Traditions

University mace

This solid silver and ebony wand was given to the University in 1965 by the family of the late Stanley F. Leavine and was designed by Toronto artist Eric Aldwinckle and crafted by silversmith Harold Stacey to symbolize the University as it was at that time. It displays lions, chevrons and the shield of the province of Ontario, from which the University holds its charter to grant degrees.

The symbolic theme of the mace is unity amid diversity, and tension in the creative intellectual process that strives to bring forth a new individual. The design of the mace interprets this theme in the idiom of the life process: from the seeds at the base of the stave, the mace grows in unity and strength until it differentiates by a four-fold separation into diverse elements.

The four-fold diversity is significant because of the four faculties existing at the time the mace was presented to the University and as well of the four church-related colleges federated and affiliated with the University. These diverse elements together form a crown, and the points of the crown, while tending toward a union do not quite touch. They remain as individuals suspended in tension and yet engaged in a deep harmony. This creative process is focused not on the traditional spherical orb of static perfection but rather on an elliptical silver ovum — the egg-shaped symbol of creativity — the marvelous potential of a new individual life.

Mace in venue

University arms and motto

The lions and chevrons also appear on the shield that is the University’s coat of arms and that is imprinted on the graduates’ diplomas. Derived from traditional heraldry, it has been used since 1961 and was registered with the Court of the Lord Lyon in 1987. The shield uses the official colours of gold, black and white, and its symbols refer to the University’s base in the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo. The unusual double chevrons were borrowed from the coat of arms of Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, and the red lions are like those on the coat of arms of the Duke of Wellington, victor at the 1815 Battle of Waterloo. The lions also reflect the tough and innovative spirit of the University’s founders and builders, and the black and white in the chevron are the colours of Prussia, reflecting the Germanic background of many Waterloo County settlers. Beneath the shield appears the University’s motto, “concordia cum veritate,” — meaning, in harmony with truth.

Academic regalia - degree hoods

The academic regalia chosen for the University of Waterloo is patterned after that of the University of Oxford (except where noted).

Hoods displayed on the hood rack

Bachelor's degree hoods

Master's degree hoods

For the Master's degree, hoods are black silk in the Oxford Master shape, lined with the appropriate degree colour and turned over 1/2", trimmed with two rows of white, or coloured, soutache braid 1/2" from the coloured edge. Degree colours or colours of a specific discipline are:

  • Master of Accounting (MAcc) - green with gold soutache braid trim (Arts)
  • Master of Actuarial Science (MActSc) - wine with green soutache braid trim (Mathematics)  
  • Master of Applied Science (MASc) - scarlet with white soutache braid trim (Arts: Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Psychology - Developmental and Communication Science / Engineering)
  • Master of Architecture (MArch) - yellow lining and border with white soutache braid trim (Engineering)
  • Master of Arts (MA) - green lining with white soutache braid trim (Arts / Environment: Geography, Planning / Health: Recreation and Leisure Studies)
  • Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) - royal blue with white soutache braid trim (Engineering)
  • Master of Catholic Thought (MCT) - purple with gold soutache braid trim (St. Jerome's University/University of Waterloo)
  • Master of Climate Change (MCC) - orange with white soutache braid trim (Environment)
  • Master of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (MDSAI) - wine with green soutache braid trim (Mathematics)
  • Master of Development Practice (MDP) - orange with white soutache braid trim (Environment)
  • Master of Digital Experience Innovation (MDEI) - green with wine soutache braid trim (Arts)  
  • Master of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) - orange with white soutache braid trim (Environment)
  • Master of Engineering (MEng) - scarlet with scarlet soutache braid trim (Engineering)
  • Master of Environment and Business (MEB) - orange with white soutache braid trim (Environment)
  • Master of Environmental Studies (MES) - orange with green soutache braid trim (Environment: Geography, Planning, Social and Ecological Sustainability, Sustainability Management)
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA) - green with terra cotta soutache braid trim (Arts)
  • Master of Health Evaluation (MHE) - blue with blue soutache braid trim (Health)
  • Master of Health Informatics (MHI) - wine with green soutache braid trim (Health)
  • Master of Management Sciences (MMSc) - scarlet with green soutache braid trim (Engineering: Management Sciences)
  • Master of Mathematics (MMath) - wine with white soutache braid trim (Mathematics)
  • Master of Mathematics for Teachers (MMT) - wine with green soutache braid trim (Mathematics)
  • Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) - green with wine soutache braid trim (Arts)
  • Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) - olive green with gold soutache braid trim (Science)"
  • Master of Planning (MPlan) - orange with white soutache braid trim (Environment)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH) - blue with blue soutache braid trim (Health)
  • Master of Public Service (MPS) - green with wine soutache braid trim (Arts)
  • Master of Quantitative Finance (MQF) - wine with green soutache braid trim (Mathematics)
  • Master of Science (MSc) - blue with white soutache braid trim (Environment: Geography / Health: Kinesiology, Public Health and Health Systems / Science)
  • Master of Social Work (MSW) - blue with blue soutache braid trim (Health)
  • Master of Taxation (MTax) - green with wine soutache braid trim (Arts: Accounting)
  • Master of Theological Studies (MTS) - purple with white soutache braid trim (Conrad Grebel University College/University of Waterloo)

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree hood

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree hood has a green shell with off-white taffeta lining patterned after the University of Cambridge hood. The Doctoral hat is black velvet in the Oxford style with gold cord trim and tassel.

Honorary degree hoods

  • Doctor of Divinity (DD) - purple silk with mauve lining
  • Doctor of Engineering (DEng) - scarlet silk with pink lining
  • Doctor of Environmental Studies (DES) - orange silk with ivory lining
  • Doctor of Laws (LLD) - pink silk with magenta lining
  • Doctor of Letters (DLitt) - green silk with pale green silk lining
  • Doctor of Mathematics (DMath) - wine silk with buff silk lining
  • Doctor of Science (DSc) - blue silk with pale blue silk lining