Wilfrid Laurier University

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

Wilfrid Laurier University
WLU CoA.jpg
Former names
Evangelical Lutheran Seminary of Canada (1911), Waterloo College of Arts (1925), Waterloo Lutheran University (1960)
Motto Veritas Omnia Vincit
Motto in English
Truth conquers all
Established 1973
Type Public
Endowment $71.6 million
Chancellor Michael Lee-Chin
President Max Blouw
Academic staff
Undergraduates 17,000 full-time,
1,541 part-time [2]
Postgraduates 1,000 full-time,
610 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
Website www.wlu.ca
Seal of Wilfrid Laurier University

Wilfrid Laurier University (commonly referred to as Laurier or WLU), is a Canadian public research university located in the heart of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Laurier has several other campuses, such as in Toronto, Ontario (Canada's largest city), Brantford, Ontario, Kitchener, Ontario and in Chongqing, China.[3] 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 in Waterloo sits in the heart of the "Silicon Valley North" of Canada, as the "KW" area and Ontario more broadly speaking has the largest concentration of tech companies in North America apart from California.[4] [5]

Laurier landmark sign, at the corner of King Street North and Bricker Avenue
Laurier Food Court
Laurier Central Garden with Sir Wilfrid Laurier statue


Schlegel Centre (Laurier's business school)

The history of Wilfrid Laurier University dates from 1911, when the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary of Canada[6] 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.[7] 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 main campus in Waterloo

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.[7]

Wilfrid Laurier University was established by Wilfrid Laurier University Act 1973, which was amended in 2001.[8]

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.[9]

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 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.[10]

Book publishing[edit]

The Wilfrid Laurier University Press, which was founded in 1974, deals with archaeology, military history and sociology/anthropology.[7] Wilfrid Laurier University Press is one of only 17 university publishers found in Canada.[11]


University rankings
Global rankings
Wilfird Laurier University
Canadian rankings
Maclean's Comprehensive[12] 10

The University is home to around 16,000 full-time and part-time undergraduate students, 781 full-time and part-time graduate students and over 500 in faculty and staff.[13] 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 2013 Macleans rankings placed Laurier fifth overall (first in Ontario) of the 21 Canadian universities in the category of "Primarily Undergraduate" universities.[14]

Home of Faculty of Social Work, downtown Kitchener. Formerly St. Jerome's high school.

In 2012, for undergrad programs, the minimum entering average was 84.3% for the arts, 83.8% for science, and 87.5% for business (89% in 2014).[15] 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 Laurier). 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.[citation needed]

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.[16] [17]

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. The school offers three programs: a masters in arts in global governance, a masters in international public policy and a PhD program in global governance.[18]

Laurier Library[edit]

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 5,000 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 Wilfrid Laurier University Press, hosts Scholars Commons @ Laurier, an institutional repository that aims to support open scholarly communication, collaboration, and lasting visibility and recognition for Laurier scholarship. It houses faculty scholarship, theses, dissertations, online journals, and an archival collection of The Cord 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[edit]

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.


King Street Residence

Laurier Waterloo operates one all female residence (Conrad Hall), one all male residence (Little House), and ten co-ed student residences: Bouckaert Hall, Bricker Residence, Euler Residence, King’s Court Residence, King Street Residence, Leupold Residence, Macdonald House, Marshall Street Apartments, Regina Residence, Spruce Street Apartments, University Place Residence, Waterloo College Hall, and Willison Hall. Together, these residences house approximately 2,780 men and women, with 2,664 beds reserved for undergraduate first-year students.[19]

When applying to residences, students can choose to be a part of a Residence Learning Community, a themed residence environment where all members share a common interest, major, or coursework. These communities are designed to extend opportunities for learning and development beyond the classroom, mainly through networking opportunities with peers, faculty, and staff. Residence Life currently operates the following communities: Glocal: Thinking Global, Acting Local, Innovation: Entrepreneurship, Languages and Literatures, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science, Singer and Songwriter, The Reel World: English and Film Studies, and Vimy Hall: War, Memory and the Canadian Military Experience. [20]

Brantford campus[edit]

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
  • Expositor Place

(all of which are apartment style)

Kitchener campus[edit]

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.[21]

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'".[22]

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.[23]

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.[24]


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 three Gyms, two 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.[25] The swimming pool underwent a $2 million renovation in 2009/2010.[26] In 2007, University Stadium underwent a $5 Million renovation.[27]

Students' Union[edit]

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.[28] 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.[29] 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.[30]

Tuition Costs[edit]

For the 2014-2015 academic year, tuition costs are $5,980/year for non-business majors and $7,905/year for business majors (for domestic students).[31]

University people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://cudo.ouac.on.ca/api/get-data.php?table=17&univ=33&year=2012&header=1
  2. ^ http://legacy.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=12015&p=14901
  3. ^ http://wlu.ca/about/campuses-locations-maps/index.html
  4. ^ http://business.financialpost.com/2013/05/15/why-three-innovators-are-running-their-companies-in-waterloo-instead-of-silicon-valley/?__lsa=1c55-851b
  5. ^ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/canadian-university-report/do-employers-recruit-from-your-school/article4620590/
  6. ^ http://www.wlu.ca/~wwwsem/index.shtml
  7. ^ a b c "Wilfrid Laurier University". The Canadian Encyclopedia. 
  8. ^ http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=158&p=2235 Wilfrid Laurier University Act.
  9. ^ "Reasons for Selection, 2009 Waterloo Area's Top Employers Competition". 
  10. ^ Cote, Kris: "The Cord History: The tie that's bound WLU for 80 years", page 13. Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publication, 2006.
  11. ^ http://www.acup.ca/
  12. ^ "2014 Primarily Undergraduate University Ranking". Maclean's. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  13. ^ http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=12015&p=14901
  14. ^ http://www.macleans.ca/education/rankings.jsp
  15. ^ Liu, Karon: "High grades for school spirit", 24 Hours Toronto, page 16. Monday September 15, 2008.
  16. ^ http://coldregions.ca/about/
  17. ^ http://canadianmilitaryhistory.ca/publications/our-books/
  18. ^ http://www.balsillieschool.ca/
  19. ^ http://waterloo.mylaurier.ca/residence/info/resbldgs/wluresidences.htm
  20. ^ http://waterloo.mylaurier.ca/reslife/info/residence_learning_communities.htm
  21. ^ "Laurier Trivia Challenge". The Cord Weekly. Archived from the original on 2008-02-20. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  22. ^ "The Golden Hawk - How Laurier's official mascot came to be". Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  23. ^ "Championships captured". Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  24. ^ "Women's Curling claims gold in Japan". Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  25. ^ "Facilities". Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  26. ^ "Laurier pool receives $2 Million in Federal and Provincial Funding". 2009-06-29. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  27. ^ "University Stadium". Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  28. ^ http://www.wlusu.com/aboutus-section/what-is-the-students-union
  29. ^ http://www.wlusu.com/services/
  30. ^ http://www.wlusu.com/blog-section/about-clubs
  31. ^ http://legacy.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=12015&p=14901

External links[edit]