• 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.


  • 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.


  • Engineering II and III are officially opened by Ontario Premier John Robarts in April.
  • In July, the first engineering graduates are granted their degrees, with 64 students from the class of '57 completing the program; 13 go on to graduate studies.


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


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


  • 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).


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


  • 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 first undergraduate class of systems design engineering students graduates.


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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • The first class of geological engineering students graduates.


  • The first class of computer engineering students graduates.


  • 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.


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


  • 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.


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


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


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


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


  • 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.


  • 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 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.


  • 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.


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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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 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.