Humber was established in 1967 under its founding President, Gordon Wragg. The first new section of Humber College opened on Monday September 11, 1967 at James S. Bell Elementary School, a public school on Lake Shore Boulevard West. The Lakeshore Campus began with the addition of the manpower retraining programs on Queen Elizabeth Way in Etobicoke. In November 1968, North Campus was officially opened by Mayor Edward A. Horton of Etobicoke and Mayor Jack Moulton of York. In the early 1970s, student enrollment was rapidly increasing which led Humber to expand its business and technology programs at both the North and Lakeshore Campuses. Humber College had the largest group of business students in the province. Three year co-op programs were developed in the early 1970s in a range of technology and business programs. Humber became Canada’s largest college with over 27,000 full-time and 50,000 part-time learners.
By the early 1980s Humber was developing new programs to respond to business and industry demands by focusing on flexibility in class schedules, including a weekend College. Its skill-based training courses included self-paced programming and, along with Holland College in Prince Edward Island, became one of the National Centers for industry driven DACUM curriculum. Humber introduced flexible manufacturing and was a pioneer in introducing computer applications in technology programs. Lakeshore Campus, at its new permanent location on the lakeshore, was the first college to introduce a solar technology program to respond to the needs of that growing industry of the time. Humber had a large international outreach program, working in over 20 countries. With the assistance of ADB, the Government of Canada (CIDA), it developed the largest international program of all of the Canadian colleges by 1987, introducing the concept of responsive tertiary education to countries throughout Africa and Asia.
In 1983 the campus was used for filming of the first Police Academy film, which was released the following year.
After the mid-1980s, the college concentrated more on arts and applied arts programs and refocused its energy on internal processes rather than program innovation and on local rather than national or international activities. It is an Ontario Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.
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