It was a big week for me last week, with annual events including St. Patrick’s Day and my birthday being topped up with my first ever UW Pi Day experience, and my last two events as keynote speaker in the UW GOLD on the Go series. My connection with UW has never been stronger, I couldn’t be more proud to be part of such a prestigious group of alumni.
While I was a part of the Student Alumni Association while on campus in the late 1980’s, since moving to Alberta in 1991 my connections with the university have been somewhat limited by distance. I’ve attended a few local Calgary events, was very excited to start a UW co-op program at SMART Technologies, and I have built some strong relationships with Alumni Relations. When I was asked to be the keynote speaker for the Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) series of events this year I was both humbled and flattered; happy to share my experiences with younger alumni in Calgary, Waterloo and Toronto; and excited to get back and see the university again.
So Pi Day. Unbelievable. Didn’t exist when I was a student. The original MC (Math) building hasn’t changed a bit, but Pi Day is a real thing. We cut a seemingly endless supply of pie for a seemingly endless line of students who waited hours to get a free piece of pie. (Looking back, I would have done the same at that point in my life!) I saw the Pi Recitation contest – where students see who can recite the most digits of Pi from memory, in an effort to win $314 (and more importantly, bragging rights). I was blown away at how far they could go – hundreds of digits. I’m not sure if investing time in that is better or worse than the time I invested at the Bombshelter and Fed Hall!
But the real highlight of the week was speaking to the Grads of the Last Decade in Waterloo and Toronto. What an amazing group of individuals, who were so appreciative to hear about my unusual career path (Four industries, every corporate function except Legal & HR). They are eager, bright and talented, and have great futures ahead of them. Investing in their careers, their networks and themselves. My messages of continual learning, being passionate about your work, and most importantly the value of planning your personal and career priorities were well received. I met many new people who I know I will stay connected with, and some friends of friends who I reconnected with. The UW Alumni Team were incredibly organized and ensured I was well supported.
This year the University is celebrating 60 years, and the Math faculty is celebrating 50 years. I encourage everyone to get involved in events that will be taking place across campus, and to join the conversation using #UWaterloo60. Our UW bond is something to support, benefit from, and be very proud of.