World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Renison University College

Renison University College
Coat of arms of Renison University College
Former names
Renison College (1959-2008)
Motto Sed Coelum Solum
Motto in English
One Sky Over All
Established January 14, 1959
Type Public
Affiliation Anglican Church of Canada
Chairman Peter Ringrose
Chancellor The Rt. Rev. D. Ralph Spence
Principal The Rev. Canon Dr. Wendy L. Fletcher
Dean Dr. Douglas E. Cowan
Visitor The Rt. Rev. Bob Bennett (as Bishop of Huron)
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Undergraduates 1000[2]
Postgraduates 77[3]
Other students
220 (Residence Students)[4]
Location Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Degrees Offered Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Social Work
Mascot Reni Moose
Affiliations University of Waterloo, Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC)
Renison University College logo

Renison University College is a public university college located in Waterloo, Ontario and affiliated with the University of Waterloo. It was founded by members of the local Anglican community and continues to have a strong affiliation with the Anglican Church of Canada.

Renison is a liberal arts college that provides instruction in arts and social sciences towards a University of Waterloo Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Social Work or Master of Social Work degree. Its main fields of research and instruction include Social Development Studies and Social Work, with departments in Applied Language Studies, East Asian Studies, and Studies in Islam. Renison’s English Language Institute offers classes to help students whose primary language is not English to improve their English skills. The College also maintains the Renison Institute of Ministry which offers a certificate in Christian Studies and parish development programs.

The College is home to up to 220 residence students throughout the year. Renison maintains one of the lowest don to student ratios of all the on-campus residences. Residents may be in any field of undergraduate study at the University of Waterloo and are not mandated to take courses at Renison.


  • History 1
    • Name Change 1.1
    • Namesake of the College 1.2
  • Academics 2
    • Arts 2.1
      • Undergraduate Degree Program 2.1.1
        • Social Development Studies
        • Minors
        • Languages
        • Other Areas of Study
    • School of Social Work 2.2
      • Bachelor of Social Work 2.2.1
      • Master of Social Work 2.2.2
    • Non-Credit 2.3
    • English Language Institute 2.4
      • Credit 2.4.1
      • Non-Credit 2.4.2
  • Buildings and Features 3
  • Mascot 4
  • Honours granted by Renison 5
    • Fellow 5.1
    • Honorary Senior Fellow 5.2
    • Honorary Member 5.3
    • Distinguished Alumni Award 5.4
    • Teaching Excellence Award 5.5
    • Emeritus 5.6
    • Founder 5.7
  • Coat of Arms and other insignia 6
  • Convocation Regalia 7
    • The Mace 7.1
    • The Staves 7.2
    • Convocation Robes 7.3
      • Chancellor 7.3.1
      • Principal and Vice-Chancellor 7.3.2
      • Chair of the Board of Governors 7.3.3
  • See also 8
    • Books 8.1
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Renison was incorporated on January 14, 1959 by provincial Letters Patent and under the authority of the Synod of the Diocese of Huron, due to the efforts of the Kitchener and Waterloo Anglican communities. The efforts of Renison Founder The Ven. Harvey Southcott, who was rector of Church of the Holy Saviour at the time, were particularly influential as he had the original vision for an Anglican college in Waterloo. Renison continues to enjoy support from the Anglican community and, in particular, from within the Diocese.

The College was named in honour of The Most Rev. Robert John Renison (1875-1957), a former Metropolitan of Ontario and Archbishop of Moosonee.

Originally a two-storey, seven-room house at 193 Albert Street in Waterloo that opened its doors in 1959, Renison College featured a small chapel, chaplain’s office, a small library, a study and meeting space for students, and three bedrooms that accommodated seven male students. The College offered courses in Religious Knowledge, Geography and Philosophy.

On July 1, 1960, Renison struck an affiliation agreement with the University of Waterloo for the right to offer programs in Arts and the Social Sciences for credit towards a Bachelor of Arts degree from Waterloo. The University transferred five acres of land on the west side of its campus to Renison in 1961, and Renison purchased an additional acre.

Name Change

Originally incorporated in 1959 as Renison College, it was felt that the addition of the word ‘university’ would strengthen Renison’s reputation and identity with international partners. During her tenure as Principal, Dr. Gail Cuthbert Brandt had explored the option of gaining an individual charter for Renison. However, it wasn't until Dr. John Crossley’s tenure that the process began to move forward.[5] In 2010, following years of negotiations, supplementary Letters Patent were issued by the Government of Ontario, making the official name of the college 'Renison University College' and reflecting Renison's academic focus.

Namesake of the College

Renison University College was named after a contemporary Canadian church leader, The Most Reverend Robert John Renison. Archbishop Renison served in the Anglican Church of Canada with great distinction for nearly six decades, a significant amount of that time being spent in Northern Ontario. Before his death in 1957, he became Metropolitan of Ontario and Archbishop of Moosonee. Archbishop Renison’s widow, Elisabeth, presented the College with his portrait and a painting of his personal coat of arms. The family agreed to let the new institution use his heraldic emblem and accompanying motto, Sed Coelum Solum (one sky over all), until the college was granted its own unique coat of arms in 1978.



Renison University College offers courses and undergraduate programmes in Arts and the Social Sciences for credit towards a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo.

Undergraduate Degree Program

Social Development Studies

Social Development Studies is a unique, multi-faceted Bachelor of Arts program that provides a well-rounded background in the social sciences and gives students the knowledge and skills to promote and implement social change. It prepares students for a breadth of careers, including social work, education, communications, law, and working in community and international service organizations. The program can be completed full-time or part-time, through on-campus, online and mixed delivery.

  • Applied Language Studies
  • East Asian Studies
  • Studies in Islam
  • Arabic Language Studies
  • Chinese Language Studies
  • Japanese Language Studies
  • Korean Language Studies
Other Areas of Study
  • Religious Studies

School of Social Work

The School of Social Work is preparing a new generation of practitioners, researchers, and change agents through theory and practice opportunities to facilitate the collective welfare and well-being of all people and promote human rights and social justice.

Bachelor of Social Work

The Bachelor of Social Work is offered as a full-time or part-time professional, generalist degree program. The program prepares students for ethical, critically reflective, anti-oppressive, competent and accountable social work practice. Field practicums are a requirement of the program in addition to in-class lectures.

Master of Social Work

The Master of Social Work offered through Renison is Canada’s first health-focused online Master of Social Work (MSW) program. The MSW Program is being offered for full-time or part-time study in collaboration with the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo. A Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree is a mandatory entrance requirement.


  • Chinese - Confucius Institute
  • Renison Institute of Ministry
  • Sakura

English Language Institute


  • English Language Studies


  • English for Academic Success (EFAS)
  • English for Success (EFS)

Buildings and Features

In 1962, Renison completed its first building on the current campus, the Founders Building, which provided offices, classrooms, and two residence wings to house 40 men and 40 women. The cornerstone of this first building on Renison’s campus was laid by Elizabeth Renison and LCol. The Hon. J. Keiller MacKay, 19th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

Thanks to Renison and the other affiliated colleges, 1962 was the first time Waterloo students could live on campus as the first Waterloo residence would not be opened until 1965.[6]

In 1964, Renison expanded with the construction of the Luxton Building, with classrooms, faculty offices, and a residence for 98 men, allowing the Founders Building to be used as the women’s residence. This building was named for Chancellor and, later, first Visitor. The Luxton Building would also come to include a favourite place for student relaxation at Renison, the Moose Room.

Then, in 1992, the College expanded further with the addition of the Chapel of St. Bede, the Great Hall cafeteria, two additional residence floors, and an enlarged library. This would be followed in 2005 with the addition of the Academic Centre. This building included six large classrooms, office space to accommodate Renison’s growing faculty and staff, the Keiko and Charles Belair Centre for East Asian Studies, a substantially larger library with meeting rooms and the Ministry Centre.

Most recently, 2013 saw the completion of the East Side Extension, which is home to new classroom space, student lounges, Renison’s School of Social Work. Ontario’s 28th Lieutenant Governor, The Hon. David C. Onley, was in attendance at the grand opening to declare the building officially open.

Renison is currently in the midst of constructing a new building. The expansion will be the new home of Renison’s English Language Centre and English Language Studies. With 17 new classrooms, the complex will also feature student lounges, meeting rooms, a glass atrium capable of hosting small events, and office space for staff and faculty members. The new wing is being built largely to house the quickly expanding programs in the English Language Studies (ELS) department.

Renison's mascot, Reni Moose


Renison University College's mascot is Reni Moose. Reni has represented the College at a variety of events including Orientation Week, Waterloo Warriors hockey games, convocations, Renison's East Asian Festival, to name but a few. Renison uses a moose as its mascot as its namesake, The Most Reverend Robert Renison, was the Archbishop of Moosonee. A moose is also found in the crest of Renison's coat of arms and College Badge.

Honours granted by Renison

Insignia for three Renison honours

Renison University College grants several honours to individuals that have provided exceptional service to the College, to the Anglican Church, to Canada or to their community. The honours are bestowed by the Chancellor at the annual Founders' Day celebration which celebrates the founders of the College and marks the founding of Renison.


Retired members of the Faculty of Renison University College are eligible to receive the designation of Fellow of the College. This designation may also be granted to persons who have served as volunteers on the Board of Governors or who have contributed to the College through activities associated with Advancement. The recipient of this honour must have made substantial noteworthy contribution to the College.[7]

Insignia: Badge of the College within a circular border of green, upon which is inscribed the name and motto of the College, suspended from a green ribbon.

Honorary Senior Fellow

The Honorary Senior Fellowship is Renison's equivalent to honorary doctorates awarded by degree-granting universities. It is granted to persons who have distinguished themselves in the wider community through their contributions to Renison, the University of Waterloo, the Anglican Church, the wider Community of Kitchener-Waterloo, to Ontario or to Canada, and, generally, have some affinity with the College. This award has also been granted frequently to retired Chairs of the Board of Governors.[8]

Insignia: Badge of the College within a circular border of red, upon which is inscribed the name and motto of the College, suspended from a red ribbon.

Honorary Member

Honorary Membership is normally granted only to retired members of the staff of Renison University College. The nominee must have made noteworthy contribution to the College during the period of his or her employment at Renison.[9]

Insignia: Badge of the College within a circular border of pale blue, upon which is inscribed the name and motto of the College, suspended from a pale blue ribbon.

Distinguished Alumni Award

The designation Distinguished Alumnus or Alumna is granted to persons who, having graduated from academic programs administered by the College OR lived in residence at Renison for two terms within one academic year, have pursued and gained notable recognition in a subsequent career.[10]

Insignia: Badge of the College within a circular border of green, upon which is inscribed the name and motto of the College, suspended from a gold ribbon.

Teaching Excellence Award

The Teaching Excellence Award recognizes excellent teaching in a given year for presenters of at least one credit course offered by Renison University College. The nominee for this award must have received excellent teaching evaluations from the Academic Dean and/or the Principal, for teaching in at least one credit course offered by the College. Other indicators of teaching excellence may be cited, including, but not exclusively, performance in formal or informal tutorial situations, preparation and use of outstanding teaching materials, etc.[11]


Upon their retirement, Renison University College has recognized several individuals that have provided exemplary service and leadership to the College and the University of Waterloo with the title 'Emeritus'.[12]

Insignia: Badge of the College within a circular border of red, upon which is inscribed the name and motto of the College, suspended from a purple ribbon.


The designation of ‘Founder’ has only been granted to those whose names appear on the incorporating Letters Patent of the College.[13]

Insignia: Badge of the College within a circular border of dark blue, upon which is inscribed the name and motto of the College, suspended from a dark blue ribbon.

Coat of Arms and other insignia

Arms of Renison University College
The coat of arms and motto of The Most Rev. Robert Renison was used by the College with permission from the Archbishop’s family until the college was granted its own arms.
A moose's head erased Gules attired Or and charged on the neck with a passion cross Argent[14]
Argent, on a bend vert between two maple leaves Gules, a mitre between two Maltese crosses Or, all within a bordure of the Second charged with three buckles between three maple leaves Or[15]
Dexter a beaver proper sinister a lion Gules, each collared Or pendent therefrom a wagon wheel composed of a cross potent Or conjoined with a saltire potent Azure surmounted by a plate bearing the letters IHS Sable [16]
A grassy mount Vert strewn with trillium flowers and maple keys Or[17]
Sed Coelum Solum
This latin motto was originally granted to Bishop Renison but was allowed for use by the College. Archbishop Renison’s preferred translation of this motto was “One Sky Over All”.[18]
A banner of the arms of Renison University College[19]
On a Maltese Cross Or a moose's head erased Gules attired Or and charged on the neck with a passion cross Argent[20]
Bishop Renison’s arms were incorporated into Renison University College’s unique shield to create what is known as a differenced arms. Granted by the Lord Lyon King of Arms in Scotland in 1978, the College added to the design with a green border placed around the perimeter of the archbishop’s shield. On this green border are three gold maple leaves and three gold buckles. The buckles were borrowed from the arms of The Ven. Archie Skirving, Chair of the Board of Governors at the time of the grant.

The crest of the College’s arms was granted in 1984 by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. Like Archbishop Renison's crest, the College's crest is also a red moose with gold antlers. The moose head faces forward and features a white ‘passion cross’ on the neck of the moose. This cross was borrowed from the arms of Ian Campbell, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Renison at the time of the grant.

The supporters of the College's arms were granted in 2014 by the Canadian Heraldic Authority. The red lion on the right is taken from the arms of the University of Waterloo, and thus symbolizes Renison's affiliation with the university. The red lion is also found in the arms of Bishop D. Ralph Spence, Chancellor of the College at the time of the grant. The beaver is taken from the arms of the Anglican Diocese of Huron, the Bishop of which is the Visitor to the College. The wagon wheel is taken from the arms of the Church of the Holy Saviour, Waterloo, the founding parish of the College.
The grassy green mount represents Renison's verdant campus. The trilliums recall the college's location in Ontario and the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, because they are the provincial flower and are found in the Region's arms. The maple keys symbolize the ten founders of the College and their vision that those being educated will grow and develop for the benefit of their communities.[21]

The badge of the College features the College crest – a red moose with gold antlers and a white cross on its neck – on a gold Maltese cross. This was granted in 1990 by the Canadian Heraldic Authority and painted by Renison alumnus and Honorary Senior Fellow, The Rev. Canon David Bowyer.[22]
Previous versions
Coat of Arms of The Most Rev. Robert Renison
Coat of Arms of Renison University College (1984-2014)

∗All heraldic devices belonging to Renison University College have been registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority.

Convocation Regalia

Dr. Michael Smyth, Fellow of Renison University College, carrying the College Mace

Renison’s convocation regalia, a mace and two staves, were gifts to the College by The Rt. Rev. D. Ralph Spence and Mrs. Carol Spence on the occasion of Bishop Spence’s Installation as Renison’s eighth chancellor.

The Mace

Maces have been used to symbolize authority and order since early medieval times. Parliaments, universities and civic governments use a mace to remind all that their right to govern and teach comes from the Crown; in Renison’s case, the Crown in Right of Ontario.

Renison’s mace is made of local wood from the Waterloo area and fashioned by local artisans. It follows the shape of most maces with a crown, a bowl, and a wooden shaft. The Mace is to be carried by an honoured member of the College in front of the Chancellor at Convocations and special ceremonies.

The crown is carved with maple leaves and trilliums, reflecting the institution of the Crown in Canada and Ontario. The bowl has three coats of arms; Renison University College, University of Waterloo, and the personal arms of The Rt. Rev. Spence. Carved moose heads, derived from the crest of the coat of arms, support the bowl.

Down the shaft of the mace is the small coat of arms belonging to The Rev. Canon David Bowyer, Honorary Senior Fellow of Renison and painter of the arms located on the mace.

Two Renison students lead an academic procession carrying the Processional Staves

The Staves

Normally carried by two students, the two Processional Staves lead the academic procession. Each bears Renison’s shield and badge of the College. They represent the two halves of Renison’s student body: the residents and the academic students.

Convocation Robes


The Chancellor of Renison University College wears Salisbury red robes with gold braiding, in addition to a black Tudor bonnet with a gold cord and tassel. The colour gold is used to indicate the Chancellor's senior position in the College.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor

The Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Renison University College wears red and maroon robes with silver braiding, in addition to a maroon Tudor bonnet with a silver cord and tassel. The colour silver indicates the Principal and Vice-Chancellor's secondary position in the hierarchy of the College.

Chair of the Board of Governors

The Chair of the Board of Governors of Renison University College wears green robes with gold braiding.

L-R: Dr. Glenn F. Cartwright, former Principal and Vice-Chancellor; Lynn Schumacher, former Chair of the Board of Governors; Prof. Darrol Bryant; The Rt. Rev. Ralph Spence, Chancellor

See also


  • Dr. Gail Cuthbert Brandt 'Bold and Courageous Dreams' Renison University College © 2008
  • Dr. Kenneth McLaughlin 'Enthusiasm for the Truth: An Illustrated History of Saint Jerome's University', (Waterloo: University of Waterloo Press © 2002)
  • Dr. Kenneth McLaughlin 'Waterloo: The Unconventional Founding of an Unconventional University' (Waterloo: University of Waterloo Press © 1997)
  • Dr. Kenneth McLaughlin 'Out of the Shadow of Orthodoxy: Waterloo @ 50' (Waterloo: University of Waterloo Press © 2007)
  • Professor Brian McKillop, 'Matters of Mind: The University in Ontario, 1791-1951' (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press ©1951)


  1. ^ Full time faculty only. Does not include part time faculty and instructors
  2. ^ As of July 18, 2014
  3. ^ As of September 24, 2014
  4. ^ Total capacity of Renison's residence
  5. ^ Dr. Gail Cuthbert Brandt 'Bold and Courageous Dreams' Renison University College, 2014, pg. 108
  6. ^ Dr. Gail Cuthbert Brandt 'Bold and Courageous Dreams' Renison University College, 2014, pg. 25-26
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^

External links

  • Official Renison University College Website
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.