Waterloo alumni come together

Waterloo supports COVID-19 front line

From COVID-19 research to 3D-printed masks and equipment donations, the University of Waterloo community is mobilizing to combat the coronavirus here at home and globally.

“I want to acknowledge and thank our researchers, students, staff and alumni who are stepping in to respond to the urgent needs facing the Waterloo region,” says Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo. “This is a time we can all work together with health-care practitioners, governments, public health officials and industry to slow the spread of coronavirus and support front-line health-care workers.”

The University’s Central Stores delivered two van loads of personal protective equipment (PPE) to a regional distribution hub which had been filled by researchers from faculties and institutes dropping off gloves, face masks, lab coats and cartridges for respirators and sanitizers from their labs.

Researchers, alumni, staff and students across the University community developed everything from mathematical models to support policymakers making decisions about COVID-19, to low-cost ventilators and musical performances for hope. 3D printing labs across campus produced medical equipment like face shield parts for front-line workers while researchers worked on better ways to improve COVID-19 screening.

Waterloo mourns plane crash victims

students mourning

Mourners embrace at a campus memorial for victims of January plane crash

More than 600 members of the University of Waterloo community gathered at a campus memorial to honour the victims of the Ukrainian passenger plane that was downed in Iran in January.

Among the victims were Marzieh (Mari) Foroutan, who was completing a PhD in geography, and Mansour Esnaashary Esfahani, a PhD student in engineering, and former student Dr. Neda Sadighi from the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences. Mojgan Daneshmand (PhD ’06), her husband Pedram Mousavi, a former post-doctoral fellow, and their two children also died in the crash.

Our world was brighter with each of them, and we will miss all that they brought to our institutions and disciplines. They simply made us better. Their personalities, friendship, sense of humour and so much more are deeply and dearly missed,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, at the memorial held on January 15 at Federation Hall.

All 176 passengers and crew were killed after the plane was shot down by a missile shortly after takeoff in Tehran. “To the families, know that the entire campus community has felt their loss in the days since they left us,” said Sandra Banks, vice-president of University Relations.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

women's day dinner

More than 300 members of the University community gathered on campus in March to celebrate International Women’s Day and support the advancement of gender parity and inclusivity for all.

After the dinner, University of Waterloo math student Anna Wang read a poem she composed that won a HeForShe Writing Contest poetry award. A Waterloo alumnus, Sarasvathi Kannan (BA ’16) won a fiction and poetry award. The contest is part of the University’s commitment to the UN Women’s HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative, which celebrates gender equality and the empowerment of women. In this final year of the contest, writers were asked to reflect on the theme of Legacy and how words and other creative expressions relate to intersectional gender equity.Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, welcomed Lili Liu, dean of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, as the event’s distinguished speaker. Jean Becker, the University’s new senior director, Indigenous initiatives, was introduced to the guests and provided opening remarks at the dinner held at Federation Hall.

Documentary captures Waterloo history 

Take a walk through time with Kenneth McLaughlin (BA ’65), a distinguished professor emeritus and alumnus, in a new documentary that showcases the University of Waterloo’s unique history.

In Beyond Tradition, McLaughlin highlights the University’s progressive beginnings. The film serves as a reminder of some of Waterloo's most important milestones, including the introduction of co-operative education, early entrepreneurial ventures that led to revolutionary spinoff companies and the integration of computer technology in the post-secondary world. 

Among his many achievements, McLaughlin has written books and scholarly articles, and has been awarded the Canadian Historical Association’s Certificate of Merit; the Certificate of Commendation from the American Association for State and Local History; and the 1998 Special Recognition Award from the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation. Innovation and Entrepreneurship are in the Waterloo Genome (2015) is among McLaughlin’s published works.