A community of builders

Waterloo is building a transformational path to its 100th anniversary

President Vivek Goel smiling at the camera, standing in a hallway

In 1957, a group of local community leaders imagined a new university built to tackle the pressing challenges of our community and country in a period of intense global change. Integrating academic excellence with work-integrated learning, our institution’s founders laid the foundation for an unconventional university that continued to evolve into the research-intensive and world-class university we are today.     

The theme of this issue of the Waterloo Magazine — The Builders — is especially inspiring at a time when our institution is embarking on a visioning exercise to steer our evolution. Waterloo at 100 is an exercise to move us beyond five-year planning cycles toward a longer-term vision that will answer: What do we as an institution aspire to become by our 100th anniversary in 2057?  

Much like the original builders of the University of Waterloo, we face a rapidly changing world marked by complex global challenges, including exponential technological change, a global pandemic, the climate crisis, changing geopolitical dynamics and other global forces. We can honour the legacy of the generations before us by being unconventional again through imagining a bold future that addresses humanity’s most pressing challenges.   

Our people are the designers, connectors and builders of our future. Every day across our campuses, I see individuals and teams taking on challenges with enthusiasm and focus that inspires others along the way. Within the pages of this magazine, you’ll discover how Waterloo faculty, researchers, students, staff and alumni are changing lives and communities through creativity, unconventional thinking and collaboration. From saving lives through mathematical models to championing equity to help build a more just society, innovators within our University of Waterloo community exemplify the spirit and values needed to define the future we wish for humanity and help to propel us there.

Drawing on the unconventional spirit that has been at our core since the University of Waterloo’s founding, I invite you to contribute your bold ideas to help evolve our institution as we build a better future. 

Dr. Vivek Goel, CM
President and Vice-Chancellor

Learn more about Waterloo at 100.


This issue is illustrated by Kathleen Fu (BAS ’17, MARCH ’20). Kathleen is a graduate of the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, and her current work is heavily inspired by her time studying architecture, city life and storytelling.