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Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis pledge $21 million to science and mathematics faculties at the University of Waterloo

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WATERLOO, Ont. (Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012) - Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis continue to show their generous support of post-secondary education and world-class research with a gift of $21 million to the University of Waterloo’s faculties of science and mathematics.

“With their unparalleled generosity, the Lazaridis family enriches our capacity to attract exceptional individuals to join Waterloo as researchers and students,” said University of Waterloo president Feridun Hamdullahpur. “The problems of the world will keep getting more complex and interconnected, and we want to be the first port of call for people looking to solve intractable problems.”

“History has shown us that a relatively small investment in fundamental research in physics and in science today can lead to huge innovation tomorrow. Given the current challenges in the world, the need for such innovation is greater now than ever,” said Mike Lazaridis, founder and vice chair of the board of Research in Motion. “I believe that the University of Waterloo, this province and this country can play a leadership role in this regard, and we are pleased to support it.”

Half of the $20-million pledge to the Faculty of Science will contribute to funding two senior research chairs in science in the areas of condensed matter and astrophysics. Waterloo will conduct a global search for internationally recognized researchers in these areas. The remaining $10 million allocated to the faculty will help fund the construction of an expansion of the new science building, which will house teaching facilities including undergraduate laboratories, classrooms and student support areas.

“This marvelous donation meshes perfectly with the Faculty of Science’s vision of becoming an international magnet for talent. The infusion of $10 million for the construction of our new Science Learning Centre will allow us to create a facility that will aid in attracting the best and brightest students to the faculty,” said professor Terrance McMahon, dean of science. “In addition, the funds toward the new research chairs will permit us to bring international superstars to the faculty, enhancing our already considerable research reputation.”

The Faculty of Mathematics will receive $1 million toward scholarships covering full university expenses for four years of study. To qualify, students must be medallists in either the International Olympiad in Informatics(IOI) or the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) before their final year of high school.

"Medallists in the IOI and IMO are among the best and brightest students, and are highly sought after by top universities all over the world. Scholarships covering full expenses will be vitally important to drawing IOI and IMO stars to the Faculty of Mathematics," said professor Ian Goulden, dean of mathematics.

With this gift, donations to the University of Waterloo from philanthropists Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis exceed $123 million, including $102.5 million to establish the Institute for Quantum Computing in the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum Nano Centre, scheduled to open in the fall of 2012.



Mike Lazaridis, founder and vice chair of the board of Research in Motion.

About the University of Waterloo

In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with 34,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For further details, visit



Pamela Smyth
Media Relations Officer
University of Waterloo

Waterloo news release no. 12


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