The History of Trinity Western University
In 1957, a small group of people had an extraordinary vision to establish a Christian university in Canada. Today, TWU is Canada’s largest independent Christian liberal arts institution, with a comprehensive total enrolment of 3,600 students and over 26,000 alumni in more than 80 countries around the world.
The vision began in 1957 when the Evangelical Free Churches of America (EFCA) appointed a committee to explore establishing a liberal arts college in the Fraser Valley. David Enarson, a Christian educator and church leader, with a vision for an accredited Christian university, was one of the guiding members of the committee. Members of the committee purchased the Seal Kap dairy farm in British Columbia's Fraser Valley and developed plans to build the college. Trinity Western University started as Trinity Junior College in 1962.
Since its first days in 1962, Trinity Western has held a unique vision for Christian liberal arts and sciences education in Canada. The first president Dr. Calvin B. Hanson (1962-1974) helped shape the early vision. Two decades later, with 800 students enrolled, the college achieved two important milestones. In 1984, under the leadership of TWU’s second president, Dr. R. Neil Snider (1974-2006), Trinity Western was granted full membership in the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), and in 1985, the British Columbia legislature renamed the Trinity Western College Act the Trinity Western University Act, establishing TWU as a university.
The next milestones for the University included incorporating ACTS Seminaries and the School of Graduate studies, which offer masters and doctoral programs in theological studies, counselling psychology, and humanities.
TWU leads the way in Canada for Christian liberal arts education, and offers 42 undergraduate and 17 graduate degree programs. TWU has earned national recognition in educational surveys for its overall quality of education reported in The Globe and Mail University Report and Maclean’s magazine. TWU has four Canada Research Chairs: in Developmental Genetics and Disease; Interpretation, Religion, and Culture; Dead Sea Scrolls Studies; and in Patient-Reported Outcomes.
Trinity Western University provides a wide array of learning experiences, whether degree or non-degree, in its satellite campuses and through its various schools and institutes:
- Laurentian Leadership Centre, Ottawa, ON
- Crow’s Nest ERA, Salt Spring Island, BC
- Bellingham Campus, Washington State, USA
- School of Business
- School of Education
- School of Human Kinetics
- School of Nursing
- School of the Arts, Media and Culture
- School of Graduate Studies
- Centre for Ministry Excellence
- Gender Studies Institute
- Religion in Canada Institute
- Septuagint Institute
- Centre for Entrepreneurial Leaders
- Dead Sea Scrolls Institute