The university was founded on 7 March 1878 by Bishop Isaac Hellmuth of the Anglican Diocese of Huron as "The Western University of London Ontario." It incorporated Huron University College, which had been founded in 1863. The first four faculties were Arts, Divinity, Law and Medicine. The Western University of London became non-denominational in 1908.
Western's co-educational student body of over 24,000 represents 107 countries and Western scholars have established research and education collaborations and partnerships on every continent. There are more than 306,000 alumni who are active internationally, living and working around the globe. Notable alumni include government officials, academics, business leaders, Nobel Laureates, Rhodes Scholars, and distinguished fellows.