100 things you didn’t know about Wilfrid Laurier University

wluDid you know that the rock band Kiss played at Wilfrid Laurier? Did you know that there are 550 full time professors at WLU? Did you know that the university is celebrating its 100th year? Apparently there are a lot of things we don’t know about Wilfrid Laurier University.


One hundred things you may not know about Laurier:

October 30, 2011, is the official date of Laurier’s 100th anniversary.

Laurier was founded when the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary of Canada opened its doors in October 1911. Facilities for pre-theological education were established in 1914 with courses leading to senior matriculation given in Waterloo College School.

The Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

Laurier’s institutional proposition is “inspiring lives of leadership and purpose.” In 2011 the university is celebrating 100 years of fostering this ideal in its students, staff and faculty.

In addition to the www.wlu.ca website, people can stay connected to Laurier through www.facebook.com/LaurierNow, www.twitter.com/LaurierNews, www.youtube.com/LaurierVideo and the Laurier mobile app for BlackBerry, iPhone and iPad.

Laurier’s centennial celebrations launched October 18, 2010, at the Waterloo Campus and October 20, 2010, at the Brantford Campus with events for staff, faculty and students.

To date, about 50 special events, plays, conferences and contests have helped Laurier celebrate its 100th year, and both the Waterloo and Brantford campuses have launched special centennial speaker series.

Videos highlighting some events from Laurier’s centennial year are available on the university’s YouTube channel under the “Laurier 100” playlist.

In 1974, Laurier introduced co-operative education. Laurier has the largest business co-op program in Canada.

Laurier alumnus and Hollywood writer Chuck Tatham, currently co-executive producer of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, spoke at the English and Film Studies speaker series in March, 2011.

Laurier’s Brantford campus hosted a speaker series that promoted human rights, social justice and peace – topics that support the civic engagement, justice and internationalization elements of Laurier’s academic plan.

Speakers who have visited Laurier Brantford this year include: Debi Goodwin, author of Citizens of Nowhere; Anas Aremeyaw Anas, an undercover Ghanaian journalist who has produced award-winning documentaries; and Cathy Crowe, activist for the homeless and co-founder of the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee.

Laurier has more than 71,000 alumni in 88 countries.

On October 1, 2011, 100 of Laurier’s alumni will be recognized for their outstanding achievements during a celebratory dinner event. In addition, the university is creating a special publication profiling each alumnus/alumna.

Laurier has more than 14,000 full-time students on its Waterloo and Brantford campuses.

This year, 100 of the university’s most promising student applicants will receive centennial scholarships, which cover their tuition for their first year.

Laurier has launched its “100 Hours for 100 Years” volunteer challenge. Visit www.laurier100.ca for details.

An anniversary book detailing the university’s 100-year history is being produced.

Artist Marlene Hilton Moore is creating a bronze statue of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, to be placed in the Waterloo campus quad. See the statue’s progress and an interview with Hilton Moore on Laurier’s YouTube channel in the “Laurier 100” playlist.

The Sir Wilfrid Laurier statue will be unveiled October 18, 2011.

Laurier installed the university’s Hall of Nations this year. Flags from approximately 70 countries represent the exact make-up of the student body.

Laurier’s Robert Langen Art Gallery hosted “100 Bowls for 100 Years,” a charity event that raised money for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region.

This spring, almost 2,500 students graduated from Laurier’s Waterloo and Brantford campuses.

Author Lawrence Hill, who received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Laurier in 2010, wrote part of The Book of Negroes while staying in Laurier’s Lucinda House several years earlier.

The Ontario Heritage Trust is awarding Laurier a heritage plaque to commemorate the university’s anniversary. The plaque will be unveiled in Waterloo in September, 2011.

Canada Post issued a commemorative envelope to celebrate Laurier’s centennial.

Laurier received more than 200 entries for the “100 Words Drabble Contest.” Winners of the writing contest will be announced in September, and an awards reception will take place September 29, 2011.

Laurier launched a national advertising campaign this year. You can check out Laurier’s ads in The Globe and Mail, the Waterloo Region Record, the Brantford Expositor or online at www.laurier100.ca.

Laurier alumnus Kerry Roebuck won the Laurier Centennial Fanfare Composition Competition. His composition is now the centerpiece of music performed at Laurier’s convocation ceremonies. You can listen to the fanfare and a special centennial concert from Laurier’s Faculty of Music on Laurier’s YouTube channel.

Twenty-seven centennial banners have been installed on the Waterloo and Brantford campuses, and at the Toronto office. The longest banner (on the King St. Residence building in Waterloo) is 22 metres long. The widest banner (on the Schlegel Centre building in Waterloo) is almost 29 metres wide.

Shinerama, a national fundraising event for cystic fibrosis that started at Laurier in 1961, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

In 1965, Laurier granted its 1,000th degree to Margaret Ann Elash.

Laurier was the first university in Canada to adopt a co-curricular record, an institutionally recognized chronicle of student engagement and student leadership involvement.

Laurier’s academic philosophy is for all students to experience integrated and engaged learning. Laurier develops graduates who, through a purposeful combination of theoretical and practical education and engagement, will be career-ready, work-ready and future-ready.

The Hon. John Milloy, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, announced June 20, 2011, that the provincial government will invest $72.6 million in the Global Innovation Exchange facility at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus. This is the largest single capital investment in the university’s history – and a very big birthday gift!

Laurier provides more than 1,000 student jobs on its Waterloo and Brantford campuses.

Laurier has more than 130 campus clubs on its Waterloo and Brantford campuses.

Neil Young performed at Laurier’s Theatre Auditorium on October 29, 1973.

Before the Golden Hawks were born, president of the Athletic Directorate Kenneth Coker dubbed the Laurier basketball team “the Mules” in 1951. The hockey team became known as the Ice Mules and the women’s sports teams as the Mulettes, but the mule was never formally adopted as the university’s mascot.

Professor Don Morgenson unveiled the university’s mascot, the Hawk, in 1960. Two years later, Athletics Director Richard Buendorf and two athletes spray-painted the hawk gold, and the Golden Hawks were born.

Laurier’s men’s basketball team has won one national and seven provincial championships.

Together, Laurier’s men’s and women’s curling teams have won four national and 11 provincial championships.

Laurier’s football team has won two national and 11 provincial championships.

Together, Laurier’s men’s and women’s hockey teams have won one national and 12 provincial championships.

Laurier hosted the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship for women’s hockey in March in Waterloo.

Laurier’s women’s lacrosse team has won eight provincial championships.

Laurier’s men’s and women’s soccer teams have won four national and 11 provincial championships.

Laurier has had 16 presidents and eight chancellors. Visit the president’s website.

The Waterloo College of Arts was established in 1924 to provide courses for a four-year post-secondary program. A year later, the Faculty of Arts, under the name of Waterloo College, affiliated with the University of Western Ontario.

Waterloo College didn’t have a school mascot, but did have the school colours of purple and gold. During this time, students proudly displayed the college “W” and were known as the Waterlooans.

In 1929, the decision was made to admit female students to the university.

In 1931, Louise Twietmeyer became the university’s first female graduate.

Eleven Waterloo College students served and died in the Second World War.

Waterloo College’s affiliation with the University of Western Ontario ended in 1960 when the Seminary obtained a revised charter changing the name of the institution to Waterloo Lutheran University and giving degree-granting rights to both the Seminary and the University.

On November 1, 1973, Waterloo Lutheran University became a provincially funded university under the name Wilfrid Laurier University. At that time, the University had an enrolment of 2,299.

Laurier saw a rapid expansion of campus facilities in the latter half of the century and became one of Canada’s fastest growing universities, with 17 major construction projects completed between 1960 and 1973 alone.

Two major landmarks completed during that time were the Dr. Alvin Woods Building in 1969 and the Students’ Union Building in 1970.

Two major faculties were created in the 1960s: Department of Business Administration and Economics (now the School of Business and Economics) and the Faculty of Social Work.

In 1999, Laurier opened a second campus in Brantford, Ontario. Visit www.wlu.ca/brantford for information about the Brantford campus.

Laurier Brantford’s innovative contemporary studies programming attracted many students, and enrolment grew from 39 students to nearly 2,500 students in only a decade.

In 2002, Laurier Brantford partnered with Nipissing University to offer Ontario’s first concurrent Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education program.

Laurier’s Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work moved to Kitchener, Ontario in 2006. The downtown campus, located in the historic St. Jerome’s College/High School building, put social work students closer to the social-service agencies with which they frequently work.

In 2007, Laurier expanded its international reach by opening an office in one of the most dynamic regions of China. The office, based at the major comprehensive Chongqing University in southwest China, promotes academic collaboration, research partnerships, and faculty and student exchanges.

Similarly, Laurier opened an office in Toronto in 2009 to support co-op students and partners, assist the weekend-format MBA program, and provide a base of support for alumni relations, student recruitment and government relations. Visit www.wlu.ca/lauriertoronto for more information about the Toronto office.

Laurier has student exchange partnerships with institutions in almost 30 countries.

Laurier Brantford has developed a 2+2 program in journalism with Chongqing University. Students can combine their studies at Brantford with an exchange to Chongqing through Laurier International.

The Canadian Consul and Senior Trade Commissioner in Chongqing visited Laurier’s Waterloo and Brantford campuses in February, 2011.

There are nearly 550 full-time professors at Laurier.

Laurier has more than 20 research centres and institutes.

International Chess Grandmaster Mark Bluvshtein simultaneously played 30 people from the Laurier community for a centennial event in Waterloo March 30, 2011. He beat them all.

Laurier has a fight song that dates back at least 70 years. The song first appeared during the university’s Waterloo College years, from 1925 to 1960, but it faded from memory when the institution became Waterloo Lutheran University. In 2005, sheet music titled “Waterloo We’ll Praise Thee Ever” was found in the university archives. A group from the WLU Alumni Choir updated the lyrics, replacing “Waterloo” with “Laurier.”

Rock band Kiss played at the university in 1974.

The first graduate of the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary was Nils Willison in 1914.

The building “Old Main,” later named Willison Hall, was opened in 1915 and demolished in 1969. Willison Hall is now the name of one of Laurier’s 20 residence buildings on the Waterloo campus.

The Waterloo Lutheran Seminary had a float in the 2010 Kitchener-Waterloo Thanksgiving Day parade. A massive, inflatable Golden Hawk was also in the parade. Look for Laurier in this year’s Thanksgiving Day parade, too!

The Women’s Auxillary was founded on February 27, 1913 to stimulate interest in the programs and needs of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, especially in relation to the training of men and women committed to a Christian ministry.

In 1926, the first issue of The Cord, Laurier’s Waterloo student newspaper, was published, and in 1950, the first Keystone yearbook was published. The first issue of the Brantford campus student newspaper, The Sputnik, was published in 2000.

In 1954, the first issue of the Waterlooan, a magazine geared toward the alumni of Waterloo College, was published. It lasted just one issue, but resurfaced in 1957 as This is Waterloo. From 1962 to 1974, the magazine was known as Waterloo Campus. Since 1974, it has been called Laurier Campus. Read past issues online.

A centennial edition of Laurier Campus is coming out in August, 2011. The issue looks back on the university’s 100 years and forward to its future.

In 1955, the first Waterloo College alumni reunion was held for the class of 1929.

In 1960, the first annual Boar’s Head Dinner occurred and the first annual Winter Carnival took place.

Over the years, Winter Carnival has featured many different activities, including ice sculpture contests, musical concerts, outdoor sporting events, and the Miss Canadian University Queen Pageant.

Diana Ross and the Supremes played at Winter Carnival in 1969.

In 1965, the first phase of the library was completed (two more floors were added in 1971, and another two in 1984). There were roughly 66,000 items available at that time. Today, there are almost two million items, available in print along with more than 12,000 electronic journals.

Alumni Hall was constructed in 1967 as the president’s residence. However, only one president – William J. Villaume – lived in the house before it was turned into an administrative building.

On January 17, 1974, Radio Lutheran became Radio Laurier.

Laurier alumnus Earle Shelley was named Alumnus of the Century in 1977.

Laurier is the only university in Canada to bestow a nationally recognized literary award: The Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. Visit www.wlu.ca/staebleraward for more information about the award.

The Wilfrid Laurier University Archives is sponsoring two projects for the centennial: the Laurier Archives Centennial Writing Contest and the Stories from the Stacks video series. Videos about Winter Carnival, Shinerama and the Laurier Golden Hawk can be found at www.youtube.com/LaurierArchives.

In 1981, the first Boost Alcohol Consciousness Concerning the Health of University Students (BACCHUS) group in Canada started at Laurier.

Leading international scholars on the United Nations system gathered at Laurier’s Waterloo campus this June for the Academic Council on the United Nations System annual meeting. Laurier is the first Canadian institution to host the council, which represents nearly 1,000 international scholars and practitioners who study the workings and effectiveness of the UN system. Visit www.acuns.org for more information.

More than 600 political scientists from Canada and around the world gathered at Laurier’s Waterloo campus in May for the 2011 national conference of the Canadian Political Science Association.

Laurier hosted a plenary panel discussion in Waterloo May 18, 2011, titled Women and Political Leadership: A Centennial Journey Unfinished. The Honourable Sheila Copps sat on a panel discussing women’s progress and inability to truly “break the glass-ceiling” of political representation since gaining the federal franchise nearly 100 years ago.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier was named Canada’s #1 prime minister by Maclean’s in June, 2011. Read the article.

A centennial lecture, titled “100 Years after Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier: Canada’s Political Landscape,” will take place September 22, 2011 at Laurier’s Waterloo campus.

Guest speaker Sir Richard Bowlby, internationally renowned for the lectures he gives to health care professionals, will speak at Laurier’s Waterloo and Toronto locations September 21 and 22, 2011.

Laurier will host RE-imagine, a conference that explores the role and future of universities in a changing world, October 20, 2011, in Waterloo. Visit the website for more information.

In 1953, the university had its first homecoming celebration in Waterloo. The Brantford campus had its first homecoming in 2009.

Laurier’s 2011 homecoming, Soaring for a Century, takes place from September 30 to October 2, 2011, in Waterloo. Visit www.laurieralumni.ca/homecoming for more information. The Brantford campus will celebrate its third homecoming September 24, 2011. Visit www.laurieralumni.ca/alumni/brantfordhomecoming for more information.

Events to culminate Laurier’s centennial year celebrations will be held the weekend of October 29, 2011, in Waterloo. Keep checking www.laurier100.ca for details on upcoming events.


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