Skip to content
Jobs | Contact | Tip line: 705-673-0123

‘Much to celebrate’ as Thorneloe marks 50th birthday - Dr. Robert Derrenbacker

Thorneloe University will celebrate a milestone on March 29, 2011 - the 50th anniversary of its charter.
Thorneloe University will celebrate a milestone on March 29, 2011 - the 50th anniversary of its charter. As a founding member of the Laurentian University federation, Thorneloe has provided courses and programming in the arts, humanities and theology for half a century.

During this time, enrolment has grown from 29 students in the early 1960s to 2,751 this academic year. We have come a long way since our inception. We began with one professor and one administrator, and now have nine full-time and 25 part-time faculty members, as well as eight staff.

Our course offerings have also increased significantly. We started with a handful in just two areas, and now have a full complement of courses and programming in Ancient Studies, Classics, Fine Arts, Religious Studies, Theatre Arts, Women’s Studies and Theology.

We continue to provide a home away from home for university students in 58 single rooms, making our residence one of the most desirable.

As well, Thorneloe has the only free-standing chapel on campus – St. Mark’s Chapel – where worship and study in the Anglican tradition take place on a regular basis. This summer, the chapel will be renovated to make it a more accessible and flexible space. There is much to celebrate.

To mark the 50th anniversary of Thorneloe, a number of events are scheduled to take place in the next few months. All members of the public are cordially invited to attend.

On March 10, Thorneloe will rename its popular theatre after a prominent local community leader and visual artist. A renaming ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. in the Theatre atrium, followed by the opening of Michel Tremblay’s well-known play “Les Belles Sœurs” at 7 p.m. The play will run from March 10-12 and March 17-19.

Thorneloe’s 50th anniversary celebration will officially kick off at a special event in the foyer of Tom Davies Square on Tuesday, March 29 at 2 p.m. At this time, a number of dignitaries will mark the anniversary of Thorneloe’s charter, including Greater Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk and Bishop Stephen Andrews of the Anglican Diocese of Algoma.

Roger Nash, poet laureate for the City of Greater Sudbury and a former professor at Thorneloe, will read a poem specially commissioned for the occasion.

Then on June 23, Thorneloe will host a golf tournament at the Idylwylde Golf and Country Club. The tournament, to raise funds to replace the seats in the theatre, will include lunch and dinner as well as a silent auction.

The golf tournament will be followed by Thorneloe’s annual “Summer Shakespeare” from June 24 to 26. Directed by Professor Patricia Tedford, student actors will perform a Shakespeare comedy in the outdoors.

From September 30 to October 2, alumni of the Thorneloe Theatre Department will reunite on stage for a special weekend marking the program’s important contribution to Sudbury’s cultural life.

Thorneloe’s 50th anniversary celebrations will culminate on October 12 with the annual convocation. Bursaries and scholarships will be awarded. Degrees in theology will also be granted.

In addition, The Right Honorable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada, will address those in attendance and receive an honorary Doctor of Canon Law.

The ceremony will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Thorneloe Theatre. The public is invited to attend.

As you can see, there is much to celebrate at Thorneloe University to mark our 50th anniversary. For more information about these events and more, visit

In my next column, I will focus on Thorneloe’s academic programming in fine arts as we get set to rename our theatre and launch our Winter Mainstage “Les Belles Sœurs.”

Dr. Robert Derrenbacker is the president of Thorneloe University. This is the second of three columns celebrating the 50th anniversary of the educational institution.