WLU and Ontario Heritage Trust unveil plaque

In light of the centennial celebrations that have been occurring around Wilfrid Laurier University this past year, the Ontario Heritage Trust unveiled a plaque last Friday at the Paul Martin Centre to commemorate the century-long history of the institution. Present at the ceremony, along with students and faculty members, were Max Blouw, president and vice-chancellor of WLU, Ken Seiling, regional chair from the region of Waterloo and Thomas H.N. Symons, chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust.

“We’re so happy, Max, to be sharing this centenary with you,” said Reverend Michael Pryse, Bishop of the eastern synod of the Evangelical Lutheran church of Canada. “I really believe that the rest of our history is yet before us, truly, so let’s get at it.”

In 1911, the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary of Canada was established and had laid the foundation for what WLU is today. Originally meant to train pastors, the seminary quickly became the Waterloo College School in 1914, and had its first every liberal arts programs — as part of an affiliation of the University of Western Ontario — in 1924.

The plaque reiterates this history to the public and will, to many of those who spoke at the ceremony, preserve the history of the institution and the long relationship it’s had with the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.

“I believe we’re very,very well positioned to go forward … to a new future,” said Blouw during his speech at the ceremony. “You’ll look back at it in time, and say, ‘It was as much a springboard as it was a recognition of a century well done.’”

David Pfrimmer, principal-dean at the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, told The Cord that the plaque is significant because it represents both the rich histories of WLU and the seminary.

“I think it’s a recognition of a shared history with Laurier,” explained Pfrimmer. “There’s a certain amount of pride with us because we were one of the precursor institutions that gave birth to Laurier and to see what’s it become and to mark that moment in a significant way.”

While the plaque revisits the history, Pfrimmer, similarly to many of those who spoke on Friday, views this plaque as WLU’s next step towards the future.

“So you have the history and the future coming together in this momentous centennial moment. I think that’s significant, not only for the university and the seminary but also the wider community,” he said.

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