University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo (commonly referred as Waterloo or UW) is a public research university whose main campus is located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The main campus is located on 400 hectares (990 acres) of land adjacent to Waterloo Park. The university offers a wide variety of academic programs, which are administered by six faculties, and four affiliated university colleges. Waterloo is a member of the U15, a group of research-intensive universities in Canada.

The university traces its origins to 1 July 1957 as the Waterloo College Associate Faculties, a semi-autonomous entity of Waterloo College (which later evolved into the present-day Wilfrid Laurier University). The entity had formally separated from Waterloo College in 1959, and was incorporated as a university. The university was established in order to fill the need of a program to train engineers and technicians for Canada’s growing postwar economy. Since then, the university had greatly expanded, adding a faculty of arts in 1960, and the College of Optometry of Ontario moving from Toronto in 1967.

The university is co-educational, and has nearly 26,000 undergraduate and over 4,000 post-graduate students. It also provides a co-operative educational opportunity for grade twelve students in the Waterloo Catholic District School Board through its partnership with the University Co-operative Education Program (UCEP). These high school students originate from home schools in the WCDSB including Resurrection, St. Mary's, St. David's, and St. Benedict's. Students spend first semester of their final year of high school at the University of Waterloo, during which they complete one university course and two high school courses, and work with a professor at the university as a research assistant. Alumni and former students of the university can be found all across Canada and in 141 countries around the world. Waterloo's varsity teams, known as the Waterloo Warriors compete in the Ontario University Athletics conference of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

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, formerly known as Waterloo Lutheran University). The non-denominational school was founded in 1957 by Dr. Gerry Hagey and Ira G. Needles in Waterloo, Ontario. The Waterloo College of Arts became affiliated with the University of Western Ontario in 1925.

Today Wilfrid Laurier University is reputed for its business and liberal arts programs while the University of Waterloo is reputed for its engineering and math programs. The university's first president, Gerry Hagey, gathered teachers of engineering and basic sciences, and also obtained an initial grant of $625,000 from the government. The first 74 students began classes on 1 July 1957, in makeshift temporary buildings on the Waterloo College campus. In 1958, the University of Waterloo established an extension department.

Waterloo is a publicly funded research university, and a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Waterloo functions on a term-based system, operating year-round on three different terms, fall, winter and spring. Undergraduate programs comprise the majority of the school's enrolment, made up of 24,377 full-time and part-time undergraduate students. The university conferred 4,078 bachelor degrees, 209 doctoral degrees, 1,040 master degrees, and 87 first professional degrees in 2008–2009.

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