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Laurier grows once more

Andre Furlong looks back on Laurier history in ‘From the Archives’

The past quarter century has shown us that the Laurier story was never meant to be bound to a single piece of land in Waterloo.

After a process that spanned multiple administrations, both governmental and institutional, Laurier will open a new Milton campus in 2024, an initiative you can read about in this edition of Laurier Campus magazine.

It’s hard not to juxtapose Laurier’s latest stage of growth to the decidedly humble origins of the school. It was a modest beginning that is perfectly encapsulated in this photograph, which features all of the people and single building that made up what we now call Laurier during its first year.

Lutheran Seminary
Photo courtesy of the Laurier Archives.

The photo shows the new seminary founded by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Central Canada in 1911. And, literally, this was it – one building, five acres of land and five humans. The kernel of everything Martin Luther University College and Laurier have become is shown here, situated on a mostly empty plot of land in lightly populated Waterloo.

Unlike Laurier’s move to open campuses in Brantford and Milton, Waterloo was not a first choice. The Lutheran Synod desired to establish the seminary in Toronto, but was bereft of funds to do so. A gift of land (and the building visible in the photo) from the Waterloo Board of Trade is the reason the Laurier story originates where it does.

Laurier’s footprint continues to expand – both physically and through academic and community impact – from this unassuming beginning. Imagine what might be if things had played out differently…

Andre Furlong is an archives assistant at the Laurier Archives on the university's Waterloo campus.

Visit to read more articles from the Fall-Winter 2021 print edition of Laurier Campus and new alumni stories between print editions.