Talk of the Campus Fall 2017

See more highlights from our 60th anniversary year

PM Trudeau speaks on campus at Hack the North

Prime Minister Trudeau shaking hands with Waterloo Student

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the opening ceremonies for Hack the North, Canada’s biggest hackathon, held at the University of Waterloo on September 15. Trudeau spoke about the importance of diversity in Canada and encouraged students to see themselves as leaders.

“You are in a unique position to shape the future,” Trudeau said. “You have the tools not only to seize the countless opportunities brought about by a new economy based on innovation, but to help others do the same.”

Hack the North is organized by Waterloo Engineering and the student-run, non-profit Techyon. The hackathon brings together students from across the globe to create software and hardware projects in only 36 hours.

$41-Million SLC/PAC expansion underway

SLC/PAC Expansion

Students are looking forward to the opening of the new 63,000-square-foot addition to the University’s Student Life Centre and Physical Activities Complex. The $41-million expansion, set to open in Fall 2018, will house more space for socializing, studying, recreation and dining.

The University will contribute $17 million, with students contributing the remaining capital costs through an $18 per term fee. The addition will have event space, a multi-faith room, 345 more dining seats, and a recreation studio and fitness area.

Glow centre marks firsts during Pride month

President Feridun at Pride Parade

Photo: Ramona Leitao

The Glow Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity has represented the University of Waterloo in every Pride parade since Toronto’s first one back in 1981. This year marked a special first when President Feridun Hamdullahpur joined students, alumni, staff and faculty in the parade on June 25.

The University also raised the Pride flag for the first time at South Campus Hall in remembrance of the Orlando Nightclub Pulse shooting on June 12, 2016.

Solar Eclipse Viewing Party

Children wearing eclipse glasses

The Faculty of Science and the Gustav Bakos Observatory hosted a sold-out eclipse viewing party on campus on August 21. Hundreds of people gathered on the Village 1 Green, where free eclipse-viewing glasses were provided to the first 350 registrants who wanted to watch the moon pass between the sun and Earth. Several experts attended the event while a screening of NASA’s coverage was shown to attendees. Victor Arora, the observatory co-ordinator, told the news media: “It’s something that all humans need to be in touch with, it really brings us closer to the universe in a lot of ways.”

Waterloo has most venture capital-backed entrepreneurs

The University of Waterloo has the most venture capital-backed entrepreneurs of any Canadian university and is in the Top 20 in the world, according to the most recent Pitchbook Universities Report.

Pitchbook also ranks Waterloo the top Canadian university for “unicorns,” or private companies valued at $1 billion or more. Waterloo ranked fourth in the world behind Harvard, Stanford and Cornell.

It tied the University of California, Berkeley, for fourth place. Wish, Pivotal Software, Kuadi Dache, Instacart and Storm8 are the Waterloo unicorns listed in the Pitchbook Report.

OpenText Corporation, the developer of one of the first search engines, formed as a spin-off of the project to computerize the Oxford English Dictionary in 1984.

Alumni living in residence share experience and networks

Faryal Diwan (BES ’15) and Torrie Santucci (BES ’14, MCC’ 15)

Two Waterloo alumni are living in the UW Place student residence to give upper-year students support navigating their future.

The innovative initiative is part of the new Get Ready for Life After Graduation pilot program offered to more than 180 students. Faryal Diwan (BES ’15) and Torrie Santucci (BES ’14, MCC’ 15) will mentor and support students to help them develop life skills by sharing their own experiences and networks. The program is a joint endeavour with Waterloo’s Department of Housing and Residences, the Centre for Career Action, and Alumni Relations.


Women awarded HeForShe IMPACT scholarships

Christina Sullivan, Guia Pucyutan, Jiayue Cheng, Alex Rynard, Teresa Kang, and Heather Musson.

Six female students entering their first year in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) have been awarded HeForShe IMPACT scholarships. These scholarships are part of the University of Waterloo’s commitment to the UN Women’s HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative. Waterloo is committed to achieving a number of gender equality goals by 2020.

This year’s recipients (from left) are Christina Sullivan, Guia Pucyutan, Jiayue Cheng, Alex Rynard, Teresa Kang, and Heather Musson.

Awards and Honours

Recent recognition for University of Waterloo researchers and graduate students includes:

  • Steven Bednarski (Arts) — 2017 D2L Innovation Award in Teaching, Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
  • Derek Besner (Arts) — Arts Award for Excellence in Research, Faculty of Arts
  • David Blowes (Science) — Fellow, Royal Society of Canada
  • Sarah Burch (Environment) — Member, Royal Society of Canada (RSC) College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists
  • Zhongwei Chen (Engineering) — Rutherford Memorial Medal in Chemistry, Royal Society of Canada
  • Marianna Foldvari (Science) — Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada (AFPC) Pfizer Research Career Award
  • Geoffrey Fong (Arts and Faculty of Applied Health Sciences) — Fellow, Royal Society of Canada; Trailblazer Award, CIHR Institute of Population and Public Health
  • Frank Gu (Engineering) — Member, Royal Society of Canada (RSC) College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists
  • Peter Hall (Applied Health Sciences) — Fellow, Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research
  • Eric Helleiner (Arts) — Killam Research Fellowship, Canada Council for the Arts
  • Keith Hipel (Engineering) — Miroslaw Romanowski Medal, Royal Society of Canada
  • Susan Horton (Applied Health Sciences) — Fellow, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences
  • Suzanne Kearns (Environment) — WINGS and Helicopters Magazine’s Top 20 Under 40
  • Ken Klassen (Arts) — 2017 L.S. Rosen Outstanding Educator Award, Canadian Academic Accounting Association (CAAA)
  • Alice Kuzniar (Arts) — Arts Award for Excellence in Research, Faculty of Arts
  • Raymond Laflamme (Science) — 2017 CAP-CRM Prize in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics, Canadian Association of Physicists; Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis John von Neumann Chair in Quantum Information
  • Colin MacLeod (Arts) — 2017 Richard C. Tees Distinguished Leadership, Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science
  • Janusz Pawlizsyn (Science) — 2017 EAS Award for Outstanding Achievements in the field of analytical chemistry, Eastern Analytical Symposium and Exhibition
  • James Walker (Arts) — Named a Member of the Order of Canada
  • Linda Warley (Arts) — 2016 Gabrielle Roy Prize, The Association of Canadian and Québec Literatures
  • Weihua Zhuang (Engineering) — Fellow, Royal Society of Canada