University of Waterloo

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(In Detail)

Motto: Concordia cum veritate (Latin: In harmony with truth)
Chancellor Mike Lazaridis
President David Lloyd Johnston
School type Public
Religious affiliation Main campus: None

Conrad Grebel: Mennonite
Renison: Anglican
St. Jerome's: Catholic

St. Paul's: United
Founded 1957
Location Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Enrollment 22,241 undergraduate
2,666 graduate
Campus surroundings Urban, suburban
Campus size 4 km² (1000 acres)
Sports teams Warriors
Mascot Warrior
Colours Gold, black, and white

The University of Waterloo, also known as "UW" or simply "Waterloo", is a medium-sized research-intensive public university in the city of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The enrollment for 2004 was 22,241 undergraduate and 2,666 graduate students, with 818 full-time faculty members and 2008 staff. The University was founded in 1957.


History and profile

The University of Waterloo was originally conceived in 1955 as the Waterloo College Associate Faculties (WCAF), a semi-autonomous entity within Waterloo College (now Wilfrid Laurier University). Its first classes began in 1957, and two years later it became the University of Waterloo. From its relatively recent and humble origin, UW has come to the forefront of research in Canada. The University of Waterloo now attracts many bright students from across Canada and is widely recognized as one of Canada's premier universities. It is also known for its longstanding undergraduate distance education programs.

Waterloo is famous for being the groundbreaking proponent of co-operative education in Canada and currently maintains the largest such program in the world. Due to this, Waterloo has established strong ties with many major corporations in North America. In the annual Maclean's Magazine university rankings, Waterloo consistently scores within the top three positions in its category (research-intensive institutions with a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs without medical schools). Since the beginning of Maclean's reputational rankings, Waterloo has placed first overall out of all Canadian universities for 11 years in a row (1992-2002). This remarkable feat ended when Waterloo slipped to second place overall in the 2003 rankings. As of November 8th, 2004 the University of Waterloo has once again placed first overall in Macleans University rankings for the Comprehensive ( category and all Reputation categories.

The University has faculties of Applied Health Sciences, Arts, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Independent Studies, Mathematics, and Science as well as an on-campus school of Optometry. There are also four federated university colleges with religious affiliations on campus: St. Jerome's University (Roman Catholic), Renison College (Anglican), St. Paul's United College (United Church of Canada), and Conrad Grebel University College (Mennonite).

With strong programs in mathematics, science, computer science, and engineering, the University has at times been touted as the MIT of Canada. It is the home of the Centre for Applied Cryptographic Research and the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing. Additionally, the prowess of Waterloo's students in academic competitions such as the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition and the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest has greatly contributed to the University's reputation in the last few decades.

Ties with Industry

Through its large co-op program and many spin-off companies, the University maintains very close ties with the high-tech industry. The University has a very researcher centric intellectual property policy [1] ( which has created many spin-off companies that maintain a good relationship with the University.

The University came under criticism in August of 2002 when the Faculty of Engineering accepted funding from Microsoft to develop courses using Microsoft's .Net platform. [2] (

Future plans

The University of Waterloo School of Architecture was relocated to downtown Cambridge, Ontario in September of 2004. This will give the School of Architecture more space to develop, and could bolster the economy of the Cambridge downtown area.

The University of Waterloo Research and Technology Park is currently under construction on the University's north campus. This park is intended to house many of the high-tech industries in the area and maintain the partnership between university and private-sector innovation.

The University and the City of Kitchener are currently in the process of constructing a health sciences campus, including a School of Pharmacy, in the central Kitchener warehouse district. An architect, Robbie/Young + Wright Architects & Hariri Pontarini Architects, has been chosen. The project will cost $34 million for the first phase.

The University of Waterloo's Department of Systems Design Engineering recently announced its intention to have a new building exclusively for the department and its students by 2007. With space already granted by the University, and support from the program's alumni, fundraising work began in 2004.

With donations by alumni and matching contributions from government, the University announced in April 2004 the founding of the Institute for Quantum Computing. [3] (

Construction will soon begin on a $70 million building to house the Institute for Quantum Computing as well as the new Nanotechnology program.

The University is currently developing an enrichment program for high school students. This program, scheduled to start in Fall 2005, has been named "Waterloo Unlimited." [4] (


On September 16th, 2004, the University of Waterloo's solar car team broke the Guinness World Record for the longest journey by a solar powered car. The solar car, called the Midnight Sun VII, broke the official record of 7,043.5 km (held by Queen's University) and the unofficial record of 13,054 km (held by Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia) after undertaking a 40-day tour of Canada and the United States, travelling a total of 15,079 km. The tour took the solar car through 7 provinces and 15 states.

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Math and Computer Science building.

Facts and figures

  • UW was the first university in the world to establish a Faculty of Mathematics.
  • UW's Faculty of Mathematics is the world's largest faculty in the mathematical, statistical, and computer sciences.
  • UW accounts for more than $1.6 billion of economic activity (1999) in Ontario.
  • Annually, UW attracts about 400,000 visitors from outside the region.
  • Annually, UW is responsible for close to a quarter of the spin-off companies identified from Canadian universities.
  • The university is represented in Canadian Interuniversity Sport by the Waterloo Warriors.

Famous alumni and faculty


Traditions and peculiarities

  • A unique species of tree is donated by each graduating class and planted on Alumni Lane.
  • The Davis Centre is designed to look like a microchip in an aerial view of the building.
  • Students in the Faculty of Science receive a white lab coat upon enrollment.
  • Students in the Faculty of Engineering receive a yellow hard hat upon enrollment.
  • Students in the Faculty of Engineering receive the iron ring upon graduation.
  • Students in the Faculty of Mathematics receive a pink tie upon enrollment, which is recognized as the unofficial symbol for math students. The story of where the pink tie originated can be found at the official Legend of the Pink Tie ( UW page.
  • Students in the Software Engineering program, run jointly by the Faculties of Engineering and Mathematics, receive both a yellow hard hat and pink tie.
  • The mascot for the Faculty of Engineering is a 60" pipe wrench called The Tool, formerly called The Ridgid Tool, as it was donated by the Ridgid Tool Company.
  • Student life converges upon the popular Student Life Centre, which has food, lounge, study and activities spaces and other services for students. Located in the Student Life Centre's Great Hall, the Turnkey Desk has been operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year almost continuously since the opening of the Student Life Centre (then the Campus Centre) in 1968. Turnkeys are students who know just about everything there is to know about what's going on around campus and in the community, and help students as well as provide coffee, transit tickets, and other services. Turnkeys are so-named because they are the keepers of the keys for the many rooms in the Student Life Centre, and share their name with ancient jailers.

See also

External links


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