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Education History

Leadership and Purpose

A History of Wilfrid Laurier University

by (author) Andrew Thomson

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing (CPAM), Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2011
History, Post-Confederation (1867-), Higher
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2011
    List Price

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Leadership and Purpose: A History of Wilfrid Laurier University tells the story of the creation and growth of one of Canada’s leading universities.

On October 30, 1911, a jubilant crowd of nearly 1,500 people gathered in their Sunday finest on the lawn of a large home on the rural outskirts of Waterloo, Ontario. They were there to mark the opening of the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary of Canada. With just four students and one full-time professor, the seminary was modest in size but it had the enthusiastic support of an entire community. Even the most optimistic supporter, however, could not have foreseen how this small religious school would evolve over the next 100 years into a thriving public university with 17,000 students and a national reputation for teaching and research excellence. In Leadership and Purpose: A History of Wilfrid Laurier University, historian Andrew Thomson tells the remarkable story of an academic community whose vision, determination, and perseverance are a testament to the transformative power of education.

About the author

Andrew Thomson arrived at Wilfrid Laurier University in the fall of 1976 as an impressionable young high school graduate and left four years later as a Bachelor of the Arts. In the following years he added an M.A. from Laurier and earned a Ph.D. at the University of Waterloo. After teaching his first course in Canadian History at Laurier in 1989, he has been employed there regularly as a contract academic. Thomson is an enthusiastic and popular instructor with the Laurier Association for Lifelong Learning. In 2011 he was nominated for a Teaching Excellence Award at the Schulich School of Business at York University.

Andrew Thomson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

For one hundred years, Wilfrid Laurier University has been a major player in Canada's academic scene. Leadership and Purpose: A History of Wilfrid Laurier University details the history of the institution which started as the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary of Canada with a mere four students and single professor. From its religious roots, it has grown into something beyond what people ever expected, with thousands of students passing through annually. Leadership and Purpose is a fine addition to any history collections with a focus on the rise of academia and universities.''

World History Shelf, Midwest Book Review, January 2012

Other titles by Andrew Thomson