King’s University College at Western University is now separate from the diocese of London, though a relationship will remain between the two. Register file photo

King’s goes it alone

  • January 9, 2014

King’s University College at London, Ont.’s Western University walks into its 60th anniversary as a newly incorporated institution, separate from the diocese of London.

Though this Catholic college was a joint vision between the diocese and Western University, since being established in 1954, King’s has been owned by the diocese. In 1972, King’s took over its own operations and governance.

As of Dec. 31, King’s is an autonomous corporation and Catholic post-secondary institution, though it still remains academically affiliated with Western.

It’s not being totally cut off from the diocese however. Some seats on its board of directors will remain occupied by clergy, said David Sylvester, King’s principal. He adds that not only is the college incorporated under civil law, but also under canonical law.

“So we’re still part of the Church. We’re considered a canonical person under the Church,” he said. “Almost every Catholic university in North America and (Catholic) hospital has gone through this incorporation where a board of directors takes over from a diocese or religious order.”

King’s will be the official owner of King’s relevant land and buildings.

Sylvester says the existing funding structure of the college will not change, except that being separated from the diocese will open it to a broader range of one-time grants available to universities from different provincial and federal ministries. The college does not receive funding from the diocese, though in the past it has received funds from donors and grants from the Ontario Ministry of Education.

As a Catholic university, Sylvester says King’s maintains its relationship with Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Pope John Paul II’s document on the Catholic university being born from the heart of the Church, incorporating the document into the college’s bylaws.

“And not a lot people know this, (but) our affiliation agreement with Western requires us to keep our denominational status,” said Sylvester.

He added that King’s will also continue to express its Catholic identity with a “strong commitment to social justice and peace” and a “tremendous campus ministry that serves not only the King’s community but the whole Western community.”

“This is like the feather in the cap,” said Sylvester. “To achieve incorporation is recognition and affirmation of the good work that King’s has been doing, but also an affirmation of the potential of King’s and our goal to be the best Catholic university in the country.”

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