University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo
Former names
Waterloo College Affiliated Faculties (1956–1959)[1]
Motto Latin: Concordia cum veritate
Motto in English
In harmony with truth
Type Public university
Established 4 July 1956[1]
Endowment $335.731 million[2]
Chancellor Tom Jenkins
President Feridun Hamdullahpur
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Undergraduates 30,600[4]
Postgraduates 5,300[4]
Location Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
43°28′8″N 80°32′24″W / 43.46889°N 80.54000°W / 43.46889; -80.54000Coordinates: 43°28′8″N 80°32′24″W / 43.46889°N 80.54000°W / 43.46889; -80.54000
Campus Urban, 450 hectares (1,100 acres)[5][6]


Athletics CIS, OUA
27 varsity teams
Nickname Waterloo Warriors
Mascot King Warrior[8]
Affiliations ACU, ATS, CARL, CBIE, CIS, COU, CUP, CUSID, Fields Institute, IAU, U15, UC.

The University of Waterloo (commonly referred to as Waterloo, UW or UWaterloo) is a public research university with a main campus located in Waterloo, Ontario. The main campus is located on 404 hectares (1,000 acres) of land in "Uptown" Waterloo, adjacent to Waterloo Park. The university offers academic programs administered by six faculties and ten faculty-based schools. The university also operates four satellite campuses and four affiliated university colleges.[3] Waterloo is a member of the U15, a group of research-intensive universities in Canada.[9] University of Waterloo is most famous for its cooperative education (co-op) programs, which allow the students to integrate their education with applicable work experiences. University of Waterloo operates the largest post secondary co-op program of its kind in the world, with over 19,000 co-op students and 5,200 employers.

The institution was established on 1 July 1957 as the Waterloo College Associate Faculties, a semi-autonomous entity of Waterloo College, then an affiliate of the University of Western Ontario.[10] This entity formally separated from Waterloo College and was incorporated as a university with the passage of the University of Waterloo Act by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in 1959.[11] It was established to fill the need to train engineers and technicians for Canada's growing postwar economy. It grew substantially over the next decade, adding a faculty of arts in 1960, and the College of Optometry of Ontario which moved from Toronto in 1967.[11]

The university is co-educational, and as of 2016 has 30,600 undergraduate and 5,300 postgraduate students.[4] Alumni and former students of the university can be found across Canada and in over 140 countries.[3] The university ranked 200-300th in the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities,[12] 152nd in the 2015–2016 QS World University Rankings,[13] and 179th in the 2015–2016 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[14] Waterloo's varsity teams, known as the Waterloo Warriors, compete in the Ontario University Athletics conference of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport.


"The greatest product which we will realize from our electronic era is the better educated race. This applies to all fields — not just the field of science."

Ira Needles, 1956[15]

The University of Waterloo traces its origins to Waterloo College, the academic outgrowth of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, which was affiliated with the University of Western Ontario since 1925.[16] When Gerald Hagey assumed the presidency of Waterloo College in 1953, he made it his priority to procure the funds necessary to expand the institution. While the main source of income for higher education in Ontario at the time was the provincial government, the Ontario government made it clear that it would not contribute to denominational colleges and universities.[17]

Hagey soon became aware of the steps undertaken by McMaster University to make itself eligible for some provincial funding by establishing Hamilton College as a separate, non-denominational college affiliated with the university.[17] Following that method, Waterloo College established the Waterloo College Associate Faculties on 4 April 1956, as a non-denominational board affiliated with the college.[1] The academic structure of the Associated Faculties was originally focused on co-operative education in the applied sciences – largely built around the proposals of Ira Needles. Needles proposed a different approach towards education, including both studies in the classroom and training in industry that would eventually become the basis of the university's cooperative education program.[18] While the plan was initially opposed by the Engineering Institute of Canada and other Canadian universities, notably the University of Western Ontario, the Associated Faculties admitted its first students in July 1957.[19] On 25 January 1958, the Associated Faculties announced the purchase of over 74 hectares (180 acres) of land west of Waterloo College. By the end of the same year, the Associated Faculties opened its first building on the site, the Chemical Engineering Building.[20]

In 1959, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario passed an act which formally split the Associated Faculties from Waterloo College, and re-established it as the University of Waterloo.[21] The governance was modelled on the University of Toronto Act of 1906, which established a bicameral system of university government consisting of a senate, responsible for academic policy, and a board of governors exercising exclusive control over financial policy and having formal authority in all other matters. The president, appointed by the board, was to act as the institution's chief executive officer and act as a liaison between the two groups.[22]

Constructed in 1958, the Douglas Wright Engineering Building is the oldest building erected for use by the university.

The legislative act was the result of a great deal of negotiation between Waterloo College, Waterloo College Associated Faculties, and St. Jerome's College, another denominational college in the City of Waterloo. While the agreements sought to safeguard the existence of the two denominational colleges, they also aimed at federating them with the newly established University of Waterloo.[23] Due to disagreements with Waterloo College, the College was not formally federated with the new university. The dispute centred on a controversially worded section of the University of Waterloo Act, 1959, in which the College interpreted certain sections as a guarantee that it would become the Faculty of Art for the new university. This was something that the Associated Faculties was not prepared to accept.[24] As a result of the controversy, Waterloo College's entire Department of Mathematics broke away from the College to join the newly established University of Waterloo, later joined by professors from the Economic, German, Modern Languages, and Russian departments.[25] Despite this controversy, until 1960 Hagey hoped that a last-minute compromise between Waterloo College and the University could be achieved. Ultimately, however, the University created its own Faculty of Arts in 1960.[26] It later established the first Faculty of Mathematics in North America on 1 January 1967.[27] In 1967, the world's first department of kinesiology was created.[28] The present legislative act which defines how the university should be governed, the University of Waterloo Act, 1972 was passed on 10 May 1972.[29]

Although the coat of arms was in use since the 1960s, the arms were finally registered with Lord Lyon King of Arms in August 1987.[30] In February 1995, the former president of the university, James Downey, signed the Tri-University Group (TUG) agreement between Wilfrid Laurier University, and the University of Guelph. Signed in a period of fiscal constraint, and when ageing library systems required replacing, the TUG agreement sought to integrate the library collections and services of the three universities.[31]

Twenty-first century

In 2001, the university announced that it would develop the Waterloo Research and Technology Park in the north campus. The park was planned to house many of the high-tech industries in the area, and is supported by the university, the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, the provincial and federal governments, and Canada's Technology Triangle.[32] The aim was to provide businesses with access to the university's faculty, co-operative education students, and alumni, as well as the university's infrastructure and resources.[33] Groundbreaking was on 25 June 2002, with the first completed building, the Sybase campus building, opening on 26 November 2004.[34] In 2010, the Waterloo Research and Tech Park was renamed as the David Johnston Research and Technology Park, after David Johnston, the 28th Governor General of Canada and former president of the university.[35]

From 2009 to 2012, the university managed four undergraduate programs in Dubai.[36] The university worked in partnership with the Higher Colleges of Technology, the largest post-secondary institution in the United Arab Emirates. Discussions regarding the partnership emerged in 2004, and the Dubai campus was officially opened in September 2009.[37] Through the partnership, the university offered undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering, civil engineering, financial analysis and risk management, and information technology management.[38] The programs offered in Dubai took place in facilities provided by the Higher Colleges of Technology.[39] On 30 October 2012, the university's Board of Governors decided to close the university's extension in Dubai.[36]


The university's main campus lies within the city of Waterloo, Ontario. It is bordered by Waterloo Park to the south, Wilfrid Laurier University to the southeast, residential neighbourhoods to the northeast, east and west, and the Laurel Creek Conservation Area to the northwest. Three numbered roads also intersect the main campus: University Avenue West, Columbia Street West, and Westmount Road North.[40] While the main campus is 404 hectares (1,000 acres), the majority of the teaching facilities are centred on a ring road in its southern portion.[5] In addition, the university owns several other properties in Cambridge, Huntsville, Kitchener, and Stratford, Ontario.

The buildings vary in age. The oldest is Graduate House, originally a farmhouse dating back to the 19th century. The oldest building which was erected for the university is the Douglas Wright Engineering Building, which was erected in 1958.[41] A large majority of the university's buildings, and its ring road, were constructed during the 1960s.[5] The university's main campus is divided into three major areas: South Campus, North Campus and Northwest Campus. South Campus is the academic core of the university, while North Campus holds the Research and Technology Park. Northwest Campus is the least developed area of the main campus, made up primarily of farm fields and an environmental reserve, which divides it from North Campus.[5]

Libraries and museums

The Dana Porter Library at the University of Waterloo.
The Dana Porter Library holds the university's main collection for humanities and social sciences.

The university has four libraries housing more than 1.4 million books, as well as electronic resources including e-books, serial titles, and databases.[42] Three of the libraries are located on campus: the Dana Porter Library, housing material relating to arts, humanities and social science, the Davis Centre Library, housing material for engineering, mathematics and science, and the Witer Learning Resource Centre, housing material for the School of Optometry and Vision Science. The fourth library, the Musagetes Architecture Library, is located in Cambridge, alongside the university's School of Architecture. The libraries of the university's affiliated colleges are also considered a part of the university's library system.[43] The university's library system is also a member of the TriUniversity Group, a partnership between the University of Guelph, University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. The group provides students and researchers at all three universities with access to all of the collections and services.[44] The group also operates the TUG Annex, a repository for less-used library resources from the three universities.[43]

University of Waterloo also operates the Earth Sciences Museum, located on campus in the Centre for Environmental Information Technology.[45] It is mainly used as an earth-science teaching museum for local schools and natural-science interest groups in southern Ontario. The main exhibits cover the Great Lakes, rocks and minerals, dinosaurs and ice age mammals. The museum's dinosaur exhibit includes a complete cast of an Albertosaurus.[46] The museum also houses an interactive, simulation mining tunnel which aims to teach sustainable mining practices.[47] Also owned and operated by the university is the Museum of Vision Science, which is located at the university's School of Optometry building. The university had previously operated the Elliott Avedon Museum and Archive of Games, created by the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies and previously managed by the university's Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. Due to a lack of specific academic interest, in 2009, the decision was made to close the museum and transfer the collection elsewhere.[48]

Housing and student facilities

The Mackenzie King Village residences, constructed in 2002, are the latest set of residences constructed by the university.

The university has seven student residences: the Minota Hagey Residence, UW Place, Ron Eydt Village, Village 1, Mackenzie King Village, Columbia Lake North and South. Students are also allowed to apply to the residences of the university's affiliated colleges. The largest residential village at the university is UW Place, which houses 1,300 first-year students and 350 upper-year students, while the smallest residence is the Minota Hagey Residence, which houses 70 students and is almost exclusively for upper-year students.[49][50] The newest residence at the university is the Mackenzie King Village, which was constructed in 2002, and houses approximately 320 residents.[51] In September 2010, 24.9 percent of the undergraduate population lived on campus, including 71.1 percent of first-year students.[52] Residents are represented by two residential councils at the university, one representing the students at UW Place, and the other representing all the other residential villages. Each council organises their own events and has their own executive, budget and meetings.[53] However, the overall mission of both councils is to act as the official representatives for all residents living at the university's residences.[54]

The Student Life Centre is the centre of student governance and student directed social, cultural, entertainment and recreational activities, open seven days a week, year-round. The Student Life Centre contains the offices of a number of student organizations, including the Federation of Students, Student Housing Office, a number of retail and food services, and a variety of club space and study rooms.[55] The idea for a student centre emerged during the 1960s, and to raise the necessary funds for the building students began to levy a $10 fee. Construction began in July 1966 and was completed in 1968. Tensions between the university and the student community surfaced over the management and ownership of the Student Life Centre. The conflict was not resolved until 1969, when Professor Johnson resigned his position as chairman of the Campus Centre Board, along with his colleague Pim Fitzgerald.[56]

Off-campus facilities

The university has three satellite campuses, and a number of other facilities located throughout Southern Ontario. The closest off-campus facilities are adjacent to the campus, with the university acquiring land and five buildings from BlackBerry Ltd on December 2013.[57] The university expects to use three of the buildings starting in February 2014, and will lease the other two to BlackBerry Ltd.[58]

The Centre for Extended Learning is a facility owned and managed by the university and is located in Kitchener, Ontario.[59] It provides pre-university courses, part-time studies, online learning and professional development courses.[60] Another facility which is owned and managed by the university is the Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment, located in Huntsville, Ontario. It is a year-round research and teaching centre, which regularly hosts post-secondary student field courses and professional development programs, and also serves as a university outreach facility for the whole region.[61][62] Located close to Algonquin and Arrowhead Provincial Park, the centre's facilities are used for research in ecological restoration and conservation. It also hosts an ecological research facility, including a wet laboratory.[63]

The School of Architecture campus in the background by the Grand River in Cambridge, Ontario.
The School of Architecture is located in Cambridge, Ontario, next to the Grand River.

The university's School of Architecture uses a campus in Cambridge, Ontario, on the west bank of the Grand River.[64] The architecture campus was the idea of the Cambridge Consortium, a group of Cambridge business owners, who spearheaded the school's fundraising drive to cover a portion of the $27 million cost of creating the new campus. The school, along with its faculty and students, was moved to the new campus in September 2004.[64] Since 1979, the School of Architecture also operated an architecture studio in Rome, Italy in the neighbourhood of Trastevere. The opportunity to work at the Trastevere studio is offered to fourth-year architecture students.[65]

Another satellite campus of the university is the Health Sciences Campus, located in Kitchener, Ontario, which houses the School of Pharmacy. The pharmacy building was designed by Siamak Hariri, and was completed in December 2008.[66] While the School of Pharmacy acts as the anchor institution of this campus, other students and faculty of the university's Faculty of Applied Health Sciences also use the facilities.[67] The campus includes a primary care teaching clinic which will integrate clinical care and teaching in pharmacy and optometry. Two other universities also make use of the Health Science and Pharmacy campus. McMaster University's medical school makes use of the campus as its base for its Waterloo Regional Campus, with 56 of the medical school's students admitted at the regional campus in 2012. Wilfrid Laurier University's School of Social Work also uses some of the facilities available on the campus.[68]

The university's third satellite campus, the Stratford Campus, is located in Stratford, Ontario. The focus for the Stratford campus is on education in digital arts and media. The idea for the Stratford campus first took shape when the City of Stratford and the university signed a memorandum in October 2006. It officially opened in September 2010.[69] In November 2009, the university also signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Western Ontario regarding academic initiatives at the Stratford Campus.[70] The campus also hosted the first four Canada 3.0 forums, before its move to Toronto in 2012.[71]

The building that houses the university's School of Environment, Enterprise and Development was the first LEED certified building on an Ontario campus.[72]


Sustainability initiatives are divided between several departmental offices at the university, with the university's plant operations charged with their implementation.[73] Prior to 2005, the management of sustainability efforts was conducted by the university's waste management coordinator.[74] The university's sustainability initiatives are solely institution-specific, as it has not signed any national or international sustainability declaration.[75] However, the university, along with the other members from the Council of Ontario Universities, signed a pledge in 2009 known as Ontario Universities Committed to a Greener World, with the objective of transforming its campus into a model of environmental responsibility.[76]

The university's School of Environment, Enterprise and Development placed first in Canada in the Corporate Knights 2011 ranking for undergraduate business programs incorporating sustainability.[77] The university campus received a C+ grade from the Sustainable Endowments Institute on its College Sustainability Report Card for 2011.[78]


The university operates under a bicameral system consisting of a board of governors and a senate, as legislated by the University of Waterloo Act, 1972.[79] The Board of Governors has responsibility for the university's properties, affairs, and income.[80] The University of Waterloo Act calls for only 36 members, each of whom must hold Canadian citizenship. However, the number of members in the board for the 2013–2014 academic year is 40.[81][82] The Board has five ex officio members, including the university's chancellor and president, and the mayors of Kitchener and Waterloo.[81] The other 32 members of the board are either elected or appointed by the various members of the university community, including alumni, faculty, and student body.[82]

The senate is responsible for establishing the educational policies of the university, as well as making recommendations to the board of governors in the management of the institution.[83] The senate has 24 ex officio positions including the president and chancellor of the university, the vice-presidents, the senior dean of each faculty, the presidents of the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty associations, and the presidents and principals of the university's associated colleges. The senate's 61 other members are appointed or elected by various communities of the university including the faculty of the university, its associated colleges, the student body, and alumni.[84]

The principal, appointed by the board of governors, acts as the chief executive officer of the university with the approval of the senate, is responsible for administering the affairs of the university, and acts on behalf of the board with respect to the operational management and control of the university. The president is the chair of the senate and a member of the board.[85] The president also holds the position of vice-chancellor, assuming the duties of the chancellor during his absences or a temporary vacancy in the office.[86] The chancellor is elected by the members of the senate for a term of three years, although eligible for renewal. The primary duty of the chancellor is to preside at all convocations and present candidates for honorary degrees to the senate.[86] The office of the chancellor has been held by Tom Jenkins since 1 May 2015.[87] He succeeded Prem Watsa, who held the position from 2009 to 2015.[88] The next chancellor to succeed Prem Watsa is Tom Jenkins, who begins his term 1 May 2015[87] In March 2011, Feridun Hamdullahpur was announced as the sixth president of the university, having been interim president since October 2010.[89]

Affiliated institutions

St. Paul's University College is one of the four affiliated university colleges of the university.

The university also includes three semi-autonomous affiliated colleges and a federated university. Conrad Grebel University College is a Mennonite university college that was chartered in 1961 and is religiously affiliated with the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada.[90] Renison University College is an Anglican university college chartered in 1959; it entered an affiliation with the University of Waterloo in 1960[91] and is religiously affiliated with the Anglican Church of Canada.[92] St. Jerome's University is a Roman Catholic university, founded in 1865, which entered into a federation with the University of Waterloo shortly after the provincial government granted it university status in 1959.[93] St. Paul's University College is a university college founded by members of the United Church of Canada in 1962. However, St. Paul's now operates independently from the United Church, without any formal or legal relationship.[94]

The three colleges and federated university are all located within the University of Waterloo's main campus and operate their own residences.[90][93][94][95] Students of these affiliated colleges and federated university are also academically integrated with the University of Waterloo. Students who study at any of them are also considered registered students of the University of Waterloo. In addition to the classes offered at these colleges, federated university students also have the option to enrol in classes, apply to any of the faculties, and graduate as a student from the University of Waterloo.[90][93][94][95] Regardless of the affiliated colleges and federated university's religious affiliations, enrolment is not restricted based on the student's religious beliefs.[96][97][98]


The university completed the 2014–2015 academic year with revenues of $936.240 million and expenses of $906.730 million, yielding a surplus of $29.510 million.[2] Grants and contracts make up the largest source of revenue for the university, totaling $392.357 million, followed by academic fees at $357.889 million. Salaries make up nearly half of the university's expenses, at $439.973 million.[2] As of 30 April 2015, the university's endowment is valued at $335.731 million.[2]


Waterloo is a publicly funded research university, and a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.[99][100] It functions on a term-based system, with fall, winter and spring terms.[101] Undergraduate programs comprise the majority of the school's enrolment, made up of 24,377 full-time and part-time undergraduate students. The university conferred 5,041 bachelor's degrees, 267 doctoral degrees, 1,275 master's degrees, and 192 first professional degrees in 2012–2013.[102] The university is organized into six faculties, which operate a combined total of 10 schools and over 50 academic departments.

Faculties and Schools of the University of Waterloo
Faculty Applied Health Sciences Arts
Engineering Environment Mathematics Science
School School of Public Health and Health Systems School of Accounting and Finance Balsillie School of International Affairs[lower-alpha 1] Renison School of Social Work[lower-alpha 2] School of Architecture School of Environment, Enterprise and Development School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability School of Planning David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science School of Optometry and Vision Science School of Pharmacy

Financial aid available to students includes the Ontario Student Assistance Program and Canada Student Loans and Grants through the federal and provincial governments. The financial aid provided may come in the form of loans, grants, bursaries, scholarships, fellowships, debt reduction, interest relief, and work programs.[103]

University rankings
Global rankings
ARWU World[12] 201–300
QS World[13] 152
Times World[14] 173
US News and World Report Global[104] 244
Canadian rankings
ARWU National[12] 8–16
QS National[105] 7
Times National[14] 7
US News and World Report National[104] 10
Maclean's Comprehensive[106] 3
Maclean's Reputation[107] 4


Waterloo has consistently been ranked as one of the top ten universities in Canada. According to the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), the university ranked 201-300 in the world and 7-13th in Canada.[108] The 2016-2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed Waterloo 173rd in the world.[14] The 2016 QS World University Rankings ranked the university 152nd in the world.[13] In terms of national rankings, Maclean's ranked Waterloo third in their 2011 comprehensive university rankings.[109] In an employability survey published by the New York Times in October 2011, when CEOs and chairmans were asked to select the top universities which they recruited from, Waterloo placed 106th in the world, and sixth in Canada.[110]

Home to North America’s only standalone Faculty of Mathematics with the largest concentration of mathematical and computer science talent in the world, Waterloo is ranked as one of the top universities worldwide for mathematical sciences. In the field of statistics and operational research, the university was ranked 32nd in the world, and first in Canada, by the QS World University Rankings.[111] The same rankings also placed the university 29th in the world, and second in Canada in the field of mathematics.[112] In 2014, it moved up five places to 24th in QS World University Rankings by Subject.[113] In 2015, it moved up further to 20th in the world.[114]

Waterloo's engineering program has consistently been ranked in the top 100 universities in the world. The 2013 ARWU rankings for the field of engineering, technology and computer sciences, ranked the university 43rd in the world and second in Canada.[115] In the 2012 rankings of the top engineering schools in the world by Business Insider, the university ranked 29th in the world, and first in Canada.[116] For the field of technology and engineering, the 2013–2014 Times Higher Education listings ranked the university 67th in the world, and fourth in Canada.[117] The 2013 QS rankings listed the university's engineering faculty 46th in the world, and second in Canada.[118] In computer science and information systems, the 2014 QS World University Rankings placed the university 24th in the world, and second in Canada.[119] The business-oriented social network LinkedIn, ranked the university first in Canada based on career outcomes in the undergraduate fields of Finance Professionals, as well as Software Development, and second in Accounting. LinkedIn also placed the university first for Software Development amongst graduate-level students. The ranking was based on the employment patterns of LinkedIn's members[120]


The university's institutes for both nanotechnology and quantum computing are located in the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre.[121]

The university operates and manages 41 research centres and institutes, including the Centre for Applied Cryptographic Research, the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing and the Institute for Quantum Computing. Official recognition and designation of all centres and institutes requires the approval of the university's Senate.[122] In Research Infosource's 2013 ranking of Canada's 50 top research universities based off sponsored research income, Waterloo placed 17th in Canada, with a sponsored research income of $137.006 million, averaging $131,600 per faculty member.[123] In the 2011 University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP), which rates universities based off their research performance, Waterloo was ranked 185th in the world and tenth in Canada. Waterloo's research in the field of engineering has also received a number of accolades. In the 2011 URAP rankings, Waterloo's research performance in the field of engineering was ranked 43rd in the world, and second in Canada.[124] In the 2011 HEEACT rankings, Waterloo's research performance in the field of engineering was ranked 74th in the world, and second in Canada.[125]


The requirements for admission differ between students from Ontario, students from other provinces in Canada, and international students, due to the lack of uniformity in marking schemes. For students applying from an Ontario secondary school, the university's admissions office states an average of at least 80 percent is required for minimum consideration. A higher average is suggested for admission to programs where demand for seats from qualified applicants exceeds the number of places available. The actual minimum averages required for these programs are determined each year based on the number and qualification of applicants and the number of available spaces.[126] The secondary school average for full-time, first year students for the 2011–2012 academic year was 87.7 percent. The program with the highest admission average during that year was mathematics, with an admission average of 90.6 percent.[127] The retention rate of the university's first-time, full-time first year students in 2009 was 89.4 percent.[128]

Co-operative Education

The University of Waterloo has a co-operative education program with more than 19,000 students enrolled in co-op programs and more than 5,200 active co-op employers. Their five-year co-op program includes up to twenty-four months of work experience, broken into four month terms. Enrolling in a co-op program at the University of Waterloo does not guarantee co-op employment. Despite a high percentage of employment via the co-op program, many students obtain employment by other methods, including a student's personal networks and unpaid full-time volunteering positions.[129]

All undergraduate programs in the Faculty of Engineering and some other programs throughout the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Mathematics require mandatory co-op placements as part of the five-year program. The Faculty of Engineering requires a minimum of five co-op placements (twenty months) while other programs require a minimum of four co-op placements (sixteen months). Some students engage in international co-op opportunities abroad in private companies and public institutions including positions in Japan, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Germany, and France.[130]

Student life

Pi Day, which commemorates the mathematical constant, is celebrated annually by the university's student body.[131]

The university's two main student unions are the Federation of Students for all undergraduate students, and the Graduate Student Association for graduate students.[132] The Federation of Students was created in 1967. It operates seven businesses and eight student services, and encompasses nearly 200 clubs. The federation also oversees the university's Orientation Week, Welcome Week and other special events and concerts held on campus.[133] The organisations and clubs accredited by the Federation of Students cover a wide range of interests including academics, culture, religion, social issues, and recreation.[134] Many of them are centred on the university's student activity centre, the Student Life Centre. As of June 2007, neither the university administration nor the student union recognise fraternities and sororities.[135] Alpha Epsilon Pi, Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Chi operate as non-accredited off-campus fraternities,[136][137][138] and Alpha Omicron Pi and Kappa Kappa Gamma as non-accredited off-campus sororities.[139][140]

The official student newspaper at the university is the Imprint, which publishes a weekly edition during the fall and winter semesters and a biweekly edition for the spring semester.[141] The Chevron was previously the official student newspaper.[142] Conflicts with the Federation of Students and the perception of an increasingly left-wing agenda lead to the removal of its official status, by referendum, in November 1978.[143][144] The university's Journalism Club, made up of former staff from The Chevron along with other students, created another newspaper known as the Imprint, which was officially recognised by referendum in 1979.[144] The university also operated a campus radio station, CKMS-FM, now known as SoundFM. The radio station was officially incorporated in 1977 but following several referenda, in 2008 the Federation of Students and the University withdrew all financial support for the station and it transitioned to a community radio model.[145]


Main article: Waterloo Warriors

The university's sports teams are known as the Waterloo Warriors. They participate in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport's Ontario University Athletics conference for most varsity sports. Varsity teams include badminton, baseball, basketball, cross country, curling, field hockey, figure skating, Canadian football, golf, hockey, Nordic skiing, rugby, soccer, squash, swimming, track and field, tennis and volleyball. The athletics program at the university dates back to 1957, when students of Waterloo College Associate Faculties participated in the sports program of Waterloo College (present-day Wilfrid Laurier University). The university had its own independent team when the Associate Faculties officially became the University of Waterloo.[146] The university's varsity teams and the university's recreational sports programs are operated and managed by the Department of Athletics and Recreational Activity.[147]

The university has a number of athletic facilities open to the varsity teams and to the other students. The stadium with the largest seating capacity at the university is Warrior Field. The field is home to the varsity field hockey and football teams, and hosts the university's recreational flag football and soccer activities. It has a seating capacity of 5,400.[148] Other facilities include the Physical Activity Complex, which houses two gymnasiums, beach volleyball courts, squash rooms, and a swimming pool, and is also home to the university's varsity badminton, basketball, squash, swimming and volleyball teams.[149] The Columbia Ice Field was constructed in 1983 and houses the university's hockey team home rink, with a seating capacity of 700. The Ice Field has been expanded twice, in 1990 and 2003, and now includes three gyms and a number of fitness centres.[150][151] Including the football field, the university manages seven outdoor playing fields, with Fields 1 and 2 reserved for the varsity soccer and rugby teams. The rest of the fields are used by the university's recreational sports programs.[152]

Insignias and other representations

Coat of Arms

The university's coat of arms was first used by the university in October 1961, but was only officially granted by the Lord Lyon King of Arms in August 1987.[30] It was not registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority until 15 February 2001.[153] Four variations of the coat of arms existed. The first was used from 1961 to 1996, when the second bright-yellow shield using slightly different shaped lions was introduced. The yellow background was dulled in 2000, and finally, the original lions were reintroduced in 2010 in conjunction with the attempt to replace the use of the coat of arms with a futuristic W logo.[154] The new logo was eventually rejected after student opposition.[155]

The red-on-gold lions on the university's arms were adopted from those of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.[154] The City of Waterloo was named after an area just south of Brussels, Belgium, where the battle occurred.[156] The chevron on the arms was taken from the arms of Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener, Field Marshal with the British Army during World War I. The black and white pattern used on the chevron was based on the colours of Prussia, as homage to the German heritage of the area.[154] The City of Kitchener was originally known as Berlin, but was renamed after Earl Kitchener in 1916 during World War I.[156]

Motto and songs

The university's Latin motto is Concordia cum veritate, translated as "In Harmony with Truth". It was introduced along with the university coat of arms in October 1961.[30] A number of songs are commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement, convocation, and athletic contests. The main song of the university is known as the "Black and White and Gold". The words were written by K. D. Fryer and H. F. Davis, while the music was composed by Alfred Kunz.[157]

Notable alumni and faculty

Over 163,000 people have graduated from the university, and now reside in over 140 countries.[3][158] Waterloo graduates have accumulated a number of awards, such as George Elliott Clarke, recipient of the Governor General's Award; William Reeves, recipient of an Academy Award, and a number of Rhodes Scholarships.[159][160][161] Robert Mundell, the recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, also served as the chairman of the university's economics department.[162]

A number of business leaders have worked or studied at Waterloo. Examples include John Baker, founder of Desire2Learn,[163] David Cheriton, co-founder and chief scientist of Arista Networks,[164] Mike Lazaridis, co-founder and former co-CEO of Research in Motion (now BlackBerry Ltd),[165] Prem Watsa, chairman of Fairfax Financial and the current chancellor of the university,[166] Steven Woods, co-founder of NeoEdge Networks and[167] and co-founders of Waterloo Maple, Keith Geddes and Gaston Gonnet.[168] Gonnet was also the co-founder of Open Text Corporation.[169] Internationally known journalist and educator, Dr. Colleen McEdwards who spent 17 years at CNN International, graduated from Waterloo's co-op Arts program. McEdwards received Waterloo's Alumni Achievement award in 1999. Several faculty members and students have also gained local and national prominence in government. David Johnston, the former president of Waterloo, currently serves as the Governor General of Canada.[170]

A number of the university's faculty and students have also gained prominence in the field of computing sciences. Examples include QNX operating systems co-creators Gordon Bell and Dan Dodge,[171] Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of the PHP scripting language,[172] Matei Zaharia, the creator of Apache Spark, Gordon Cormack, the co-creator of the Dynamic Markov compression algorithm,[173] Ric Holt, co-creator of several programming languages, most notably Turing,[174] and Jack Edmonds, a computer scientist, and developer of the Blossom algorithm, and the Edmonds' algorithm.[175]

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Further reading

  • McLaughlin, Kenneth (2007). Out of the Shadow of Orthodoxy: Waterloo@50. University of Waterloo. ISBN 0-9682827-3-3. 
  • McLaughlin, Kenneth (1997). Waterloo: The Unconventional Founding of an Unconventional University. University of Waterloo. ISBN 0-9682827-0-9. 
  • McLean, Celia (1982). University of Waterloo 1957–1982: The Twenty-fifth Anniversary Year Begins. University of Waterloo. 
  • Scott, James (1967). Of Mud and Dreams: University of Waterloo 1957–1967. Ryerson Press. 
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