Photography by Tomasz Adamski
With faculties and departments across the university marking milestone anniversaries this academic year, there's plenty of reason to celebrate at Laurier.
Whether it be educating future business leaders, contributing to political discourse in Canada, training some of the nation's finest musicians or improving lives through the practice of social work, each of the faculties and departments celebrating an anniversary has helped foster positive change while playing a key role in Laurier's growth and development.
"These faculties and departments remain true to the Laurier tradition of academic excellence while also innovating to meet contemporary challenges." said Laurier President and Vice-Chancellor Max Blouw. "Each is actively enhancing our reputation as a leading university in Canada."
The business world has certainly changed since the founding of Laurier's Lazaridis School of Business and Economics in 1966.
Global competition is more intense, trade barriers have come down and advances in technology are dictating the pace of change. Startup companies often lead the way when it comes to innovation, while some longstanding corporations are struggling to keep up.
And, as Micheál J. Kelly will tell you, everything moves faster.
"The biggest change is the pace of business," the dean of the Lazaridis School says. "Competition has gotten so much more intense and it's become globalized, so the speed at which you can get things done becomes critical."
Laurier's Lazaridis School is celebrating its 50th anniversary this academic year, marking a five-decade tradition of excellence in developing Canadian business leaders, and moving faster than ever before.
Read the Lazaridis School 50th anniversary story
When Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work first opened its doors on Sept. 6, 1966, founders of the new school were determined their program would focus on cutting-edge research, become engrained in the community and provide students a well-rounded education.
The faculty's first dean, Sheldon L. Rahn, would surely be proud those pillars remain a primary focus 50 years later.
That's not to say things haven't changed over the years.
"After starting out as a smaller program, the faculty has certainly evolved," says Dawn Buzza, acting dean of Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work. "The work that is done here puts a focus on today’s most urgent social issues, as well as the evolving landscape of social policies and practices. I think that's a real strength."
Whether it be studying how Syrian refugees are integrated on the ground in Turkey, tackling the issue of poverty in Uganda or considering political questions closer to home, research undertaken in Laurier's Department of Political Science makes an impact.
It's a proud tradition that has its origin in the 1920s, when the teaching of political science began at Wilfrid Laurier University's precursor, what was then known as the Waterloo College of Arts.
"Over the years, our department has become well-known and well-respected throughout Canada for its research and outstanding student experience," says Debora VanNijnatten, current chair of Laurier's Department of Political Science.
Read the Department of Political Science 50th anniversary story
In the 40 years since Laurier's Faculty of Music came into existence, music has changed, how it is disseminated has changed and the way musicians contribute to society has changed.
Recognizing and keeping pace with those changes has kept Laurier's music program a leader in Canada and built on the strong foundation laid by those who founded the faculty, says Glen Carruthers, dean of the Faculty of Music.
“Laurier’s Faculty of Music has positioned itself over the past 40 years as a top music school in Canada," Carruthers says during an interview in his Waterloo office. "While we're celebrating our past achievements with our 40th anniversary, this is also a time to look forward and consider the ways we can continue to be relevant in a world that seems to have change as its only constant."
Read the Faculty of Music 40th anniversary story
The field of psychology has transformed since 1956, the year the Department of Psychology was founded at Wilfrid Laurier University's precursor, the Waterloo College of Arts.
During the past 60 years, the department has grown to include more than 30 professors who teach more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students in arts and science streams.
This year, the department is celebrating six decades of preparing students for careers in the field.