Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU), known simply as Laurier, is a Canadian public university located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Laurier has a second campus in Brantford and offices in Kitchener, Toronto and Chongqing, China. It is named in honour of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the seventh Prime Minister of Canada who appears on the front of Canada's five dollar bill. The university offers undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of fields, with nearly 15,000 full-time undergraduate students, over 900 full‑time grad students and nearly 3,000 part-time students as of Fall 2016.
In 1910, the Lutheran Synod established a seminary, which opened to students in 1911, as the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary of Canada. In 1914 the seminary developed non-theological courses under the name "the Waterloo College School". In 1924, the Waterloo College of Arts was established. Waterloo College of Arts became affiliated with the University of Western Ontario ("Western") in 1925 and soon began to offer honours degree programs in the arts. In 1960, the Lutheran church relinquished its sponsorship of Waterloo College. The seminary obtained a revised charter changing the name of the institution to Waterloo Lutheran University. On November 1, 1973, Wilfrid Laurier University was established with Royal Assent by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Ross Macdonald, who later served as Laurier's Chancellor.
Laurier's school colours, purple and gold, extend from its early affiliation with Western; originally maroon and gold, the school adopted purple in lieu of maroon to honour its link with Western, whose colours were purple and white. While Laurier's colours remain, it ended its affiliation with Western in 1960.
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.
Laurier is currently pursuing an additional campus in Milton, Ontario.
In November 2017, the university became the subject of a free speech and academic freedom controversy for censuring a teaching assistant (TA) who used a three-minute recording of a debate involving Jordan Peterson about the compelled use of gender-neutral pronouns in a communications class. The case was criticized by several newspaper editorial boards and national newspaper columnists as an example of the suppression of free speech on university campuses. An independent investigation found the TA had not violated university policies and that the subsequent meeting held by several professors berating her for using the recording was conducted with "significant overreach."
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The university has an enrollment of about 17,000 full-time and part-time undergraduate students, and over 1,500 full-time and part-time graduate students. It has over 500 faculty and staff members. Laurier has been transitioning from a primarily undergraduate university to a mid-size research university. In the 2018 Maclean's magazine survey of Canadian universities, Laurier was ranked 6th out of 15 comprehensive universities in Canada. According to Maclean's, the graduation rate is 76.7%.
The Registrar's Report for Winter 2016 indicates that the six most popular majors at Laurier, across the entire university, were (in order): Business, Communications Studies, Psychology, Criminology, Economics, and Biology.
The internationally renowned Faculty of Music at Laurier is considered one of the best in the country,. A September 2017 report indicated that students could choose to concentrate in Composition; Comprehensive; Music Education; Music History, Theory & Critical Analysis; Performance; or Community Music. Second year Bachelor of Music students could take Music Therapy as an option. 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 offers the only master's degree in Music Therapy. Laurier's strength in "music and business education" has been identified as one of the reasons that the Waterloo Region is a "powerful educational hub" by former University of Waterloo president, and former Governor-General of Canada, David Johnston. Laurier was named Canada’s Best Music Campus by CBC Radio in 2013.
According to Maclean's, "Standout Programs" at Laurier in 2017-2018 included Business Administration, Game Design and Development (at the Brantford campus) and Law and Arts (B.A from Laurier and a law degree from the University of Sussex in the U.K. in six years).
Laurier is the headquarters of the Academic Council of the United Nations System (ACUNS). 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.
Laurier has the oldest business cooperative education ("co-op") program in English-speaking Canada and the largest business co-op program in Canada. Students are able to enjoy co-op opportunities with dozens of companies, including KPMG, Ernst and Young, PepsiCo, Scotiabank, Unilever, and Manulife Financial.
As of the 2014-2015 Annual Report, the Laurier Library holds 1 million print volumes, 312,000 electronic books, 68,000 electronic journals, and 280 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.
There are three physical locations for the Library: the Waterloo Campus's primary library (on the west end of the campus, housing the majority of the collection and the majority of the librarians and staff), the Brantford Campus' Digital Library and Learning Commons space (in Grand River Hall, which includes offices for the librarians on that campus) and the collection space in the Brantford Public Library (on the first and second floors), and the Social Work Library in Kitchener.
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's 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.
Laurier Waterloo operates one all female residence (Leupold Residence), one all male residence (Euler Residence), and multiple co-ed student residences: Bouckaert Hall, Bricker Residence, Clara Conrad Hall, Hickory St. Apartments, King’s Court Residence, King Street Residence, CH Little House, Macdonald House, Marshall Street Apartments, Regina Residence, Regina Towers, Spruce Street Apartments, University Place Residence, Waterloo College Hall, Willison Hall. Together, these residences house approximately 2,780 men and women, with 2,664 beds reserved for undergraduate first-year students.
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: Global: 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.
Laurier's Brantford Campus is located in Brantford, Ontario, approximately 50 km south of the campus in Waterloo. The campus opened its doors in 1999 with a total of 39 students in its inaugural year. As of January 2015, there were 2,625 full-time students, and an unstated number of part-time students, enrolled at the school. In late 2017, Laurier estimated a total of over 3,000 students.
According to Maclean's, Laurier's "Standout Programs" in 2017-2018 included Game Design and Development at the Brantford campus. "The program develops skills not only in game design, project management and entrepreneurship, but also considers how transformative games are used in areas such as education, corporate training, health care and more."
Brantford campus has the following apartment-style residences:
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 town of Milton, Ontario and Laurier have been working together since 2008 to develop a 150-acre campus in Milton within the Milton Education Village (MEV). The town donated 60 hectares (150 acres) to Laurier worth $50 million. In 2015, the Milton Velodrome was opened in the MEV as a venue for the 2015 Pan American and Para Pan Am Games.
In May 2015, the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities turned down Laurier's request to fund its proposed Milton campus. The ministry says there will be a second call for proposals in spring 2016, for a campus in the Peel and Halton region — which includes Milton. Laurier has confirmed it will re-submit its proposal.
On October 26, 2016, the Ontario government announced that it is seeking expressions of interests from universities to build post-secondary campuses in both Milton and Brampton. The announcement specified the new campuses will focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The university submitted its final proposal on the Milton campus on October 2, 2017; the provincial government was expected to make a decision before the end of 2017.
A 2015 survey found that 40% of Wilfrid Laurier students had experienced gendered violence, and 13.4% of Wilfrid Laurier students had experienced sexual assault. Also in 2015, Wilfrid Laurier University was criticized for allowing a male student accused of raping a female student in her dorm room to continue to attend classes alongside his accuser.
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.
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'".
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.
In 2007 the women's lacrosse team won 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.
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.
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.
The Wilfrid Laurier University Students' Union (WLUSU) represents undergraduate students at both campuses of Wilfrid Laurier University. It operates the Fred Nichols Campus Centre in Waterloo as well as the Students' Centre on Laurier's Brantford Campus. Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union's Arms, Supporters, Flag and Badge were registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority on January 15, 2003.
WLUSU is funded by undergraduate student fees, and all students are automatically members. 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. 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. 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.
Wilfrid Laurier is home to a vibrant and growing Greek life, with each group having a large focus on philanthropic endeavours.
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