University of Waterloo
#179 Overall Influence

University of Waterloo

Public research university in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

By James Barham, PhD

The University of Waterloo traces its roots back to the Waterloo College School, founded in 1914.

The college school was the non-theological teaching arm of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary (now Martin Luther University College), itself founded in 1911.

In 1924, the college school began to offer a regular, three-year, liberal arts curriculum under the name of Waterloo College of Arts. The following year the school became officially associated with the University of Western Ontario, under the name of Waterloo College.

In 1957, a separate administrative entity was established within the structure of Waterloo College. It was called Waterloo College Associate Faculties (WCAF).

Two years later, in 1959, WCAF split away from both Waterloo College and the University of Western Ontario, becoming an independent institution of higher learning under the name of the University of Waterloo. Several other Waterloo College academic units—the Mathematics, Economics, German, and Russian Departments, among others—chose to transfer to the new University of Waterloo.

Today, Waterloo’s academic structure comprises 13 schools spread among six faculties. The student body numbers more than 36,000 souls.

In 1999, the cutting-edge Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) opened in the city of Waterloo. The PI engages in cooperative partnership with the University of Waterloo, among other universities and institutions.

Noted individuals associated with the University of Waterloo include:

  • Mathematicians, Jonathan Borwein, David M. Jackson, Jack Edmonds, Hiroshi Haruki, Ronald C. Read, Doug Stinson, Neil Koblitz & Carsten Thomassen
  • Computer scientists, Gordon Bell, Michele Mosca, Václav Chvátal, Jeffrey Shallit, Gordon Cormack, Rik Holt, David Cheriton, Ian Goldberg, Rasmus Lerdorf & Mike Lazaridis
  • Philosophers, Jan Narveson, Paul Thagard & Justin K.A. Smith
  • Poet, George Elliott Clarke
  • Novelists, James Alan Gardner & Anne Fleming
  • Children’s author, Tim Wynne-Jones
  • Animator, Bill Reeves
  • Actors, Brad Goddard, Steve Smith & Rick Green
  • Astronomers, Clifford Cunningham & Michael Balogh
  • Astrophysicist, Will Percival
  • Cosmologists, Lee Smolin & Michael Hudson
  • Physicists, Donna Strickland (Nobel laureate), Anthony Leggett, Paul S. Wesson, Robert Mann, Michael Gingras, Jeff Z.Y. Chen, Stefan Idziak & James J. Kay
  • Electrical engineers, Vijay Bhargava & Prem Saran Satsangi
  • Electrical engineer and hybrid systems pioneer, Claire J. Tomlin
  • Chemists, Giacinto Scoles & Moustafa Aly Soliman
  • Biophysicists, Zoya Leonenko & Bae-Yeun Ha
  • Theoretical neuroscientist, Chris Eliasmith
  • Psychologist, Lisa Feldman Barrett
  • Social psychologists, Ziva Kunda & Melvin Lerner
  • Anthropologist, Anne Zeller
  • Religious studies scholars Douglas E. Cowan & A. James Reimer
  • Judaica scholar, Paul G. Socken
  • Historians, Ken Coates & W.G. Godfrey
  • Economists, Robert Mundell (Nobel laureate), Maurice Kugler & David X. Li
  • Former Canadian Governor, General David Johnston

What is University of Waterloo known for?

#29 World Rank
Computer Science
#39 World Rank
Social Work
#69 World Rank
#73 World Rank
Earth Sciences
#80 World Rank
#107 World Rank
#122 World Rank
#122 World Rank
#122 World Rank
Religious Studies
#161 World Rank
#200 World Rank
#253 World Rank
Political Science
#255 World Rank
#266 World Rank
#322 World Rank
#344 World Rank
#430 World Rank
#627 World Rank
#1372 World Rank

Influential People

Who are University of Waterloo's Most influential alumni?

University of Waterloo's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Computer Science, Social Work, and Engineering. University of Waterloo’s most academically influential people include George Elliott Clarke, Mike Lazaridis, and Anne Innis Dagg.

George Elliott Clarke
George Elliott Clarke

Canadian writer

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Mike Lazaridis
Mike Lazaridis

Canadian businessman

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Anne Innis Dagg
Anne Innis Dagg

Canadian zoologist

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Steven J. Cooke
Steven J. Cooke

Canadian biologist

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Rasmus Lerdorf
Rasmus Lerdorf

Danish programmer and creator of PHP

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Erik Demaine
Erik Demaine

Canadian computer scientist

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Gaston Gonnet
Gaston Gonnet

Computer Scientist, Entrepreneur

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David Cheriton

Canadian businessman and computer scientist

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Vahid Tarokh

Iranian mathematician

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G. D. Yadav

Indian chemical engineer

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Kevin O'Leary
Kevin O'Leary

Canadian businessman, writer and television personality

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Arda Ocal
Arda Ocal

Television personality, announcer, and writer

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