June 17, 2021
For Immediate Release
Waterloo – Wilfrid Laurier University will have another community to call home following provincial approval to establish a new university campus in Milton. The Government of Ontario announced its approval at a news conference June 17 for Laurier to develop this milestone project in collaboration with the Town of Milton and Conestoga College. The campus, which is a key element of Laurier’s strategic multi-campus growth, will focus on planetary health and offer programming, research and experiential learning in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) fields.
“We are extremely excited that the Government of Ontario and Town of Milton are supporting a new Laurier campus in Milton and for their confidence in Laurier’s academic excellence, distinct student experience, and partnership-building expertise,” said Deborah MacLatchy, Laurier president and vice-chancellor. “This is a significant moment in the future of our university and province. We are thrilled to welcome students to the Milton community.”
The new campus was approved under the Government of Ontario Major Capacity Expansion Policy Framework, and includes expanding corridor funding to support growing Laurier’s domestic student numbers in Milton. The campus, which will be situated in the Milton Education Village (MEV), will be a significant element of a Milton hub for sustainable, eco-focused innovation and entrepreneurship and will provide short- and long-term economic benefits for the Town of Milton and the Government of Ontario.
“The Ontario government is committed to growing our province’s postsecondary education sector in a fiscally responsible way, and that is why we are proud to support Conestoga College and Wilfrid Laurier University’s plans for campus expansion in Milton,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “By supporting self-funded campus expansions, we are encouraging independence and accountability; expanding choices and opportunities for our students; and protecting taxpayers.”
Laurier’s campus will be situated on approximately 103 acres of land – 33 acres of developable land and 70 acres of undeveloped greenbelt land – donated to the university by the Town of Milton. The campus will scale to approximately 2,500 students in the first decade, with Laurier’s first building anticipated to open in 2024.
“Today’s announcement is a perfect example of how our government is using tools like MZOs, in partnership with municipalities, to help quickly get shovels in the ground on important projects that will positively impact the community for generations,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Premier Ford, Minister Romano, my Parliamentary Assistant Parm Gill, and our college and university partners have been true champions for this project, and I am proud to be able to support The Milton Education Village.”
Laurier’s Milton campus will ensure strong linkages among businesses, the community and the university, creating a focal point for economic activity and research and innovation with numerous experiential learning opportunities for students, such as co-op placements, volunteer opportunities, workplace projects and community service-learning.
“Our government continues to take strong actions that support our community of Milton,” said Parm Gill, Member of Provincial Parliament for Milton. “By approving the immediate development of two post-secondary campuses along with a new long-term care home, the Milton Education Village will soon be a place where education, research, business, and community services, succeed.”
Located within the Toronto-Waterloo Innovation Corridor, Laurier’s Milton campus will centre on future-focused sectors of STEAM and planetary health while advancing innovation and entrepreneurship. Planetary health considers the intersections of human and environmental health and will foster new developments in areas such as clean and green technology and sustainable development.
“With the announcement that Wilfrid Laurier University is coming to Milton, this shows that as a town, we are a place of possibilities,” said Gord Krantz, Mayor of the Town of Milton. “Laurier is a community-driven institution with a reputation for local impact. This partnership brings the possibilities of talent retention and innovation to the Town of Milton.”
The Milton campus will be research-intensive and will build on Laurier’s current and emerging research strengths. The university will develop joint partnerships with local organizations for impactful research and innovation in Milton related to planetary health, sustainability, climate change, and water.
Proposed programs include: Software Engineering, Environmental/Sustainable Engineering, Environmental Health Sciences, Computational and Systems Biology and Climate Change Management.
Academic activity at the campus will focus on the Greenbelt and Niagara Escarpment lands as a living laboratory for students and collaborative research partnerships with industry.
Laurier’s Milton campus facilities will also reflect the focus on sustainability and planetary health, with state-of-the-art technology resulting in deep-green buildings with a minimum zero-carbon footprint.
Developing a Milton campus allows Laurier to grow strategically while providing students from the Halton and GTA region with the community-oriented, intimate-campus student experience for which Laurier is known. The approach follows the multi-campus model with community at the core that is based on Laurier’s successful development of its Brantford campus, which has grown to more than 3,000 students from 39 when it was established in 1999.
Science and engineering programs on the Milton campus will be designed, recruited for, and delivered to attract and graduate highly qualified students from equity-deserving groups who have traditionally faced barriers in these fields. Laurier has ambitions to establish engineering classes with 50 per cent women. Additionally, the university has an opportunity to work together with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation to build a meaningful partnership incorporating Indigenous knowledges and practices on the Milton campus.
As a multi-campus, multi-community university, Wilfrid Laurier University has been working with the Town of Milton since 2008 to bring Laurier’s high-quality academic and student experience to this vibrant and fast-growing community, located midway along the Toronto-Waterloo Innovation Corridor. Laurier has had a presence in the Town of Milton for a number of years, currently offering a Master of Education program in Milton as well as an ongoing Laurier Milton lecture series and participating in research and innovation partnerships.
For more details about Laurier’s plans for Milton, please visit Laurier in Milton on the university’s website.
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Lori Chalmers Morrison, Director: Integrated Communications
External Relations, Wilfrid Laurier University
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