The Faculty of Environment said farewell to Jean Andrey

The Faculty of Environment said farewell to Jean Andrey (PhD ’89), who retired this year after serving as dean for eight years. Fondly called Dean Jean, Andrey began contributing to the Faculty of Environment in 1983 while pursuing a PhD in geography and was hired as an assistant professor in geography in 1989. The following is an excerpt from her speech at her retirement party. 


Black and white photo of Jean Andrea in her teaching daysThis is the last time I will publicly get to tell you what a thrill and an honour it has been to be a Waterloo professor for 33 years and to be the dean for eight. And of course, it’s not just any dean. I got to be the dean of the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo.  

I have been engaged with my head and with my heart and I'm so proud of the Faculty. I'm proud of the leadership roles that our students, staff, faculty and alumni play in sustainability and climate change. I'm proud of the courage that the Faculty had to embrace an inter and transdisciplinary way before it was cool. I’m proud of our long-standing tradition of knowledge translation and mobilization and our readiness, not just willingness, to partner with others, sometimes selflessly, to do good work.  

I think the Faculty is amazing.   

And I felt so supported by everyone: the Faculty's leadership team, including the student leaders, the deans and presidents past who were my friends and confidants, my bosses and provosts and all the senior leadership at the University. I must say that when I've been impatient and perhaps too direct, I have found the community forgiving. Thank you.  

The world needs more forgiveness.  

Now, some of you know, I was recently on a holiday on a St. Lawrence River cruise. One of the staff … who was with us, would share reflections, usually in the evening and in the morning. One of the things she shared, that she learned from an elder, was this: She said, ‘The sign of a leader is that people feel more hopeful after working with the individual than they did before.

So, I hope that I left you with a sense of hope. Thank you so much for being here.

Jean Andrey smiling next to cross-sections of tree trunks