According to its mission statement, Brescia University College:
is a Catholic college in the Ursuline tradition,
educates women to think critically and to participate actively in society.
is a student-centred community,
prepares graduates to respond with wisdom, justice and compassion to a changing world.
Brescia University College is the only university-level women’s college in Canada. Brescia was founded in 1919 as Ursuline College by the Ursulines. It was originally located in an old converted house downtown London, Ontario (556 Wellington Street). It was founded as a Roman Catholic affiliate of the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. From the beginning, the graduates have always received University of Western Ontario degrees. The Ursuline Sisters named the Roman Catholic college after the Italian city of Brescia where their religious institute was founded. The first class was of seven young women who each paid $50 for tuition. The Ursuline Superior General, Mother Clare Gaukler, bought the land Brescia is on today (1285 Western Road London, Ontario). Construction began in 1923 and opened for classes and residence only in 1925. Brescia Hall was the first building; it was built by contractor Joseph Michael Piggot. Brescia Hall was later renamed « Ursuline Hall ». Ursuline College was renamed « Brescia College » in 1963, and in 2001 renamed « Brescia University College ».
Brescia was known as a liberal arts school and the courses taught were: English, French, Spanish, Philosophy, History, Classics, and Religious Knowledge. Brescia students took other courses such as Science, Mathematics, Political Economy at Western. Over time, Brescia adapted some of the courses (e.g., Philosophy) to be appropriate for Catholic women. In 1936, a Home Economics program was begun, it evolved into what is known today as the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences. In September 2007, Brescia started the first graduate program.