Huron University campus

A look at Ontario’s fastest-growing university

Dr. Barry Craig answers a few questions about what makes Huron University’s experience unique for its students

March 22, 2024

Nestled on a beautiful campus in London, Ontario, Huron is one of Canada’s oldest universities, having recently celebrated its 160th anniversary. But its rich history is far from the whole story. With a vibrant community, small class sizes and a unique social impact mission, Huron is now the fastest-growing university in the province, showing a notable increase of 33.8 per cent in first-year, full-time undergraduate applications compared to last year. Huron’s president, Dr. Barry Craig, delves into the university’s distinctive student experience, the factors shaping its ongoing legacy and its commitment to fostering civic-minded leaders dedicated to the common good.

What are the factors contributing to Huron’s success as the fastest-growing university in Ontario?

I think students want the obvious advantage of studying in a small community. At Huron, they not only receive personal support inside and outside the classroom, but have an easier time making friends and establishing social networks. Furthermore, Huron is not a generic institution. We have a clear mission: to develop leaders with heart, compassionate and thoughtful students who want to make a positive difference in society.

How does Huron nurture this quality in its students?

First, a Huron student needs to be willing to lead not only in their words but by their deeds. We encourage our students to stand up and take an active role in their communities. Second, true leadership must be rooted in principles like empathy, generosity and kindness. What motivates our leadership matters; we want the “heart” of our mission to underpin the leadership skills our students develop.

How does Huron’s strategic growth plan contribute to a unique student experience?

We believe that Huron is nearly ideal at its current size. We will never compromise educational quality or our distinctive mission in order to cram more students into classrooms for financial benefit. That’s why all incoming students are guaranteed a room in Huron’s on-campus residences—including a new, state-of-the-art, $61-million facility slated to open this September.

At the same time, we are dedicated to fostering a diverse community where students benefit from one another’s unique perspectives. Twenty per cent of our student body hail from over 50 countries around the world, while the remainder represents every region of Canada. Huron students have ample opportunity to break out of their bubbles and learn how other people—their friends—learn and live.

Dr. Barry Craig, Huron University President

Can you share an initiative that fosters students’ development as civic-minded leaders?

Huron is proud to be the only university in the country that asks every student to volunteer in the community, whether on campus or on the other side of the world. Our aim is to help develop their empathy and selflessness. I would rather have a student do one hour of genuine service than one hundred hours to tick a box. To that end, we help students find areas of service that they truly care about. It’s all about developing the habit of compassionate leadership.

Can you discuss the importance of maintaining a tight-knit community, small class sizes and one of the highest scholarship-per-student distributions in Canada?

These factors are essential to our mission because we want every member of our community to feel included and involved. We are proud to help students overcome barriers, whether financial or related to disabilities or special requirements. When comparing budget allocations, Huron is pleased to offer double the average in financial aid for students compared to other Canadian universities.

How does Huron’s affiliation with Western University contribute to its value proposition for students?

Western is consistently ranked among the top one per cent of universities in the world. Graduating with a Western degree provides an indisputable advantage to our students, while living and learning in Huron’s tight-knit community adds a valuable dimension to this experience.

To learn more about Huron University, visit huronatwestern.ca.