Paul Spafford is an investment banker who has spent his career advising some of Canada's largest companies on mergers and acquisitions. As vice-chair of CIBC World Markets Inc., he counts a degree from University of Waterloo among his best investments.
These days, Spafford (BASc '71) is investing in young people who want to study the emerging field of nanotechnology within the Faculty of Engineering. He helped fund an entrance scholarship for nanotechnology students, just prior to the first class in the fall of 2005.
Spafford was awarded the Faculty of Engineering Alumni Achievement Award in 1997 for his professional accomplishments and contributions to the University of Waterloo. He has served as a member of the University of Waterloo Board of Governors and the National Alumni Council. He also holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.
While an electrical engineering student, he was president of the Engineering Society B and probably spent too much time not going to class. He recalls long nights during his undergraduate days - many were spent preparing labs for submission in the morning. Other long nights were spent at local country pubs, eating pigtails and drinking beer. "I remember . . . learning computing (sort of) on the old IBM 1620," he says, "and being stumped for hours by a missing comma!"
Spafford says: "Most of all I remember the people, including professors and administration who always had a "can do" attitude and who were (and still are) among the most dedicated, intelligent and thoughtful people I have ever met."