Wilfrid Laurier University's history as an institution of higher learning dates back to 1911 when the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary of Canada opened its doors to students. This was a result of the agreement made between the Canada Synod and the Synod of Central Canada of the Lutheran Church who decided they wanted to open a Lutheran Seminary. Waterloo was selected as the location of the seminary for two main reasons, the first being that land was offered by the citizens of Waterloo on the boundary of town for the seminary and the second being that most of the Lutherans in Canada at the time resided in Waterloo and Berlin (now known as Kitchener).
In 1914 the seminary developed facilities for pre-theological education. These courses could lead to senior matriculation which was offered by Waterloo College School.
In 1924 the Waterloo College of Arts was established which offered post-secondary four-year programs. In 1925 programs offered by the Faculty of Arts, which operated under the name Waterloo College and which was affiliated with the University of Western Ontario, could be turned into honours degrees.
In 1960 the Seminary revised its charter and changed its name to Waterloo Lutheran University and ended its affiliation with University of Western Ontario.
With the rise of secularism in Canada, Waterloo Lutheran University became Wilfrid Laurier University on November 1, 1973, named after The Right Honourable Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada's seventh prime minister. The name change had the added benefit of keeping the same logos for the university since both Waterloo Lutheran University and Wilfrid Laurier University can be abbreviated to WLU. Bill 178 was given Royal Assent to make it official.
Wilfrid Laurier's Waterloo campus is well known throughout Canada for its top quality business program. WLU offers a full range of undergraduate programs. It has a small campus and small enrollment compared with other Ontario universities.
There are currently efforts to add Master's programs in several fields as the University only offers Master's degrees in a limited number of programs.
There is also construction underway to add a large addition to the science building and a new residence apartment building is being constructed.