York University

From Academic Kids

This article is about the Canadian university. For the British university, see University of York.

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York University (YorkU) is a large comprehensive university, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In terms of physical size, it is Canada's largest university. York also has the third-largest student population of any university in the country.

York University has almost 50,000 students and 7,000 staff and faculty spread over two campuses. With 21 research centres, York is one of the most highly valued and sought-after research institutions.

The institution has more than 150 partnership agreements with universities throughout the world to facilitate academic collaboration including the exchange of students and faculty.

The University's total impact on the GTA economy is conservatively estimated at over $3 billion in 2003. Over 85% of the students and 90% of the staff have home addresses in the GTA. Over 1,000 buses a day serve York, making it the largest transit hub in the GTA without a subway. York students spent $268 million in the GTA in 2003. York has its own 'Las Nubes' brand of sustainable coffee, now available across the GTA at Timothy's.

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© York University

Motto: Tentanda via (Latin: The way must be tried)
Founded 1959
School type Public
President Lorna Marsden
Location Toronto, Ontario
Enrollment 43,635 undergrad, 3,339 grad
Campus surroundings Urban, suburban
Campus size 650 acres (2.6 km²)
Sports teams Lions
Mascot Lion


York University was founded in 1959, by virtue of the York Act, which received Royal Assent in the Ontario Legislature on March 26 of that year. Its first class was held on September 1960, in Falconer Hall on the University of Toronto campus, with a total of 76 students. In the fall of 1961, York moved to the Glendon campus, and began to emphasize liberal arts and part-time adult education.

In 1965, York moved into its permanent home on the Keele campus.


York University is renowned for its traditional strengths as an arts and social-sciences powerhouse. York's Faculty of Arts is the largest in Canada. The department of political science has received accolades from the annual Maclean's university guide for earning a national reputation. The Department also houses the 'York Political Economy", or YPE, as a long-term initiative whose purpose is to bring together teaching, research and discussion of political economy at York University; making York one of the world’s leading centres for the study of heterodox and radical political economy.

The Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies' School of Administrative Studies is the largest business undergraduate program in Canada. The Faculty of Fine Arts (http://www.yorku.ca/finearts) is known to be one of a kind in North America. It's joint Bachelor of Design program with Sheridan College is the first and largest in the province of Ontario.

Its internationally-renowned Faculty of Education (also known as the "Toronto School of Liberal Education") offers its students more teaching experience than any other education program in Ontario.

Its renowned Faculty of Environmental Studies (http://www.yorku.ca/fes/index.asp) offers one of the best individualized, interdisciplinary masters programs in the world.

Osgoode Hall Law School, Canada's largest, and one of the oldest, is among the most respected. Osgoode Hall Law School has joint forces with New York University to offer its graduates a L.L.B. and a Juris Doctorate upon graduation.

The Schulich School of Business is ranked among the top business schools in the world and offers the International Business Administration program which is the first of its kind in Canada.

York University's Faculty of Graduate Studies is Ontario's second largest graduate school. The Graduate School offers not only traditional areas of study, but has also pioneered innovative and unique interdisciplinary programmes.

The School of Women's Studies at York University (http://www.arts.yorku.ca/wmst) is one of the oldest of its kind and offers the largest array of courses in this field in the country, in both official languages.

As well, York is involved in many space projects and has a pair of small telescopes on campus. The university offers the only Space and Communication program in the nation. York’s Centre for Vision Research has developed a ‘virtual reality room’ called IVY (Immersive Virtual Environment at York) in order to study perception of gravity and motion, and how humans orient themselves spatially. The room is the only six-sided immersive environment in Canada, and one of a mere handful internationally. Its walls, ceiling and floor are comprised of pixel maps generated by a cluster of computers running Linux. The entire structure is made of the same glass used in the CN Tower’s observation deck. The floor alone took two years to complete. The research is being used by the Canadian Space Agency and National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) to find ways to help strengthen astronauts’ sense of ‘up’ and ‘down’ in zero gravity environments.

York's libraries, located in five buildings, contain over six-and-a-half million items - books, print periodicals, theses, archival materials, micro-forms, maps, films and music CDs. York has more than 2.5 million books and subscribe to 13,000 electronic journals. The Osgoode Hall Law School houses the largest law library in the Commonwealth of Nations.


The university is represented in Canadian Interuniversity Sport by the York Lions. The team was formerly known as the "York Yeomen" and "York Yeowomen", but the name was changed in 2003 to be more gender-neutral. However, the real reason, as widely rumoured, was that few students understood what "yeoman" meant, except for the many British history majors.

SportYork offers 29 interuniversity sport teams, 12 sport clubs, 35 intramural sport leagues, special events and 10 pick-up sport activities offered daily.

First rate athletic facilities include: a stadium, 4 gymnasia, 5 sport playing fields, 4 softball fields, 9 outdoor tennis courts, 5 squash courts, 3 dance/aerobic studios, an ice arena, a swimming pool, an expanding fitness centre and the new Rexall Stadium (Home of the Rogers Tennis Cup).


Keele Campus, York's main campus, is located in North York and most of the university's faculties reside here.

York also has a bilingual liberal arts campus, Glendon College. Glendon is the only place in Southern Ontario that offers university courses in both French and English.

The Schulich School of Business also has a downtown Toronto campus called the Miles S. Nadal Management Centre.


York is Canada's third-largest university, with almost 50,000 students enrolled. Most students come from the Greater Toronto Area, but there is a sizeable population of students from across Canada and abroad. The intellectual, cultural and social life at York is one of the richest in Canada with approximately 225 student clubs and organizations; two student-run publications and three broadcast programs; two art galleries; 33 on-campus eateries; and a retail mall.


York has 9 undergraduate residential colleges:

  • Atkinson - named after The Toronto Star founding publisher Joseph E. Atkinson
  • Bethune - named after Dr. Norman Bethune
  • Calumet - a native nations word for "Peacepipe"
  • Founders - named after the founders of the university
  • Glendon - named after the estate on which the campus resides
  • McLaughlin - after Sam McLaughlin, patron and manufacturer.
  • Stong - named after the family on whose land is the main campus
  • Vanier - named after Governor General Georges Vanier
  • Winters - named after federal MP Robert W. Winters
The York University Common
The York University Common


  • Arts
  • Atkinson, Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies
  • Education
  • Environmental Studies
  • Fine Arts
  • Glendon College
  • Graduate Studies
  • Osgoode Hall Law School
  • Schulich School of Business
  • Science and Engineering


York also shares the Keele Campus with Seneca College, Seneca@York (http://www.senecac.on.ca/home/campuses/yorku.html), and offers number of joint programs to allow graduates to benefit from both post-secondary institutions:

  • School of Communication Arts
  • Computer Studies
  • Biological Science and Applied Chemistry
  • Corporate and Technical Communications


York University's Glendon and Keele campuses are served by Toronto Transit Commission, but the Keele site is also served by York Region Transit and GO Transit. YU operates a shuttle service to GO Transit's York University station, since the station is not within walking distance. Close to a thousand buses move people through the campus each day. Talks are currently under way to bring a subway stop to the Keele campus.

Former Presidents

  • Murray G Ross 1959-1970
  • David Slater 1970-1973
  • H. Ian Macdonald 1973-1984
  • Harry W. Arthurs 1985-1992
  • Susan Mann 1993-1997

Most Famous Chancellor

Noted alumni

Noted faculty

External links


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