The story of Thorneloe begins with the creation of Laurentian University. The Diocese of Algoma, along with the United Church of Canada and the (then) Jesuit University of Sudbury petitioned the Province of Ontario to create a public, non-denominational, bilingual university in northern Ontario, which in 1960 became Laurentian University. Soon after both the University of Sudbury, and the new Huntington University, federated with Laurentian.
Soon after the Diocese of Algoma made an application to the Legislature of Ontario for the incorporation of Thorneloe University, which received Royal Assent on 29 March 1961. The new university was named after George Thorneloe, who from 1896 was the Bishop of the Diocese of Algoma, and later the Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario. In addition to his commitment to Church communities under his pastoral leadership, Thorneloe was a theologian and a scholar, having received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Bishops’ University in Quebec. Later in life he received honorary doctorates from Bishops’ University, Trinity College Toronto, and the University of Oxford. Naming the new university after George Thorneloe was a way to honour the archbishop, but also the commitment of the new Anglican university to scholarship and life in Northern Ontario.
In 1962 Thorneloe University formally entered into the Laurentian federation along with Huntington University, the University of Sudbury, and Laurentian University. By 1964 Thorneloe and Laurentian agreed upon the land upon which Thorneloe made its home on the Laurentian campus. In addition to classroom space, Thorneloe constructed a 58-room residence for students of Laurentian University.
In 1965 an architecturally unique style of a chapel was built for the students and staff at Thorneloe, in which Anglican worship and pastoral care was provided ecumenically on the Laurentian campus. The chapel was named after St Mark the Evangelist, to which an ascription to the Fielding family was later added, a family with commitments to both Church and University in Sudbury and the north.
While Thorneloe, along with Huntington University and the University of Sudbury, was formerly federated with Laurentian University as a whole, it had a unique role within the humanities, and thus the Faculty of Arts. As the number of disciplines at Thorneloe grew and expanded, they did so within an integrated Faculty of Arts. Thorneloe offered to Laurentian students courses from five distinct departments: Classics/Ancient Studies, Motion Picture Studies, Religious Studies, Theatre Arts, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. In addition, from the 1990s Thorneloe began to operate its School of Theology that continues to this day, providing distance theological education at the undergraduate level to students in Northern Ontario, and indeed across Canada and different parts of the world.
With some irony, on 30 March 2021, almost 60 years to the day that Thorneloe was created, Laurentian University announced its unilateral decision to terminate the historic federation agreements with the three federated universities. An era for Thorneloe, the other federated partners, for Laurentian, and for Subdury had come to an end. All of the departments and programs at Thorneloe, along with our full- and part-time teaching commitments, were over.
Today Thorneloe is committed to its School of Theology, and expanding its operations.
The Thorneloe Residence remains one of the most sought-after residences on the Laurentian campus, known for its vibrant community life and a place of peace and quiet for studies.
The Ernie Checkeris Theatre hosts a number of theatre and performing arts groups in the Sudbury area, including the Sudbury Performance Group, the Sudbury Youth Orchestra, One North Clown and Creation, Crestfallen, and the City of Lakes Music Society.
People of all faiths will be welcome to use the quiet holy space of the Fielding Memorial Chapel of St. Mark at Thorneloe Campus.
Current Chancellor: The Most Revd Anne Germond
Current Chair of the Board of Governors: Mr Brian Koivu
Current President: Dr John Gibaut