Wilfrid Laurier University (commonly referred to as WLU or simply Laurier) is a public university 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. 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. Laurier’s varsity teams, known as the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, compete in the West Conference of the Ontario University Athletics, affiliated to the U Sports.
In 1910, the Lutheran Synod established a seminary, which opened to students in 1911, as the Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary of Eastern 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 obtained a revised charter changing the name of the seminary to Waterloo Lutheran University. On November 1, 1973, the name was again changed to Wilfrid Laurier University when the relevant provincial law was given Royal Assent by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Ross Macdonald, who later served as Laurier’s Chancellor. Waterloo Lutheran University’s seminary and theological programs continued to be offered by the affiliated Waterloo Lutheran Seminary (now Martin Luther University College).
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.
The university is represented in Canadian Interuniversity Sport by the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks.
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.