in Downtown Ottawa and a National Historic Site of Canada. Built in 1901 as the home of lumber and railway baron John R. Booth, Trinity Western purchased the building in 2000. Located on Metcalfe Street near Somerset, the campus is within minutes of the Canadian Parliament and many important governmental ministries, departments, and embassies.

Located very close to the Canadian-U.S. border on the U.S. side, Trinity Western's Bellingham campus provides adult degree completion Bachelor of Arts programs in leadership, psychology and the social sciences. Students meet one night per week and one Saturday per course. Upon completion of each six-week course in succession, students may work to finish their bachelor degree in as few as 18 months, depending upon the number of credits transferred. TWU Bellingham personalizes evaluation of students' past education and life experiences to recognize the skills and knowledge applied to degree requirements. Classes engage dynamic discussions, are learner-centred and success focused.

Trinity Western's Bellingham campus also hosts the unique Freshman FASTTrack program, a one-year program of liberal arts core courses for new freshman. The program is designed to aid the transition from high school to university, transferring into the 4-year college or university of their choice. Subjects are integrated to maximize interdisciplinary learning. Using the cohort model, small classes involve dynamic discussions and are supported with learning coaches. This concentrated immersion style of learning results in students completing a full 31 semester college credits attending morning classes, leaving their afternoons and evenings free to work or study.


In his 2008 state of the university address, President Jonathan Raymond announced the grant of a rent-free 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) space to be used toward university education in Richmond, British Columbia.[50] Opened in 2012, the university's Richmond campus near Vancouver will be used to be the home of TWU-Extension, Trinity Western's effort to help adults past the usual age of university complete their bachelor degrees.

Student life

In 2011, Trinity Western received an A level rating in the [52]

Student groups

Trinity Western's nearly 100 student organizations and clubs cover a wide range of interests. In 2011, the university hosted 11 academic groups, four cultural groups, five "issue-oriented" groups, eight performing groups, six pre-professional groups, three publications, and 13 recreational groups.[53][54] Greek life is not sponsored by the university.

Each year, the Foreign Affairs Society hosts a Model United Nations conference for high school students. The Trinity Western University Students Association is the elected government of the student body, and works as an aid and mediator between individual students and university administration, in addition to sponsoring several events throughout the academic year.[55][56]

Members of the university's chamber choirs are often invited to guest perform with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, performances which have been broadcast on a number of occasions on CBC Radio; as well, Trinity Western's choirs have performed frequently with the CBC Radio Orchestra, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, and at venues including Carnegie Hall in New York and frequent performances at the Orpheum, Vancouver, and the Chan Shun Concert Hall.

The university hosts three student publications. Mars' Hill, the student newspaper, is one of the most decorated student newspapers in North America in recent years. Mars' Hill has won the Associated Collegiate Press National Pacemaker Award, considered the Pulitzer Prize of student journalism, for best non-daily newspaper in 2008[57] and 2010.[58] It was also a finalist in 2006 and 2009. It is a member of the U.S.'s Associated Collegiate Press and Canada's Canadian University Press. [ s p a c e s ], an annual literary journal, is edited and published by students each year, as well as Pillar, the university's yearbook.[59]


Since its founding in 1962 Trinity Western has provided athletics for both women and men. Today, the university supports athletics at the varsity, club, and intramural levels. Its colours are gold and blue.

The university sponsors 11 men's and women's varsity sports. [60] Teams compete in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, the top university athletics league in Canada, with teams competing in the Canada West Universities Athletic Association at the regional level.[61] Varsity teams competing in the CIS include men's and women's basketball, soccer, volleyball, track and field, and cross country. The men's hockey team plays in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League. The basketball, volleyball, and hockey teams play their home games and matches at the Langley Events Centre.[62] Trinity Western teams have won eight CIS national championships.[63]

In addition to varsity sports, Trinity Western hosts five club sports teams for students who wish to participate in athletics at a high level while not making the time commitment that would be needed to compete on a varsity team. Club teams include women's and men's basketball and soccer, and men's hockey. Each year, several dozen teams compete in intramurals. Intramurals are open to members of the university's faculty, staff, and students, though a team representing a residential hall must consist only of members of that hall. Along with the academic requirements for graduation, Trinity Western requires every undergraduate to complete three classes of physical education, one of which is a lab in the Concepts of Physical Health.


Over its fifty years of history, the university and its students have developed several traditions, some formal, others informal. Some of the more noteworthy traditions include the CanAm game, a hockey game played between a side of male American students and a side of female Canadian students. The game is often hotly contested given its "Battle of the Sexes" nature with national pride on the line as well. Orientation Week is held at the beginning of each year for incoming freshman and new students. Continuous aspects of Orientation Week have been the Banana Challenge, Dorm Skit Night, and visiting Stanley Park. Hootenany is held every year at Enarson Gym, and showcases some of the university's more talented, and weird acts. Every other Friday during the academic year "11:07", a student improv comedy show, is held in the theatre. 11:07 is often widely attended given many of the students inability to leave campus. Every year the art students have a Senior Show, which shows art ranging from installation, to sculpture, to painting, to video. Each April, the graduating seniors give themselves a Graduate Banquet. This is usually held at a hotel in Downtown Vancouver, but in previous years has also taken place in Whistler and in Langley. On campus at the beginning of every hour, the Bell Tower tolls. Located near the centre of campus next to the library gardens, it is Trinity Western's tallest structure and its chimes can be heard across campus.

At Spartans' sporting events, students, alumni, and fans sing the Spartan Song, the fight song of the university. With their strong level of school spirit, the university's fans have gained the nickname the "Spartan Faithful."[64] The Spartan Faithful are known to be some of the best fans in the CIS.

Community Covenant

As a privately governed and administered university, the university holds its students to a "Community Covenant", of which all students are committed to keeping. The university made the decision to create a covenant between the university community to help create an atmosphere more conducive to learning and to building a cohesive community. The Covenant prohibits behaviour such as hazing, verbal and physical harassment, dishonesty including plagiarism, theft or destruction of another's property, the use of illegal drugs, consuming alcohol on campus as well as drunkenness, and sexual relationships outside of a marriage between a woman and a man.[39] Breach may result in disciplinary action.

Supreme Court Case

In 1995, Trinity Western launched a teaching certification program, but the British Columbia College of Teachers denied accreditation of the university's program, arguing that the "Responsibilities of Membership" agreement students must sign (replaced in 2009 with the Community Covenant) is discriminatory and that those graduating from Trinity Western's program will discriminate against gay students. The lower courts in British Columbia and, later, the Supreme Court of Canada, ruled in favour of Trinity Western University, stating that there was no basis for the BCCT's decision, and, moreover, that "the concern that graduates of TWU will act in a detrimental fashion in the classroom is not supported by any evidence."

The final analysis of the case, as reported by the Factum of the Intervener, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, was that "In the circumstances of this case the Council of the B.C. College of Teachers failed to conduct such an enquiry and erroneously concluded that equality of rights on the basis of sexual orientation trump freedom of religion and association. They do not."

Notable alumni and faculty


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External links

  • Trinity Western University main web site
  • Trinity Western Magazine
  • Trinity Western University extension campus main web site
  • Trinity Western University Bellingham campus main web site
  • Trinity Western University page at the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

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