History of Brock

History of Brock

Opened in 1964, Brock University is named for Maj.-General Sir Isaac Brock, who died at nearby Queenston Heights in the War of 1812. His last words — "Surgite! Push on!" — have become the University's motto.

But the seeds of the University were sown long before the doors first opened. Brock’s story is about a community that rose up and built the institution it wanted for its future.

A grassroots effort

In the late 1950s, there was growing public discussion about how Niagara should have its own university. Its founders wanted young people to get a good education without having to leave the area.

The grassroots sentiment became a movement when, in November 1957, the Allanburg Women’s Institute asked the Ontario government to “favourably consider the placing of a university in the Niagara Peninsula.”

Momentum spread. By fall 1962, the Brock Founders Committee was incorporated. They received approval to create a new university, then developed an administrative and academic plan. Then they began raising money. 

Onward and upward

After years of meetings and fundraising, Brock opened in September 1964. It had 127 students in a refurbished refrigeration factory at the foot of the Niagara Escarpment in St. Catharines. In 1966 the landmark Brock Tower was completed, and faculties began moving “up the hill” to the University’s permanent home atop the escarpment.

For the next 30 years, Brock sent thousands of graduates on to successful careers. It built a name for its personal quality of teaching afforded by attentive faculty and controlled class sizes. As the new millennium dawned, enrolment soared. Brock transformed from an undergraduate institute to a comprehensive University with flourishing research, graduate and doctoral programs.

The campus steadily expanded to keep pace with the demand for a Brock education. It's a pattern that continues with the construction of world-class research labs, a landmark fine arts complex and an international students’ centre.

Today the University also operates a campus in Hamilton, Ont., primarily for teacher education.

Brock serves its community as a cultural, academic and recreational centre, bringing excellent facilities to the people who created the University all those years ago. We are committed to building our community and to fostering an environment that serves our students and our neighbours.