Wilfrid Laurier University
Good morning/afternoon/evening (pick whichever is most appropriate) and welcome to the WRX Property Group website and blog! We’re happy to see you. As you may already know, we’re covering the most important aspects of life in Kitchener-Waterloo, one day, and one topic, at a time.
Yesterday, we embarked on a new journey to investigate and assess the post-secondary institutions available in the Waterloo Region. Conestoga College, Kitchener-Waterloo’s polytechnic education-provider, was yesterday’s subject, and today we’ll be covering the first of Waterloo’s two universities: Wilfrid Laurier University.
Tomorrow we’ll finish with the University of Waterloo. So let’s dive into Wilfrid Laurier University (they do, after all, have an Olympic-size pool)!
Wilfrid Laurier University sometimes goes by WLU, but most often it’s referred to simply as Laurier. Laurier is located right in the heart of Waterloo, by the intersection of King Street North and University Avenue West.
It’s truly an amazing location for the campus: University Avenue is bustling and filled with opportunities for residence and dining (there’s a somewhat astounding number of restaurants within walking distance of the campus, on University Ave and King Street); the University of Waterloo is also on University Avenue, just to the west, and Conestoga College’s Waterloo campus lies just to the east.
South of the Laurier campus is the picturesque and popular Uptown Waterloo (and the lovely, sprawling Waterloo Park), and north of the campus is Waterloo Collegiate Institute, one of Waterloo’s public high schools (WRDSB schools have partnerships with the Waterloo Universities, including Dual Credit courses).
Laurier began its life as the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary back in 1911. Over the decades, it offered a wider variety of courses (by 1914 there were already non-theological studies underway). It changed names several times, and it was affiliated with the University of Western Ontario (Western) for several decades.
In 1960, the school lost its affiliation with both the Lutheran Church and Western, and in 1973 it officially became Wilfrid Laurier University. Laurier’s school colours (purple and gold) are a tribute to their time affiliated with Western, whose colours are purple and white.
And who was Wilfrid Laurier, you might ask? Why, he was Canada’s seventh Prime Minister, the first Francophone Prime Minister (though he was famously fluent in both English and French), the longest consecutively-serving Prime Minister (and fourth longest overall), and some say the Prime Minister who looked best in a top hat (Laurier’s been on the $5 bill since 1969, but he and Macdonald are getting bumped to the $50 and $100 after 2018’s new series).
Laurier presently has three primary campuses: the main (and the largest by far) in Waterloo; the Brantford campus (which has around 3000 students); and the Kitchener campus, which is located in the building of the old St. Jerome’s High School (one of Kitchener-Waterloo’s earliest Catholic schools). There are plans for Laurier to open a new campus in Milton, too, though it’s up to the Government of Ontario whether it will be approved.
If you’re looking for an excellent education from an institution with a comparatively balanced student-to-faculty ratio, Laurier may be the place for you. Laurier has around 17 000 full-time undergrad students, and around 1000 full-time postgrad students, making its student population roughly half that of the neighbouring University of Waterloo.
Laurier offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs. On the Waterloo campus are the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Music, Faculty of Science, Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, and the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
The Brantford campus has the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Liberal Arts. Finally, the Kitchener campus houses the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work. Faculty at Laurier are highly regarded and well-trained, and many of them are leaders in their respective fields; the ability to work closely with experts is part of what makes Laurier such a great school, as well as the opportunities in research programs, co-op, experiential learning, and more.
Students can choose from over 100 programs, and they can work toward a Bachelor’s Degree, a Master’s Degree, a Doctorate, or a Diploma. The heart of the Laurier experience is the range of topical, engaging courses they offer in each program.
If you look through their Programs Index and check out any of the fields you might be interested in, I can just about guarantee you’ll find something to be excited about. The programs’ pages also provide synopses of their vision and values, as well as their research focus, eligibility requirements, and career opportunities.
Laurier has a strong athletic tradition. The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks are Laurier’s team, and they’ve consistently performed well since their inception. The Golden Hawks football team was particularly dominant between 2003 and 2009, and the women’s varsity hockey team won six years in a row between 2002 and 2008.
Over their long and storied history, the various Golden Hawks teams have won numerous titles and awards (including 8 Yates Cups), and there are over a dozen different sports for students to choose from (most have both men’s and women’s varsity teams).
The Laurier campus boasts impressive athletic facilities, as well, including the fully-equipped Athletics Centre, which has multiple gyms, squash courts, a pool, and more. The Golden Hawks play at University Stadium, which is near Waterloo Park; somewhat amusingly, the stadium used to be called Seagram Stadium and was home to the University of Waterloo’s teams.
So when home matches against UW are played here, there’s a fun sense of sibling rivalry (although Laurier does typically have an edge when it comes to athletics). The Golden Hawks’ football, rugby, and lacrosse teams play here.
In the recently released Maclean’s University Rankings 2018: Canada’s top Comprehensive Schools, Wilfrid Laurier University tied for 6th out of 15 in the overall ranking, but it placed 1st for Student Satisfaction, which is quite an achievement.
Laurier offers a variety of student services, including accessibility options. The Wilfrid Laurier University Student’s Union is run by and for undergraduates at Laurier; it gives students a platform to voice their opinions and effect change.
It also runs over 300 clubs and volunteer committees, as well as a Food Bank and a Foot Patrol to keep the campus safer.
Laurier is not one of Canada’s largest universities, but Laurier students often see this as a strength. You have the opportunity to really stand out, and to work closely with a dedicated staff that is passionate about their areas of expertise.
Neighbouring University of Waterloo has a well-earned reputation as a tech-leader, but Laurier shines in its wide range of excellent programs, its world-renowned Faculty of Music, and its tight-knit community. Laurier is ever-growing, and transitioning from a primarily undergraduate school to one with ever more research and postgrad opportunities.
Laurier is fantastic institution, one of the reasons why Waterloo is such a great place to live.
Written by Will Kummer