At Trent, we meet—and exceed—the expectations of our students

Trent is a unique, academically-rigorous university with supportive learning communities that give students a real voice in shaping their learning.

94% of students

are satisfied with the quality of their education

- Canadian University Survey Consortium, 2012


Distinguished ambassador, Lucie Edwards

Honours B.A. Economics and History (1973)

See how Trent prepared Lucie for a 33 year career in the foreign service

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"Restoring environmental order and eradicating global poverty are the two defining challenges of our era. If we fail in either, we fail in both."

Trent alumna Lucie Edwards describes the day she formally invited Nelson Mandela to become an honorary Canadian as the high point of her career in the Canadian Foreign Service. At the time, Ms. Edwards was Canada's High Commissioner to South Africa, a post she held from 1999 to 2003.

Ms. Edwards, who recently spent a term in residence at Champlain as an Ashley fellow, originally came to the University in 1973. She immediately fell in love with Ron Thom's architecture. "The place ravished me—the site on the river was quintessentially Canadian, but the buildings were in keeping with the best European university traditions. I still love walking around the campus and taking my dogs up the drumlin."

She soon discovered that Trent had much more to offer, including a supportive environment in which her young, curious mind could flourish. "At Trent, there are no rules or traditions that ordain what you can't do. There is a strong creative and permissive spirit and advisors who help you figure out what you want to do."

Her teaching stint at Trent confirmed that Trent is still "a very good place for people who have critical minds and who want to think through problems on their own, in a supportive atmosphere."

She suggests that Trent offers a learning experience unlike that of larger institutions. "You can't get lost at Trent," says Ms. Edwards. "The small group teaching, the emphasis on tutorials, the individual support—you're fully engaged in what's going on at the school. And the college system provides a wonderful community on a scale that is suitable for young people. My closest friends were made at Trent, and I see that close community spirit is still alive and well."

Watch "Inside the Issues" with Lucie Edwards


  • High Commissioner to Kenya (1993–1995)
  • High Commissioner to South Africa (1999–2003)
  • Award of Excellence, Canadian Public Service, for Humanitarian Work in Rwanda 1995
  • High Commissioner to India (2003–2006)
  • Recipient of Trent's Distinguished Alumni Award 2012
  • Ashley Fellow, Trent University (2011–2012)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award of Excellence, Department of Foreign Affairs 2009

Meet more Trent Luminaries

DALAL AL-WAHEIDI, Inspiring a broader world view


Dalal Al-Waheidi '98

As executive director of We Day Global, Dalal Al-Waheidi '98 is using the skills and knowledge she gained as an international student at Trent to challenge the way we think about international development, youth advancement and youth engagement.

Ms. Al-Waheidi grew up in the Gaza Strip in Palestine, and came to Trent in 1998 as a student of International Development Studies (IDS) and Political Studies. During her third year, she took advantage of the Trent-in-Ecuador program to study abroad for a year. This "alternative educational experience" was significant for Ms. Al-Waheidi because "it provided a link between theory and practice."

After graduating from Trent, she was drawn to Free the Children, an organization she learned about through the IDS program at Trent, which works to support efforts to free children from poverty and exploitation through domestic empowerment programs and leadership training. Starting out as an intern, Ms. Al-Waheidi rapidly advanced through the growing organization and played an integral role in shaping its success as one of the world's largest networks of children helping children through education.

Excelling in her previous role as chief operations director, Ms. Al-Waheidi is currently executive director for We Day Global, an initiative of Free the Children which aims to empower a generation of young global citizens

through an inspirational annual event and year-round educational activities. In recognition of her leadership and dedication, Ms. Al-Waheidi was named one of Canada's Top 100 Women in the Future Leaders category by Women's Executive Network in 2006. In 2014, she was named one of RBC's Top 25 Canadian Immigrants by Canadian Immigrant Magazine.

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DR. JAMES ORBINSKI, Humanitarian without limits


Dr. James Orbinski '80

Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. James Orbinski '80 has made a career out of challenging the way we think about global health. As the current CIGI chair in Global Health at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, former International president of Doctors Without Borders, and co-founder of Dignitas International, Dr. Orbinski is a globally recognized humanitarian practitioner and advocate. A leading scholar and scientist, he believes in humanitarianism and citizenship, and in actively engaging and shaping the world in which we live so that it is more humane, fair and just.

Dr. Orbinski graduated from Trent in 1984 with a degree in Psychology. After extensive field experience with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Dr. Orbinski was elected MSF's international president from 1998 to 2001. A veteran of many of the world's most disturbing and complex humanitarian emergencies, he was head of mission both in Zaire during the refugee crisis of 1996–97 and in Rwanda during the civil war and genocide in 1994. He was also medical coordinator in Somalia during the 1992–93 famine and civil war. Dr. Orbinski launched MSF's Access to Essential Medicines Campaign in 1999, and in that same year accepted the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to MSF for its pioneering approach to medical humanitarianism.

His bestselling book, An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-first Century, won the ninth annual Shaughnessy Cohen Prize in 2008, and his career is also chronicled in the documentary film, Triage: Dr. James Orbinski's Humanitarian Dilemma.

In 2010, he was named one of the 25 top transformational Canadians of the Transformational Canadians program sponsored by The Globe and Mail, CTV, La Presse and Cisco. That same year he was also named to the Order of Ontario.

Currently, Dr. Orbinski is the co-founder and chair of Dignitas International, a medical humanitarian organization working to dramatically increase access to life-saving treatment and prevention in areas overwhelmed by HIV/AIDS.

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DR. CATHY BRUCE, Making it all add up


Dr. Cathy Bruce

Professor, School of Education and Professional Learning

An associate professor in the School of Education and Professional Learning, Dr. Bruce coordinates and instructs the mathematics program, helping teacher candidates better understand math, not only preparing them to teach the subject, but also to really enjoy it.

With a deep interest in the improvement of teaching and learning, Dr. Bruce is well known for incorporating learning technologies into her teaching—most notably, the use of interactive whiteboards and iPads. The role that technology can play in creating and mobilizing knowledge is further explored in Dr. Bruce's work leading the Trent Math Education Research Collaborative (TMERC), a team comprising research assistants, teachers and consultants from both public and Catholic school boards from across Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Bruce was recently named one of Ontario's most outstanding university teachers by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.

One of TMERC's current research projects funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) involves using digital video with and for teachers in mathematics classrooms to support professional learning about precise mathematics content and related teaching.

DR. TOM WHILLANS, Champion for ecosystems


Dr. Tom Whillans

Professor, Environmental & Resource Studies

Throughout a career that has spanned more than three decades researching ecosystem development, habitat restructuring, and other issues related to ecological restoration at Trent, Dr. Tom Whillans continues to challenge the way we think about the importance of collaboration and community-based learning.

In 2007, he played a pivotal role in the visionary development of a new joint degree/diploma program in Ecological Restoration, a partnership with Fleming College. The unique program has been hailed as the ideal model for initiatives of its kind. In addition to his leadership in developing new curricula and programs, Dr. Whillans has been called Trent's foremost champion of incorporating community-based research into teaching and learning.

For over 25 years, Dr. Whillans has been creating opportunities for universities to connect and work with community organizations on solutions to environmental issues, notably, establishing and sustaining the Trent Centre for Community Based Education (TCCBE) and its partner organization, the U-Links Centre for Community Based Research in Haliburton County, both of which are internationally recognized. Today, TCCBE and U-Links have become ongoing mechanisms for students, faculty and local organizations to pool their resources and work together on community-inspired research projects that enhance the social, environmental, cultural or economic health of the community.

DR. CÉLINE GUÉGUEN, Arctic Icebreaker


Dr. Céline Guéguen

Canada Research Chair in Aquatic Sciences and Biogeochemistry
Professor, Chemistry

Dr. Guéguen, a Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Aquatic Sciences and Biogeochemistry, joined the University as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry in 2006 and quickly established herself as a leading expert in her field of aquatic science, exploring how growing concentrations of water-borne pollutants are affecting plants and animals in the Arctic.

As part of the 2007/08 International Polar Year, Dr. Guéguen brought an undergraduate student on a research expedition on board the CCGS icebreaker, Louis St. Laurent. The research trip was oriented around the collection, analysis, and tracing of dissolved organic matter (DOM) from various depths and locations in the Canadian Arctic Ocean.

Dr. Guéguen shares her expertise with both undergraduate and graduate students, providing them with once-in-a-lifetime experiences to collaborate on leading-edge research.

This past September, one Trent graduate student had the opportunity to work directly with Dr. Guéguen measuring the carbon content of waters from a research vessel in the Arctic Ocean. Serving as a baseline for future research, this study marked the first time these metals have been measured in the Arctic Ocean and will act as model for the Arctic Ocean to help predict the impact of climate change.

These two projects are part of a larger five-year project funded through a climate change and atmospheric research grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada involving Dr. Guéguen and a team of 20 prestigious researchers from across the country. The research project is the Canadian component of the international GEOTRACES program, which studies biogeochemical cycles in major water basins around the world.

Dr. Robert Wright, Bringing Canadian history to life


Dr. Robert Wright, '79

Professor, History

Historian, bestselling author, screenwriter and Trent alumnus, Dr. Robert Wright challenges the way we think about Canadian history, foreign policy and sovereignty issues.

Dr. Wright, a professor of History at Trent University Oshawa, is the award-winning author of seven books, including two national bestsellers, Three Nights in Havana: Pierre Trudeau, Fidel Castro and the Cold War World (2007), winner of the Lela Common Award for Canadian History, and Our Man in Tehran: Ken Taylor and the Iran Hostage Crisis (2010). The latter book was also turned into a full-length, critically-acclaimed documentary film, which Dr. Wright co-wrote.

Dr. Wright's newest book, The Night Canada Stood Still, an examination of the 1995 Quebec referendum, will be released June 2014.

Always keen to involve his students in his research, Dr. Wright led a team of graduate and undergraduate students of Cuban and North American Relations on a trip to Havana for the National Conference of Canadian Studies in 2008, the first of four consecutive annual trips. The first group found themselves there on the historic day Fidel Castro retired. During this exciting time, Dr. Wright provided his students with an opportunity to present their research and to participate in various activities organized by the Canadian Embassy and the University of Havana. Over the years, Dr. Wright also took his graduate students to Ottawa for tours of the National Archives with friend and senior archivist Paulette Dozois.

Duc Hien Nguyen, Volunteer, Aspiring Economist, International Student


Fourth-year Economics Student

Duc Hien Nguyen is in awe at the way students are challenged to think in and outside of the classroom at Trent University. A fourth-year international student pursuing a degree in Economics with a minor in Philosophy, Mr. Nguyen, who is from Vietnam, studied in Singapore before deciding to come to Trent.

With offers from several other institutions, he chose Trent because of the supportive and welcoming correspondence he got from the Trent International Program, in additional to the generous international student scholarships. And since making the decision to attend Trent, he has never looked back. In his native country, Mr. Nguyen says challenging the status quo is frowned upon. He was taught to follow; not challenge. So it was a surprise to him to be encouraged by his Trent professors to ask questions, but it was a welcome surprise.

Being challenged by his professors and encouraged to challenge them back has given Mr. Nguyen "a passion" for challenge, as well as a keen appreciation for democracy and for Trent's close sense of community. The University's vibrant international student community is another reason why Mr. Nguyen has felt comfortable to take on new experiences. In addition to a full course load, he also holds many volunteer roles, including senior senator at Lady Eaton College, chair of Trent's Student Senate Caucus and a director with the Trent Central Student Association board. Looking ahead, Mr. Nguyen believes his experiences at Trent will open more doors in the future and will have prepared him well for the next steps in his academic career and life after graduation.

Victoria Silvera, Connecting CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY


Fourth-year English and Cultural Studies

Victoria Silvera says Trent's beautiful campus drew her to the University, but it was the people that made her want to stay. Speaking of the professors who keep their students engaged academically, yet still reach out and get to know students personally, she says Trent has provided her "seemingly infinite opportunities" to challenge herself.

As a crossroads for people and ideas from many countries and all walks of life, there is no shortage of diverse perspectives at Trent. The University's inclusive environment has challenged Ms. Silvera to reach out and pursue new ways of thinking, seeing, and understanding the world, and it has helped her to understand that challenge can be a personal and internal practice.

Currently in her fourth year of English and Cultural Studies, Ms. Silvera has volunteered with the Seasoned Spoon, Otonabee College Office and Cabinet, the SPARK photo festival, and Public Energy, and she has been working with the Office of Student Affairs, the Rebound program and the Arthur Newspaper. At Trent, she made it a mission to improve the community she lives in by cultivating both skills and passions. In order to do this, she explored a variety of organizations, campaigns, and groups to find the things that she would love. She has found that even those who come to Trent with a concrete and specific plan for post-graduation leave with more curiosity, drive, and enthusiasm about the endless possibilities that await them in life. Ms. Silvera came to Trent wanting to teach English and Arts. She will leave as a photographer, mentor, graphic designer, athlete, journalist, and leader, due to the support and experiences she found here.