Durham College


In May 1965, Ontario Education Minister Bill Davis established the legislation detailing the establishment of colleges across the province. On October 13, 1966, a board of governors met for Durham College, for the first time. On September 18, 1967, Durham College officially opened, providing 16 portable classrooms, a staff of 14, and 205 students enrolled. Dr. Gordon Willey became the college’s first president. He was a graduate of McMaster University in Honour Mathematics and Physics as well as a graduate from University of Toronto, earning a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry and Metallurgy. He placed emphasis on technology, but arts and business courses were offered at the college as well.

In 1970 and 1971, two permanent buildings were constructed. In September 1971, the cafeteria opened, serving 400 students day and night. By the college’s 10th anniversary, they celebrated growth in the curriculum, offering courses such as health sciences and adult training. There was also an increase in enrolment

When the Region of Durham was created in 1974, Durham College served as its first office.

In 1980, Mel Garland became the second president, continuing the development of the college. New technology was a focus, constructing an exceptional Robotics lab. In 1988, Garland was succeeded by Dr. Gary Polonsky. In the 1990s, Polonsky purchased the Cadbury chocolate factory overlooking Highway 401 which would then be built into Durham College’s Whitby campus. By 1993, the Whitby campus officially opened, offering skilled trades and apprenticeship training.

Over the years, Durham College has established partnerships with York and Trent Universities. Eventually, this led to the establishment of the Durham University Centre in 1996. In 2003, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), now Ontario Tech University, opened at Durham College’s Oshawa campus.

Don Lovisa was named DC’s interim president on May 16, 2008 and took office in as president on January 1, 2009. By this time, Durham College had improved and grew as a college. A variety of more than 100 programs were offered, along with over 7,100 students enrolled.

Over the years, Durham College improved its access to educational opportunities by expanding programs and partnering with different organizations. This continues to be the case today, with the college celebrating its achievements, diverse campuses, and continuing existence.

With information from:


Education in Oshawa: from Settlement to City by J. Douglas Ross, p. 92


Rate and write a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Simcoe Street North 2000
Oshawa L1G 0C5 ON CA
Get directions