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Wilfred Laurier University

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Wilfred Laurier University

Coordinates: 43°28′31.21″N 80°31′38.08″W / 43.4753361°N 80.5272444°W / 43.4753361; -80.5272444

Wilfrid Laurier University
File:WLU CoA.jpg
Motto Latin: Veritas Omnia Vincit
Motto in English Truth conquers all
Established 1911 Evangelical Lutheran Seminary of Canada (1911). Subsequent names, Waterloo College of Arts (1925), Waterloo Lutheran University (1960), and now, Wilfrid Laurier University (1973-present).
Type Public
Endowment $41 million[1]
Chancellor Michael Lee-Chin
President Max Blouw
Academic staff 513
Undergraduates 13,900 full-time,
2,000 part-time[2]
Postgraduates 860 full-time,
400 part-time
Location Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Colours Purple      and gold     
Nickname Golden Hawks
Mascot The Golden Hawk
Affiliations AUCC, IAU, COU, AACSB ACU, CIS, CUSID, Fields Institute, OUA, CBIE, CUP
Seal of Wilfrid Laurier University

Wilfrid Laurier University is a public research university located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It also has campuses in Brantford, Ontario, Kitchener, Ontario and Toronto, Ontario and a future proposed campus in Milton, Ontario. It is named in honour of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the seventh Prime Minister of Canada. Laurier offers a full range of undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of fields. Laurier is one of the fastest-growing universities in Canada (enrollment more than doubled from 1997 to 2006). The main campus is located in Waterloo. The City of Waterloo is home to both Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo.[3]


The history of Wilfrid Laurier University dates from 1911, when the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary of Canada [4] opened its doors to students. Waterloo was selected as the location because of the land granted by the citizens and the town administration on the edge of the town, and the fact that Waterloo and Berlin, Ontario (now known as Kitchener) had very large Lutheran populations.

In 1914 the Seminary developed non-theological courses under the name of the Waterloo College School. In 1924 the Waterloo College of Arts was established, offering post-secondary three-year programs.[5] Waterloo College of Arts became affiliated with Western in 1925.

Laurier's school colours of purple and gold originated in 1927: maroon and gold were the colours of Waterloo College, but to honour the link with the University of Western Ontario, whose colours were purple and white, maroon was discarded in favour of purple.

The Waterloo College Chapel features several stained glass windows including `Light of the world` (1941) and `Christ in the garden` (1940) by Robert McCausland Limited.

The University of Waterloo was originally conceived in 1955 as the Waterloo College Associate Faculties (WCAF), a semi-autonomous entity within Waterloo College intended to operate an expanded science program. UW was incorporated as an independent university in 1959.

In 1960, Lutheran church relinquished its sponsorship of Waterloo College. As a church-affiliated institution, Waterloo Lutheran was ineligible for capital funding from the province, and the Lutheran church was in no position to invest heavily in the university. The school also ended its affiliation with Western and was renamed Waterloo Lutheran University. The Lutheran church maintained control of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, which federated with Wilfrid Laurier University.[5]

Wilfrid Laurier University was established by Wilfrid Laurier University Act 1973, which was amended in 2001.[6]

Laurier opened a second campus, in Brantford, Ontario, in 1999, and in 2006 the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work moved from the Waterloo campus to a campus in downtown Kitchener. The Brantford campus is centred on a number of historic properties in the downtown area which have been restored for university use. They include a former Carnegie library, Brantford's 1880 post office, and 1870 mansion, and a 1950 Odeon Theatre. The Kitchener campus is located in the historic and fully renovated former St. Jerome's high school building.

In October 2008, the University was named one of Waterloo Area's Top Employers and featured in the Waterloo Region Record and Guelph Mercury newspapers.[7]

Waterloo Lutheran Seminary continues to operate in affiliation with the University and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.


When Waterloo Lutheran University became a public university, a new name was needed. There were 94 proposed names, among them were Beaver University, Louis Riel University and the Iroquois University of Waterloo. Eventually Wilfrid Laurier University was selected in 1973, but not without controversy, as some students at the time charged that Wilfrid Laurier was a politician of "questionable reputation" who had no connection to the school or the region of Waterloo. There has been speculation over the years that the name Wilfrid Laurier University was chosen mainly to preserve the initials as WLU.[8]

Book publishing

The Wilfrid Laurier University Press, which was founded in 1974, deals with archaeology, military history and sociology/anthropology.[9]


The University is home to 14,116 full-time and part-time undergraduate students, 781 full-time and part-time graduate students and over 500 in faculty and staff,[10] although comparatively small, the university has consistently ranked among Canada's top schools in its category, an honour which is regularly confirmed by Maclean's magazine's annual rankings. The 2008 Macleans rankings placed Laurier fifth overall (first in Ontario) of the 21 Canadian universities in the category of "Primarily Undergraduate" universities.[11]

In 2008, for undergrad programs, the minimum entering average was 80.3% for the arts, 80.8% for science, and 86.3% for business.[12]

The internationally renowned Faculty of Music at Laurier is considered one of the best in the country, with programs in performance, music education, composition, music history, church music, theory and music therapy. In addition, Laurier is home to the Penderecki String Quartet - an internationally recognised group playing largely new compositions. The music faculty boasts two performance spaces - the Theatre Auditorium and the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall (named after the famous contralto and former chancellor of WLU). The faculty also attracts a greater percentage of students from outside Ontario than any other faculty at Laurier. Laurier's Music program boasts the only Masters Degree in Music Therapy. Laurier's strength in "music and business education" is touted as one of the reasons that Waterloo Region is a "powerful educational hub" by former University of Waterloo president, and now Governor-General of Canada, David Johnston.

The university is also home to the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy, the Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies, the Cold Regions Research Centre, and several other research centres.

Laurier is the current headquarters of the Academic Council of the United Nations System (ACUNS) which was previously hosted by Yale, Brown and Dartmouth. The ACUNS goal is to strengthen the study of international organizations and to create strong ties between the academic community and diplomats within international organizations.

Laurier is also a prominent partner in the new Balsillie School of International Affairs, opened in Uptown Waterloo in 2008.

Laurier Library

The Laurier Library holds more than 965,000 print items, more than 240,000 electronic books, more than 25,000 full text electronic journals and databases, thousands of media titles (about 5000 including streaming and DVDs). In addition, the library is a member of the TriUniversity Group of Libraries (University of Waterloo, University of Guelph, Wilfrid Laurier University), through which access to a combined information collection in excess of seven million print items is available.

The Library, in conjunction with The Cord Weekly dating back to 1926.


Laurier offers a variety of different programs through its 6 faculties: Arts, Science, Education, Music, Social Work, and Laurier School of Business & Economics.


Waterloo campus

Laurier's primary campus ("The Waterloo Campus") is located in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. The majority of the University's faculties reside at the Waterloo Campus, including Business, Arts, Science, Music, and Health. Altogether, approximately 15,000 students attend classes at the Waterloo campus.

  • Virtual Tour


Women’s Residences:

  • Clara Conrad Hall (Dormitory-style)

Men’s Residences:

  • C.H. Little House (Dormitory-style)

Co-ed Residences:

  • Bricker Residence (Apartment-style)
  • Bouckaert Hall (Dormitory-style)
  • Euler Residence (Alternative Study Environment, Dormitory-style)
  • King Street Residence (Dormitory-style)
  • King Street North (Apartment-style)
  • King's Court (Apartment-style)
  • Laurier Place Residence (Apartment-style) (Conestogo House, Heidelberg House, St. Agatha House, St. Clements House, and St. Jacobs House)
  • Leupold Residence (Dormitory-style)
  • Lodge Street Residence (Apartment-style)
  • Macdonald House (Dormitory-style)
  • Marshall Street (Apartment-style)
  • Regina Street Residence ( Apartment-style)
  • University Place Residence (Apartment-style)
  • Waterloo College Hall (Dormitory-style)
  • Willison Hall (Dormitory-style)
  • Spruce Street Residence ( Apartment-style)

Brantford campus

Laurier's secondary campus ("The Laurier Brantford Campus") is located in Brantford, Ontario, approximately 50 km south of the main campus in Waterloo. The campus opened its doors in 1999 with a total of 39 students in its inaugural year. As of 2010, over 3,600 students were enrolled at the school.


  • Grand River Hall
  • Post House
  • Rizzo Building
  • Wilkes House
  • Lawyer's Hall
  • Lucy Marco Place
  • Imperial Hall
  • 142 Nelson Street
  • Expositor Place

Kitchener campus

In the Fall of 2006 the Faculty of Social Work (previously on the Waterloo campus) moved to downtown Kitchener. Located on Duke St. it moved into the old St. Jerome's High School which was designated a heritage site by the City of Kitchener. This move allowed the students to be closer to the community and social service agencies with which they are partnered. Also in an effort to partner better with the community and make the building more welcoming, faculty and staff held such events as the Political Coffee House Series, several all-candidates debates and the Expressions of Social Justice Festival


The university is represented in Canadian Interuniversity Sport by the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks.

The history of the team name (Golden Hawks) dates back to the 1961. For many years, the Waterloo College teams were called simply the Waterloo College teams, although sometimes they were called the Purple and Gold and other times the Waterloons. In 1950, the college's newspaper mused that a name was needed, and in December 1951 a new name was tested: the Mules.[13]

Subsequently, the hockey team became the Ice Mules and the women's basketball and volleyball teams were known as the Mulettes.

In 1960, with the shift from college to university status, the university student newspaper again lobbied for change. At a meeting that year, somebody suggested Golden Hawks and that was the name adopted. A headline in the January 16, 1961 issue of the newspaper read "From 'Jackass' to 'Bird of Prey'".[14]

On November 13, 2004, the Golden Hawks football team won the Yates Cup against the McMaster Marauders at University Stadium in front of a record crowd of 8,175. It was the sixth Yates Cup victory for Laurier in its history. The game also ended McMaster's four-year Ontario championship winning streak. The men's football team scored a second successive Yates Cup victory in November, 2005, followed by a victory in the Uteck Bowl against Acadia. The Hawks then defeated the University of Saskatchewan Huskies 24-23 to win the 2005 Vanier Cup, their first since 1991.

Laurier's first female national championship was won in 1992 by the women's soccer team, which followed that up with their second CIS title in 1995. The men's soccer team claimed back-to-back national championships in 2000 & 2001.[15]

In 2007 the women's lacrosse team achieved a dynasty status by winning their fifth OUA Ontario University Athletics gold medal in a row. In February 2008, the women's hockey team claimed its fifth gold medal in as many years and seventh since 1998. The women's hockey team won its first CIS national championship in 2005. Both teams have since won sixth consecutive championships in their respective sports, furthering their dynasties.

In 2008 both the men's and women's curling teams won the inaugural CIS Championships and represented Canada in China at the 2009 World University Games. The women's team repeated as CIS Champion's in 2009 in Montreal and went on to represent Canada in the Karuizawa International Curling championships where they claimed first place.[16]


The athletic facilities at Wilfrid Laurier University include an Athletic Complex, a Football Stadium and an outdoor multi-purpose fieldturf field. The Athletic Complex houses 3 Gyms, 2 Squash Courts, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a Rock Climbing Wall, and Aerobics/Weight Rooms. University Stadium includes a fieldturf football field and a large indoor gymnasium.[17] The swimming pool underwent a $2 million renovation in 2009/2010.[18] In 2007, University Stadium underwent a $5 Million renovation.[19]

Students' Union

The Students' Union is funded by undergraduate student fees, and all students are automatically members of the Students' Union. Their mission is to enhance the holistic student experience at Wilfrid University by providing innovative resources and effective representation within a safe and empowering campus community.[20] The Students' Union provides a number of services for students, including bus passes, Direct2U Prescription, emergency response team, food bank, foot patrol, health and dental insurance coverage, the member card, peer help line, student life line, and tech share.[21] The Wilfrid Laurier University Students' Union Clubs and Associations department supports over 130 clubs and associations involving over 3,000 students. Clubs and Associations supports all clubs by offering resources and financial support as well as acting as a liaison to the Students' Union and University administration.[22]

Fight song

The original Wilfrid Laurier University fight song was composed by M.A. Magee (BA 1938), with words by W.H. Johns, as "Waterloo We'll Praise Thee Ever" - in reference to Laurier's origins as Waterloo College. It was re-released in 2005 with "Laurier" replacing "Waterloo" in the lyrics to avoid confusion with neighbouring University of Waterloo. The modern lyrics are as follows:

Laurier we'll praise thee ever
as in the days of old,
We will always keep on high,
The purple and the gold, the gold
Ever will thy sons and daughters
praise thee day by day
We will always hold thy name in rev'rence
We will battle on to victory
As the years roll by,
Carrying thy standard bravely
Holding it on high,
Ever will we sing thy praises
Praise thee every day
No one e'er shall bring thy name dishonour

University people

See also


External links

  • Official website
  • Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada profile
  • Scholars Commons @ Laurier
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