• Waterloo College Associate Faculties - which in 1959 became the University of Waterloo by an Act of the Ontario Legislature - offers its first classes on July 2 for 74 engineering students. They pay $54.29 for the term's textbooks, and sweat through their lectures in temporary buildings with tin roofs.
  • In October, the students start their work term's in what is the first co-operative education program in Canada. The program alternates academic study with practical work experience.
University of Waterloo Logo


  • The chemistry and chemical engineering building - later named Engineering I and later still, Douglas Wright Engineering - is opened by Ontario Premier Leslie Frost.
  • Engineering students paint BEER 125 feet above the ground on the Hazel Street water tower. Two of the culprits receive a suspended sentence for trespassing - and the university recieves its first nation-wide publicity.
Water Tower


  • In May, four students - William Cousins Miller, John Shewchun, Ferenc (Frank) Takacs and William Jacob Vetter - receive the first engineering master's degrees from Ralph Gordon Stanton, the University's first dean of graduate studies.


  • Engineering II and III are officially opened by Ontario Premier John Robarts in April.
  • In July, the first undergraduate engineering degrees are awarded to 64 students from the class of '57; 13 of those students go on to graduate studies.
First Engineering Gradute ceremony


  • The first doctoral degrees are awarded to engineering students Peter Roe (a future Waterloo faculty member) and Carl Turkstra.
Peter Roe and Carl Turkstra with their degrees


  • The 1,000th degree is awarded to engineering student Hans Treffers at fall convocation.
Engineering Logo


  • Named for electrical engineering alumnus Rod Coutts (BASc '64, Elect, DEng ), the J. R. Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall opens.
  • Institute of Design works on three contracts for the international world’s fair, Expo 67 (Kaleidoscope Pavilion, Man and his Planet, and Space Pavilion).
Front of international world's fair


  • The Ridgid Tool makes its first public appearance at a semi-formal dance as mascot of the Engineering Society.
The Ridgid Tool


  • Engineering IV opens its doors. In 1979 the name of the building is officially changed to Carl Pollock Hall in honour of the recently deceased co-founder of the university and one of its chancellors.
The Carl Pollock Hall building


  • The first undergraduate class of systems design engineering students graduates.
Systems Design University of Waterloo Logo


  • The Waterloo Pump, designed in the faculty of engineering out of cheap and readily available construction materials, begins bringing clean water to third world countries. The pump is still being used.
The Waterloo Pump


  • The School of Architecture opens its studio in Rome, Italy offering fourth-year students a unique design program and cultural experience.
Interior of the studio in Rome


  • The university's first chairman of civil engineering and first dean of engineering, Douglas Wright, becomes president and vice-chancellor of the university. He serves until 1993.
Engineering Studnets touching helmets to each other


  • It's a dark day for engineering students when, in the first week of January, their mascot, the Ridgid Tool, is stolen from the trunk of a car. The Tool is returned in the spring inside a 45-gallon drum of concrete and with the letters "U of T" engraved on it.
University of Waterloo students posing with Engineering tool


  • The first class of geological engineering students graduates.
Student working with geological equipment


  • The first class of computer engineering students graduates.
Hand turning dials on a computer screen


  • The first Midnight Sun solar car is unveiled at a cost of $116,000.
  • Undergraduate engineering students vote to pay a voluntary fee each term to create the Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund.
The first Midnight Sun solar car
Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund logo


  • Waterluge, a concrete toboggan built by a team of engineering students, captures first place at the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race in Montreal.
Person on Waterluge


  • The university, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and Research in Motion, Ltd. announce a project to develop "the next generation of microchips for wireless communications." The first BlackBerry Wireless Handheld hits the market in 1999, and is listed as one of the country's top 50 inventions on the January 2007 CBC TV special, The Greatest Canadian Invention.
The first BlackBerry Wireless Handheld


  • Hussein Etawil, a PhD student in electrical and computer engineering, becomes the first graduate student to submit his doctoral thesis as an electronic document.
Portrait of Hussein Etawil


  • Parker Mitchell and George Roter, two engineering graduates, launch Engineers Without Borders, an international development organization.
Engineers Without Borders Canada Logo


  • Engineering students take top prize for their entry in the SAE International Clean Snowmobile Competition held in Jackson, Wyoming.
Snowmobile lined up in the snow


  • A team of Waterloo Engineering students captures first prize at the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race in Winnipeg. 
Engineering students that competed in the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race


  • Engineering students take top prizes in the 13th International Environmental Design Contest in New Mexico. Among the awards students bring home is the overall award for sustainability and the judges award for innovation.
Student working in a lab


  • Midnight Sun VII rolls into the record books for an incredible journey, travelling 15,070 km through Canada and the United States. The feat is recognized by Guinness World Records as the "longest journey by a solar electric vehicle."
  • A team of systems design engineering students brings home a gold medal from Skatebot 2004, a competition for robots on skates held in Calgary.
The Midnight Sun VII


  • The School of Architecture, part of engineering for its first two years (1967-69), returns to its roots after 36 years in Environmental Studies. In 2004, architecture moves into the renovated Riverside Silk Mill in Cambridge.
  • The Alternative Fuels Team - the only Canadian team participating - triumphs over 16 top U.S. universities to win first place at the Challenge X competition in Detroit for its fuel-cell-powered vehicle design.
  • A new engineering discipline is born with the launch of Canada’s first and only Nanotechnology Engineering undergraduate degree program.
Person working on a fuel-cell-powered vehicle


  • The university's Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology joins Waterloo Engineering. The centre is renamed the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre in 2010.
  • The mechanical engineering department becomes the mechanical and mechatronics engineering department, reflecting increasing research strength in mechatronics and responsibility for the mechatronics engineering undergraduate degree program.
  • Civil engineering becomes civil and environmental engineering. The department takes sole responsibility for the environmental engineering program, which had been also offered through the chemical engineering department.
  • The first class of software engineering students graduates.
Outside of Engineering 7


  • Management engineering launches as an undergraduate program.
  • Engineering and the University of Waterloo celebrate their 50th anniversary. 
Opening ceremony of Management engineering


  • Chemical engineering and civil engineering are the first departments launched at University of Waterloo's campus in United Arab Emirates. The first 22 students are taught by professors from the Waterloo campus.
United Arab Emirates flag


  • Engineering 5, home to mechanical and mechatronics engineering, systems design engineering, and electrical engineering, opens its doors. Features include two-storey, 20,000-square-foot student design centre.
Memorial stone for Engineering 5


  • Engineering 6, the new home for most of the chemical engineering department, opens in October.
  • Undergraduate students celebrate WEEF reaching and exceeding $10 million.
The Engineering 6 building


  • The Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre opens. It  houses our unique teaching programs and facilities for nano-scale device fabrication, as well as the university's Institute for Quantum Computing.
  • Engineering's first graduating class marks its 50th anniversary.
The Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre building


  • For the second year in a row, Waterloo was listed among the Top 50 global engineering and technology schools in the 2013 Shanghai Ranking (ARWU)
Shanghai Ranking (ARWU) logo


  • The Biomedical engineering program is launched. 
  • For the third year in a row, Waterloo was listed among the Top 50 global engineering and technology schools in the 2014 Shanghai Ranking (ARWU).

  • Fall 2014 marked both the highest undergraduate enrolment (7,186) and the most women undergraduate students (1,634) ever in the Faculty. First first-year undergraduate class also had the most women ever; a full 29% of the first-year class was female.

  • The University’s board of governors approves the construction of Engineering 7 to accommodate the growing demand for mechatronics and biomedical engineering, and to house the new Engineering Ideas Clinic, as well as a Flight Centre for testing flying autonomous vehicles…and more.

  • Waterloo ranked #40 in the world in US News & World Report’s inaugural Best Global Universities ranking for engineering.

  • Waterloo Engineering awarded the most engineering undergraduate and PhD degrees in Canada.

  • 16% of co-op work terms in 2014 were outside of Canada, the highest international proportion of co-op work terms ever for the faculty.

Women working in a lab
Engineering 5 building


  • As of May 2015, over 600 companies have been identified as having Waterloo Engineering students, faculty, staff or alumni as founders.

Students in front of Engineering 7 sign


  • The Green and Intelligent Automotive (GAIA) facility opens its doors to help advance Waterloo Engineering’s research focused on revolutionizing the auto industry with electrical and hybrid vehicles of the future.

Green and Intelligent Automotive logo


  • Waterloo Engineering and the University of Waterloo mark their 60th anniversary.
University of Waterloo Engineering 60th anniversary logo


  • The Artificial Intelligence option for all engineering undergraduates is introduced to enhance students’ careers as industry leaders in the field of AI.
  • The University’s Waterloo Artificial Intelligence Institute opens to accelerate key AI technologies and foundational breakthroughs.
  • Engineering 7 officially opens. The student-centric building includes the Engineering Ideas Clinic®, RoboHub, world-class additive manufacturing facilities, expanded facilities for six engineering programs, new headquarters for the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business, a permanent home for Outreach and much more.
  • Architectural Engineering, the Faculty’s 15th undergraduate program, launches.
Remote video URL


  • The School of Architecture marks the 40th anniversary of its Rome program with a four-day celebration in the eternal city.

  • Waterloo Engineering’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025 launches to direct activities for the next five years. The plan is based on the Faculty’s vision to inspire leaders to define new frontiers in education, entrepreneurship and research to better serve society and create a better future for generations to come.

Remote video URL


  • Opening of the Autonomous Vehicle Research and Intelligence Laboratory (AVRIL).

Side of car with wires

  • At June's convocation, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Faculty's alumni community reached and surpassed 50,000 members. 


  • The Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund (WEEF) reaches $20 million.  Since launching in 1990, it has funded everything from lab equipment to Lego kits.