Danny Ying (BMath ’80)

60th Anniversary Alumni Award Recipient

Danny Ying (BMath ’80) admits that as a young university student, he wasn’t too keen on studying — and that his fondness for fun sometimes got the better of him. 

“I played snooker for 24 hours straight, I played soccer, I played basketball, I was in the first Chinese rock band at Waterloo … I miss those days!” he says, adding that he was eventually able to find a balance and put in the long, hard hours he needed to graduate with an honour’s degree. 

“Waterloo is the best investment my father and I made,” says Ying, business development director, Rockwell Collins. “I was able to get a decent job as a programmer and it gave me confidence. It changed me.” 

It’s also why Ying is so keen to give back. Today, he is a global champion for the University of Waterloo who spends a great deal of time recruiting and mentoring students from his base in Hong Kong.

Ying is the most active volunteer not only in Hong Kong but the entire Asia region. He has been president of the University of Waterloo Alumni Association (Hong Kong) for more than eight years, and regularly devotes his time to representing the University at fairs and alumni events and to mentoring young alumni and current students. Ying seeks to connect with and engage hundreds of students and alumni each year, and does so with a personal touch.

“I think it’s important that students make an informed choice — and I want to make sure they can make that informed choice,” Ying says. 

“The university experience is where you spend your defining years, transitioning from a teenager to a young adult. Especially someone from a foreign country, with the cultural differences and a completely newfound freedom and choices — on the airplane you cry like a baby. That first month alone in your room, you cry. You just miss home. After that you get used to it. I made many friends and I think Waterloo has been the best experience of my life aside from my family. Waterloo is unique and I want to make sure everybody knows about it.”