How Mike Lazaridis helped put Waterloo on the global stage

Vision and leadership extends beyond Waterloo

Few people have had a greater impact on the University of Waterloo than Mike Lazaridis (DEng ’00). For more than 30 years, the global business leader has brought his vision and resources to the University, transforming both it and the region.

Mike’s vision and personal leadership helped lead to the establishment of the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo as the experimental complement to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, which he also founded. IQC’s world-class faculty and extraordinary research have elevated the University’s global reputation, establishing Waterloo as a leader in the field of quantum science.

To date, Mike and his wife, Ophelia (BMath ’85), have committed more than $122 million to numerous initiatives in support of IQC and the University of Waterloo more generally. Of particular note is the state-of-the-art Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre in the centre of Waterloo campus. Home to IQC, the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, and an undergraduate program in Nanotechnology Engineering, it is an interdisciplinary hub of scientific exploration that is unlike any other in the world.

The Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre

The Mike & Ophelia Quantum-Nano Centre, home to the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology

Mike and Ophelia both have strengthened the University by contributing their passion, experience, and insight. The two of them have volunteered extensively, with Mike sitting on numerous committees, serving as a member of the Board of Governors, and chairing the Board of the Institute for Quantum Computing before becoming the University’s 8th Chancellor from 2003 to 2009, and then Chancellor Emeritus. Ophelia also served for two terms (6 years) as a member of the Board of Governors, performing critical work on the Building & Property and Governance Committees and the David Johnston International Experience Awards Committee. Combined, these efforts span more than 15 years.

Both in his role as founder and Co-Chair of BlackBerry and more recently as a founding partner of Quantum Valley Investments, Mike has championed the University as a wellspring of skilled mathematicians, engineers, and computer scientists. Over the years, he has helped IQC and Waterloo extensively in a broad range of areas including government fundraising, researcher recruitment, and international brand. 

Archival photo of Mike Lazaridis

Mike Lazaridis, circa 1985.

Attendees at the Waterloo 60th Anniversary celebration in Hong Kong

Ophelia and Mike Lazaridis, pictured to the right of Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam (centre) and Waterloo President and Vice-Chancellor Feridun Hamdullaphur at Waterloo’s 60th Anniversary Gala held in Hong Kong, November 2017.