Building on our unconventional foundation

We need to bet on our strengths to achieve something great in the future.

To position ourselves for success in the future, we can draw lessons from our past. Our formative years were marked by bold approaches to education that challenged conventions in university education. 

Our founders sought to build an institution that would serve the needs of the community and power the local and broader economy. They built a strong bond between academia, government and business that continues today.

When we deploy our differentiating strengths together, drawing on our unconventional spirit, we achieve what no other university can.

Co-op and work-integrated learning

Co-operative education was a new concept and guiding value in the founding of the University. Waterloo today stands as a global leader in co-operative education and work-integrated learning. No other research university in the world does co-op at the same scale and impact as Waterloo 

Fundamental and applied research that's connected

Fundamental research excellence infused with creative problem solving has distinguished Waterloo scholarship. Our research is uniquely energized by co-op and entrepreneurship and is connected to both immediate challenges and long-term possibilities for the good of our communities and the world. 

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Ideas thrive at Waterloo. Innovation and entrepreneurship have been part of Waterloo’s story since our inception. Collaborating with our community, we have helped build an entrepreneurial ecosystem that has achieved global recognition. Today, we lead in providing our students and researchers access to the technologies, tools, supports and connections they need to develop and grow their ideas.

Connected to a thriving region

Our deep connection and commitment to our local region and community traces back to our founding and enriches each of our other differentiators. Local connections initially powered Waterloo’s co-operative education program and today continue to employ thousands of students at any given time. Our region has grown alongside our institution and now includes many globally recognized institutions, organizations and businesses. Connections to our surroundings help shape and sustain our entrepreneurial drive. We need to constantly connect with our community and discover how we can all move forward together.

Researcher with a model of a human body