MSE Alum named Chancellor of University of Waterloo

Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Originally posted in the Daily Bulletin on October 24, 2023.

The University of Waterloo has named Jagdeep Singh Bachher as its 12th chancellor.

Dr. Bachher is chief investment officer and vice president of investments at the 10-campus University of California, where he oversees an investment portfolio of $164 billion. He is a triple alumnus of Waterloo, having earned a Bachelor of Applied Science, Mechanical Engineering in 1993, a Master of Applied Science, Management Sciences in 1994, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Management Sciences in 2000.

“Jagdeep exemplifies the type of dynamic leader that the University of Waterloo develops: a champion of curiosity, exploration, risk-taking, entrepreneurship, global stewardship, and leadership,” said Vivek Goel, president and vice chancellor in an email circulated to employees this morning. “At the University of California, he fosters the same values that Waterloo extolls, including a commitment to sustainable investing and a dedication to equity, diversity and inclusion.” 

Bachher often acclaims Waterloo’s pioneering co-op program for having changed his life. “My passion for education and its power to transform lives comes directly from my parents, both of whom have been teachers, in India, Africa, and in Waterloo, for more than 60 years,” he said. “It’s because of them that I enrolled at Waterloo when I was 15, having just arrived with my family from Nigeria, where I was born. I’m humbled by this great honor and privilege of becoming chancellor at Waterloo, which has given me so much.”

The outlines of Bachher’s story are familiar to many of Waterloo’s diverse student body. He is proud of his Sikh culture and immigrant journey, a committed “Waterloo Warrior” who has been a steadfast supporter of the University and its mission for more than three decades. He has served on Waterloo’s Board of Governors since 2018, including as its vice chair since 2020. In his new role as chancellor, which is ceremonial, he will preside over convocation ceremonies, conferring degrees, diplomas, and certificates on graduating students. Waterloo’s chancellor also serves as a leading ambassador for the University.

The University’s Senate elected Bachher to a three-year term that begins on July 1, 2024. He will succeed Dominic Barton, chair of Rio Tinto and chair of LeapFrog Investments.