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Concordia turns 42!

On August 24, 1974, Loyola College and Sir George Williams University came together to form Concordia University
August 24, 2016

John O'Brien (left), Concordia's first rector and vice-chancellor, peruses documents during the final days of meetings with government officials to finalize the merger of Loyola College and Sir George Williams University to form Concordia. | Photo courtesy Records Management and Archives John O'Brien (left), Concordia's first rector and vice-chancellor, in the final days of the Loyola College-Sir George Williams University merger. | All photos courtesy of Records Management and Archives


When Montreal’s Loyola College and Sir George Williams University officially joined forces to become Concordia University on August 24, 1974, it was the culmination of six years of planning and conversations.

What would be the best way to merge a serene Jesuit college in the west end with a bustling, night-school-friendly downtown university? How could those traditions be combined to create a vibrant new educational entity?

“When you join together two lively institutions, each with its own philosophies and ways of doing things, each firmly dedicated to freedom of thought and speech, you must expect a measure of friction,” said John O’Brien, Concordia’s first rector and chancellor on August 16, 1974. “We look forward now to a new period of creative friction.”

As Concordia’s Records Management and Archives Department (RMA) explains on its “Merger of Loyola College and Sir George Williams University” page, the earliest formal proposal came in the late 1960s from Donald Savage, a Loyola history professor, and Michel Despland, the assistant dean of Arts at Sir George Williams:

They proposed a "Federal University" which would allow students to take courses at both campuses without paying additional fees, and they introduced the idea of a bus service between Loyola and Sir George Williams.

So, in case you were wondering: yes — our famous shuttle buses got in on the ground floor…

The original Concordia Shuttle, a 13-seat van, makes one of its first return trips in 1976. The original Concordia Shuttle, a 13-seat van, makes one of its first return trips in 1976.


Keen to find out more about Concordia’s history? In 2014, RMA published a special 40th anniversary feature that details 40 memorable historical events from the past four decades at Concordia.

Advancement and Alumni Relations also profiled 40 Great Concordians, from record-setting two-time Olympic champion Alexandre Bilodeau to Maïr Verthuy, inaugural principal of the Simone De Beauvoir Institute. 


Read more stories from Concordia's Records Management and Archives Department (RMA).



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