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History & Traditions
Learn about our past and discover what’s inspired us
The name Ambrose was selected in 2006 through a process that involved alumni, students, faculty, and staff.
Our namesake is Ambrose of Milan, a 4th century Christian who was called from a successful career in public office to become head of the Christian church in Milan, Italy.
Ambrose left his mark as a hymn writer, preacher, pastor, and educator and stands as one of the great Christians of his generation: a servant leader in both the church and society. He is an individual who embodies the values of our institution.
The shield roots Ambrose in academic tradition, and represents the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16).
The symbol on the shield represents the spiritual, physical, and relational attributes of Ambrose University. It points to a commitment to the path of knowledge, reflects the mountain peaks visible from the campus, represents an open book, learning, and the interaction between professor and student. It roots learning in divine inspiration from above.
Ambrose was formed in 2007 when Alliance University College and Nazarene University College joined together to provide new and stronger academic programming to a broader public. In 2008, Ambrose moved to a 40-acre campus in southwest Calgary with capacity to accommodate 1,000 students in its growing program offerings.
Ambrose’s heritage is built on the long histories of educational service of these two institution.
Alliance Higher Education in Canada
The Christian and Missionary Alliance’s commitment to higher education dates back to the vision of its founder, Dr. A.B. Simpson, who established North America’s first Bible school in New York. This educational emphasis resulted in the addition of two educational institutions in Canada during the 1920s.
The Canadian Bible Institute (CBI) was founded in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1941, with an initial class of 50 students meeting in the lower auditorium of the Alliance Tabernacle under the direction of the first president, Rev. Blackett. CBI became Canadian Bible College in 1957.
Nazarene Higher Education in Canada
The Calgary Bible Institute was established on January 3, 1921 in the basement of the Calgary First Church of the Nazarene, with an initial class of 29. In 1927, the school relocated to Red Deer, under the leadership of Rev. Charles Thomson, where it became known as Alberta School of Evangelism, and then Northern Bible College (NBC).
In 1940, NBC changed its name to Canadian Nazarene College (CNC) until it’s accreditation as a university college in 1999 when it became Canadian Nazarene University College (NUC).
Nazarene University College entered a joint venture with Canadian Bible College in 2002 to fill the need for a Christian-based alternative to public universities.
Since the1960s, both CBC and CNC had developed relationships with Canadian universities for the purpose of expanding offerings beyond Bible and theology into the arts & sciences. By the 1990s, the desire to create a university built on a foundation of Christian character was translated into action by Dr. George Durance, President of CBC, and Dr. Riley Coulter, President of CNC.
CNC relocated to Calgary in 1995, became a university college in 1999, and changed its name to Nazarene University College (NUC). In 2003, CBC joined NUC on their downtown Calgary campus, receiving provincial accreditation under the name Alliance University College (AUC) in 2004.
In May 2007 AUC and NUC became a single entity, Ambrose University College, with Dr. George Durance as President and Dr. Riley Coulter as Chancellor.
Ambrose relocated to the new campus in southwest Calgary in September 2008.
Dr. George Durance resigned as president in 2009 and Dr. Gordon T. Smith was introduced as President on August 1, 2012.
In 2014, the Province of Alberta granted Ambrose the status of a university, allowing it to be renamed Ambrose University.
Timeline of Higher Education in Canada
|Nazarene||Alliance||Nazarene & Alliance Together|
1921 Established as the Calgary Bible Institute in Calgary, AB
1927 Relocated to Red Deer, AB. and renamed the Alberta School of Evangelism
1929 Renamed Northern Bible College and new campus constructed
1940 Conferred degrees in theology. Renamed Canadian Nazarene College (CNC)
1961 Relocated to Winnipeg, MB
1973 Became an Approved Teaching Centre of the University of Manitoba
1994 The Board of Governors decided to relocate CNC to Calgary, AB
1995 Classes began in leased office space in downtown Calgary
1999 Accredited as a university college. Renamed Canadian Nazarene University College (NUC)
2002 NUC enters a joint venture with CBC/CTS
2007 NUC joins AUC to form a single entity called Ambrose University College
1941 Canadian Bible Institute (CBI) is established in Regina, SK
1949 CBI is chartered by the Saskatchewan government and called Western Canadian Bible Institute (WCBI)
1957 WCBI is renamed Canadian Bible College (CBC) of The Christian and Missionary Alliance
1970 Canadian Theological College (CTC) is established.
1982 CTC is renamed Canadian Theological Seminary (CTS)
1989 CTS is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools
1999 CTS–Langley is established as part of the ACTS consortium of seminaries at TWU in BC
2000 The Board of Governors decides to relocate the campus to Calgary, AB. CTS–Toronto is established
2002 CBC/CTS enters a joint venture with NUC in Calgary
2003 Campus is relocated to Calgary to share facilities with NUC
2004 Alberta’s Minister of Learning designates AUC as an institution that may grant Bachelor of Arts degrees
2007 AUC joins NUC to form a single entity called Ambrose University College
2007 AUC and NUC form a single entity called Ambrose University College
2008 Ambrose University College relocates from temporary facilities in downtown Calgary to a new campus in southwest Calgary
2009 Lion's Futsal enters Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) for Winter 2010
2011 Canadian Chinese School of Theology at Ambrose Seminary is launched
2014 Province of Alberta grants 'university' nomenclature to Ambrose - Ambrose University College is renamed Ambrose University
2014 Lions Volleyball enters Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) for Fall 2014
2015 Lions Basketball enters Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) for Fall 2015