30 Years of NUSU

Nipissing University Student Union


Our Story

The North Bay Normal School opened in 1909, and had an enrolment of 25 students upon opening. A Normal School was an institution in which high school graduates were trained and educated to become teachers. 

It opened in North Bay to meet the need of training teachers for the communities within Northern Ontario. The North Bay Normal School was the foundation and roots of a post-secondary educational institution in the city of North Bay.

In 1953, the North Bay Normal School was renamed North Bay Teachers’ College after a decision by the Department of Education to rename the normal schools to better reflect their purpose as institutions for the professional education of teachers.

In September 1972 the college moved from its downtown location to the College Education Centre (today Nipissing University and Canadore College’s North Bay campus), which had just been built to house it and three other local colleges: Nipissing College, Canadore College, and Saint Joseph’s School of Nursing.

After decades of campaigning to bring post secondary education to North Bay, Nipissing College opened its doors in 1967. The college was located on the renovated site of the former Cassellholme Home for the Aged near the intersection of Cassells Street and Olive Street.  

Affiliated with Laurentian University, Nipissing College had 49 students in its first year with courses in Biology, Philosophy, History, Geography, Sociology, English and French. 

In 1973, the college moved to its current location on the escarpment. The North Bay Teacher’s College joined Nipissing to become the Faculty of Education. Around this time Nipissing College President Dr. George Zytaruk subtly added the word University by referring to the institution as Nipissing University College. 

On September 1st, 1973, North Bay Teachers’ College was formally integrated into Nipissing University College, becoming the new Faculty of Education and ceasing operation as an independent institution.

In 1992, Nipissing University College, along with the Faculty of Education, received its charter allowing it to become an independent degree-granting institution known as Nipissing University. 

Degree programs such as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Administrative Studies, Economics, English, Environmental Geography, Geography, History, Psychology, Sociology, and Social Welfare, as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Liberal Science, and Bachelor of Education. 

Nipissing University’s First Student Union
Back row: (Left to Right) Rich Clements, Craig Stevens, Darrin Crowder, Joe LeBlanc. Front row: (Left to Right) Steve Hamilton, Ian Roberts
Stephen Hamilton was the first President of NUSU, graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1995.

Since 1992, Nipissing University has grown its facilities, programs, and faculty. 

Currently, Nipissing consists of approximately 182 full-time and 70 part-time faculty members.

The campus has also expanded with new state-of-the-art buildings including the Harris Learning Library, the R.J. Surtees Student Athletics Centre, and the NUSU Student Centre.  

Opening in 2001, the R.J.S. Athletics Centre is one of the most modern and state of the art facilities, in Ontario, offering everything you need to stay active. The building is located in the heart of campus next to our artificial turf field, making it easy to cheer on our Lakers athletes. 


Outdoor facilities include an artificial turf field used by the soccer and lacrosse teams as well as flag football and ultimate Frisbee intramural sports. The gymnasium inside features volleyball, basketball, squash, and badminton courts. Stop to admire the living wall on your way to the cardio, weight rooms or Zumba class in one of the fitness studios.

The Harris Learning Library opened in 2011 and gets roughly 740 visitors per day, and 169,203 visitors each year - serving Nipissing University and Canadore College Students, Staff and Faculty at the North Bay and Parry Sound campuses. It is home to thousands of online and print resources.


After 20 years, The Wall Bar and Grillhouse, located on the Nipissing University and Canadore College Main Campus, closed its doors on April 20th, 2016.

In 2018, NUSU and Nipissing University announced that the new Student Centre project. A multi-use facility for students, faculty and the North Bay community, situated at the corner of College Drive and Monastery Road.


The Nipissing University Student Centre Groundbreaking Ceremony in 2018
(Left to Right) Jade Nighbor Alumni Advisory Board President, Anthony Rota Nipissing-Timiskaming MP, Al McDonald North Bay Mayor, Daniel Goulard NUSU President, Dr. Denyse Lafrance Horning Teaching Chair Experiential Learning, Dr. Mike DeGagne Nipissing University President, and Vic Fedeli Nipissing MPP and Minister of Finance.

Designed by North Bay firm Mitchell Jensen Architects and opened September 17th, 2021. Photography by Scott Norsworthy.

The new two-storey building is a centrepiece for both the University and the Student Union, providing much-needed student space and services, in a warm and welcoming environment.

The NUSU Student Centre includes the Reflection Gallery, NUSU’s offices, a retail space, the Bay Bistro Restaurant, On The Rocks Nightclub, the Alumni Lounge, the Student Food Bank, as well as a wide variety of gathering, study, and meeting spaces. Safety and the well-being of patrons is the top priority.


Bay Bistro offers a wide variety of menu options as well as a bar. On The Rocks Nightclub has a capacity of up to 500 people and is available for University and community events and conferences.


T-Shirts and Colouring Books are available at NUSU’s Front Desk.

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