Students put the finishing touches on SYDES, one of the University of Waterloo's first robots.

Students put the finishing touches on "Sydes," an early University of Waterloo robot, assembled under the supervision of Professors Ed Jernigan and Kish Hahn in 1978. Sydes (named for Systems Design Engineering) was built by second-year Engineering students and made the rounds at trade shows, wheeling about and engaging passersby in conversation via a two-way radio speech synthesizer. Could Sydes have inspired the design of rampaging killbot Maximilian from Disney's The Black Hole? The resemblance is uncanny!

There were many opportunities to get involved as the University celebrated sixty years of innovation in 2017, but as fall turned to winter, the celebrations kicked into high gear as Waterloo finished its anniversary year on a high note.

The Beyond 60 Community Lecture Series drew to a close after subjects as diverse as fake news, autonomous vehicles, the promises and realities of Artificial Intelligence, health, aging and well-being were discussed at a number of events throughout the year.

The Canada 150 Lecture Series launched in October as the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University hosted a three-part series in partnership with the Waterloo Public Library and The City of Waterloo in recognition of the 150th anniversary of Confederation. The three lectures (the last of which was held just yesterday) dealt with topics including the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Truth and Reconciliation, and Canada's "hidden histories."

The President's Town Hall Meeting on November 14 gave President Hamdullahpur an opportunity to cover the highlights of Waterloo's 60th anniversary year as well as the University's successes throughout the last twelve months. The event also provided a platform for the announcement of the winning design in the Celebration 2017 Legacy Project.

Waterloo students walk in the Santa Claus parade.On Saturday, November 18, University of Waterloo volunteers walked in regional Santa Claus Parades held in Kitchener and Cambridge. Members of the Waterloo Warriors, Waterloo Band and Engineering Society gave out 5,000 60th anniversary candy canes along the two parade routes. 

On Saturday, December 2, President Feridun Hamdullahpur celebrated the outstanding alumni, partners, students, faculty and staff who have invested in the University of Waterloo's past, present and future at the President's 60th Anniversary Gala held in the Physical Activities Complex.

Feridun Hamdullahpur speaks at the 60th Anniversary Gala.The gala contained a pair of very special announcements - the recipients of the inaugural 60th Anniversary Alumni Awards were named and honoured. The awards recognized 10 outstanding alumni for their personal commitment and citizenship to Waterloo, building on the legacy of the 50th Anniversary Alumni Award established in 2007.

In addition, the winners of the inaugural President's Community Impact Awards were also revealed and celebrated. These awards were established to recognize those who embody the University’s spirit of innovation and contribute to making Waterloo Region strong and prosperous. There were two awards honouring community leaders, who are current University of Waterloo students, faculty or staff making a difference, and two awards for university champions, local residents or organizations championing the impact of the university in our community:

Finally, the President's Holiday Luncheon on Friday, December 8 acted as a bookend for the year-long celebration, as more than 600 attendees packed Federation Hall to welcome the wintry season and view a historical slideshow.