Knox College, Canada

Our Institutional Vocation

What is Knox College called to be and to do in our time?

Learn about Knox’s mission; its role in provoking, guiding, teaching, and interpreting; and the diverse ministries for which Knox prepares graduates.


Our Principal's Message

John Vissers
John Vissers, Principal
“Knox’s programs are designed to help you think deeply and critically about matters of faith, develop spiritual practices that enable you to live authentically as a follower of Jesus, and train you to lead courageously in shifting spiritual and social landscapes.”
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Acknowledgement of the Land

We wish to acknowledge the land on which Knox College operates. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.


Our History

1844

(Knox College is born)

In colonial Upper Canada, one of the first actions taken by a new fledging denomination (made up of Presbyterians sympathetic to the new Free Church in Scotland) was to create a theological College; Knox College was born. A number of buildings served the College until it constructed its first purpose-built home on Spadina Avenue in 1875.

In 1858, Knox College received its provincial charter, and in 1890, Knox federated with the University of Toronto.

1915

(The move to 59 St. George Street)

With its Spadina Ave building in need of expensive and extensive renovations, the Knox College Board had bought land at 59 St. George Street in 1906, at the centre of the University of Toronto’s St. George Campus. The cornerstone was laid in 1912, and the new Knox College opens its doors to the public on September 29, 1915.

1925

(The Presbyterian vote on Union)

Knox College had been planned as the future seminary of the United Church of Canada, slated to come into being in 1925 with the union of the Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregational churches. Then, when about a third of Presbyterians refused to enter into Union on June 9, 1925, the continuing Presbyterian Church and the United Church entered into a legal battle for ownership over Knox and other properties. When the Ontario Provincial Legislation decided in favour of the continuing Presbyterian Church (but requiring the two churches to share Caven Library), Knox was left with only 5 enrolled students and no Faculty.

1944

(Beginnings of the Toronto School of Theology)

Knox joined with fellow Toronto Protestant theological Colleges to found the Toronto Graduate School for Theological Studies in 1944. In 1969, Knox helped to found the Toronto School of Theology (TST) to provide education for ministerial leadership as well as advanced theological programs. The TST entered into its first memorandum of agreement with the University of Toronto in 1978.

1966

(PCC allows ordination of women)

The PCC General Assembly decided to allow ordination of women for ministry in 1966, making women a far more significant part of Knox’s student body. In 1968, Shirley Jeffery graduated from Knox and became the first woman ordained as a minister in the PCC; and in 1976 the Knox Residence began to admit women. Caroline E. MacLaren had been Knox’s first female graduate back in 1925, winning a post-graduate scholarship for being top of her class.

1991

(Ewart College and Knox amalgamate)

Ewart College, originally known as the Missionary and Deaconess Training School, amalgamated with Knox College in 1991; Ewart College’s legacy continues through the focus on Christian Education at Knox College.

Vision & Values

"Because Knox is known for its sound teaching tradition and supportive community, I believed it was the best school to provide me with a strong theological foundation which would allow me to prepare for advanced degree studies."

— Kiersty H. (K’16)

"I was attracted to Knox College because of its rich history of academic theological study and training. I have found a faculty with genuine pastoral concerns for the academic, spiritual, and pastoral growth of the students."

— Ian M. (K’16)

"I am deeply indebted to the College for the way that I was embraced as a mature student, and for the many ways that supporters of the work of Knox College assisted me in my journey toward ministry. In 2016, I am particularly grateful for the legacy of the men and women who blazed the trail that resulted in the ordination of women in our church fifty years ago. It is on their shoulders that I now stand as a minister of Word and Sacraments in The Presbyterian Church in Canada."

— Monica M. (K’15)

"Overall, my Knox experience is giving me all the skills, confidence, and spiritual strength I need to lead a congregation, wherever God chooses to send me."

— Emily W. (K’19)

"Five years at Knox encouraged me to think critically in my intellectual and faith worlds. Knox taught me that critical thinking does not end up with destruction, but with reconstruction."

— Jinbong C. (K'08)

"Through the ministry field placement that I had to do during the MDiv program, I got an opportunity to be with and minister to youth and young adults. Through that time and experience, God has given me a heart and vocation for the young generation of His church."

— David B. (K'14)

"In the residence, being surrounded by international students from different fields of study, faiths, and cultures was an education in itself, opening me to a better understanding of people from different cultures and religions. This understanding will play a big role in my calling to be a spiritual leader."

— Emily W. (K’19)

"Never stop learning. Never stop engaging. Never stop exploring. Then, you will never stop finding out how much bigger, wider, deeper, and higher our God is."

— David B. (K'14)

"The effect Knox College has had on me is so profound that I realize I can’t go back to the way I was before."

— Emily W. (K’19)

"Do not to hesitate to meet with your teachers. One of great merits of Knox is an intimate and strong relationship between faculty and their students. Don’t be afraid to knock on the door of your teacher’s office. They will give you comfort, encouragement, and wisdom to get through."

— Jinbong C. (K'08)