Skip to main content Skip to local navigation
Home » Welcome to Vanier College » Vanier College History

Vanier College History

Vanier College is proudly named after General The Right Honourable Georges P. Vanier, one of the most distinguished and socially conscientious Canadians of the 20th century.

In 1911, Vanier was called to the Quebec bar following his education at Loyola College (now called Concordia University) and a law degree from Laval University.

War Effort and Valour

While leading an attack at Chérisy, France, in 1918, Vanier was wounded, resulting in the loss of his right leg. In recognition of his military service, courage and valour, Vanier was awarded the Military Cross twice (in 1916 and 1919) and the Distinguished Service Order (in 1919).

Post-War International Accomplishments and Focus on Youth

In 1928, Georges Vanier was appointed to Canada’s delegation to the newly formed League of Nations (an institutional predecessor to the United Nations) and from 1931 to 1939 served as Secretary to the Office of the High Commissioner in London. His bilingual fluency led to his appointment as Canadian Minister to France and later as Canada’s first Ambassador to France (1939 to 1953). During his tenure in France, he also served as Canada’s representative to the United Nations until his 1953 retirement from Foreign Service.

In September 1959, Vanier was appointed the 19th Governor General of Canada – hence “The Right Honourable” designation – which he used as a platform to recognize youth community involvement (Vanier Awards for Outstanding Young Canadians, 1967); federal, provincial and municipal public service (Vanier Medal of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, 1962); and sports and recreation (Vanier Cup, National Football Championship, Canadian Interuniversity Sport, 1965; Chief Scout of Canada, Scouts Canada, 1959). Vanier would serve as governor general until his death on March 5, 1967. He lies interred in the commemorative chapel at La Citadelle in Quebec City.

Let us remember that no point of view nor any one way of life has any monopoly on virtue. Quite the contrary, the road to ultimate wisdom lies in the comparison, in mutual compassion and understanding. Each of us, individually, has some element of truth, some glimpse of enlightenment to offer all of us. Therefore, when we meet someone’s opinion that is new to us, or people with a tradition that we have not met before, let us look at them with respect, and perhaps with envy, for they know something perhaps we do not and they have achieved a further step towards truth.

— Georges P. Vanier

portrait of georges vanier
graduates in caps and gowns

Vanier College Graduation Composites

Vanier College is proud to have impacted the university experiences of so many accomplished alumni throughout the years. To view our graduate composites, select from the years listed below, or take a walk through the Vanier College main corridor on the Keele Campus.

Vandoo Newspaper

The Vandoo was Vanier College’s student-run newspaper, funded and operated through Vanier College Council.

College Fellows

Our Fellows are faculty and staff members throughout York University who are committed to contributing to the academic and social life of Vanier College.