History & Traditions
Learn about our past • our inspired journey
Ambrose was formed in 2007 when Alliance University College and Nazarene University College joined together to provide new and stronger academic programming to a broader public. In 2008, Ambrose moved to a 40-acre campus in southwest Calgary with capacity to accommodate 1,000 students in its growing program offerings.
Ambrose’s heritage is built on the long histories of educational service of these two institutions.
The name Ambrose was selected in 2006 through a process that involved alumni, students, faculty, and staff.
Our namesake is Ambrose of Milan, a 4th century Christian who was called from a successful career in public office to become head of the Christian church in Milan, Italy.
Ambrose left his mark as a hymn writer, preacher, pastor, and educator and stands as one of the great Christians of his generation: a servant leader in both the church and society. He is an individual who embodies the values of our institution.
The shield roots Ambrose in academic tradition, and represents the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16).
The symbol on the shield represents the spiritual, physical, and relational attributes of Ambrose University. It points to a commitment to the path of knowledge, reflects the mountain peaks visible from the campus, represents an open book, learning, and the interaction between professor and student. It roots learning in divine inspiration from above.
Alliance Higher Education in Canada
The Christian and Missionary Alliance’s commitment to higher education dates back to the vision of its founder, Dr. A.B. Simpson, who established North America’s first Bible school in New York. This educational emphasis resulted in the addition of two educational institutions in Canada during the 1920s.
The Canadian Bible Institute (CBI) was founded in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1941, with an initial class of 50 students meeting in the lower auditorium of the Alliance Tabernacle under the direction of the first president, Rev. Blackett. CBI became Canadian Bible College in 1957.
Nazarene Higher Education in Canada
The Calgary Bible Institute was established on January 3, 1921 in the basement of the Calgary First Church of the Nazarene, with an initial class of 29. In 1927, the school relocated to Red Deer, under the leadership of Rev. Charles Thomson, where it became known as Alberta School of Evangelism, and then Northern Bible College (NBC).
In 1940, NBC changed its name to Canadian Nazarene College (CNC) until its accreditation as a university college in 1999 when it became Canadian Nazarene University College (NUC).
Nazarene University College entered a joint venture with Canadian Bible College in 2002 to fill the need for a Christian-based alternative to public universities.
Since the 1960s, both CBC and CNC had developed relationships with Canadian universities for the purpose of expanding offerings beyond Bible and theology into the arts & sciences. By the 1990s, the desire to create a university built on a foundation of Christian character was translated into action by Dr. George Durance, President of CBC, and Dr. Riley Coulter, President of CNC.
CNC relocated to Calgary in 1995, became a university college in 1999, and changed its name to Nazarene University College (NUC). In 2003, CBC joined NUC on their downtown Calgary campus, receiving provincial accreditation under the name Alliance University College (AUC) in 2004.
In May 2007 AUC and NUC became a single entity, Ambrose University College, with Dr. George Durance as President and Dr. Riley Coulter as Chancellor.
Ambrose relocated to the new campus in southwest Calgary in September 2008.
Dr. George Durance resigned as president in 2009 and Dr. Gordon T. Smith was introduced as President on August 1, 2012.
In 2014, the Province of Alberta granted Ambrose the status of a university, allowing it to be renamed Ambrose University.