For University of Waterloo alumni, attending events like Reunion gives them an excuse to comb through their closets and dig out apparel from when they were students.

University jackets and sweaters are always conversation starters as alumni roam through displays at the Forever Black and Gold luncheon and other Reunion events, happening May 31 and June 1 this year.

As a special tribute to UWaterloo clothing from decades past, here’s a look at some unique pieces in the Library’s Special Collections & Archives (SCA).

Front view of a white jacket with a logo and Waterloo College on itWaterloo College and Associate Faculties jacket, 1958

When Robert Judd (BASc ’63) came to campus to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his graduation from UWaterloo, he proudly donned the white jacket he wore as an undergraduate student. Robert was part of the second cohort of students to graduate from Waterloo College and Associate Faculties, which is what the University was called back then. The jacket has “Engineering” on the back and "Waterloo College” on the front. While attending an alumni event in 2023, Robert chose to donate his treasured jacket to SCA.

Back view of a red jacket with University of Waterloo on itFaculty of Arts undergraduate jacket, 1965

This red jacket features a gold, paisley-printed lining and snap buttons, which are unique features among the jackets found in SCA. On the back, patches spell “University of Waterloo” and on the sleeve, “Arts 65”. This jacket belonged to David Nimmo (BA ’65).

Front view of yellow Waterloo jacket with a logo patch on itFaculty of Science undergraduate jacket, 1967

Before it was blue, the Faculty of Science was yellow, represented by this quilted bomber jacket. While the University’s logo has changed over time, there are similarities between the current design and the front patch on this jacket, which includes the motto Concordia cum veritate and a shield.

Front view of a gold jacket with a logo patch on itSchool of Physical Education and Recreation blazer, 1968

This blazer belonged to Peter Dallas (BSc ’72) who recalls that when the first class graduated from the School of Physical Education and Recreation, two professors decided to commemorate the milestone by ordering gold blazers with the School’s logo on it for students. Peter wore his blazer to many annual alumni celebrations. He donated it at his graduating class's 50th anniversary in 2022.

Front view of a yellow tracksuit jacket with black stripes down the sleeves and Waterloo pressed vertically on the frontUniversity of Waterloo tracksuit, 1980s

This tracksuit is a tribute to fashion trends in the 1980s. While only the jacket is photographed, there are also pants in SCA. This yellow tracksuit jacket has sporty black stripes down the sleeves and the name “Waterloo” pressed vertically on the front. It was made locally at Darby Sportswear in Paris, Ontario, and was donated in 2020.

Side view of a black leather jacket with KIN and CO-OP patched on the sleeve and a Waterloo logo patch on the frontUniversity of Waterloo leather jacket, 1980s

Leather jackets have been iconic on campus for decades, and this is the only one housed in SCA. With the patched letters "KIN" and "CO-OP", and the number 84, it was likely worn by a Kinesiology undergraduate student who graduated in 1984. However, there’s no way to know. This jacket was donated by an alum, but not the one who wore it. It was discovered by Josh Bolender (BA ’08) at a thrift store in Kitchener and donated to SCA in 2023.

Front view of a teal crew-neck sweater with neon illustrations on the frontFaculty of Mathematics sweater, 1980s

According to the donor, this bright teal sweater was designed by a professor for the Faculty of Mathematics. A variety of neon illustrations are splashed across the front; many are believed to represent groups within the faculty. These include:

  • Pink ties, which are still used today to represent the Faculty of Mathematics
  • A penguin for the artificial intelligence group
  • A flamingo for the computer science group
  • Beavers for computer science
  • A python (suspected relation to coding)
  • A lion (unknown, but possibly a reference to Pounce de Lion, the University’s former mascot)

For alumni hoping to take a longer trip down memory lane, SCA will have a display at the Forever Black and Gold Luncheon at Reunion 2024. The Library will also be offering tours from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on June 1 as part of REdiscover UWaterloo.

Wishing you held onto your favourite UWaterloo apparel? W Store is launching a UW Retro Collection in June. Details coming soon!