WATERLOO, Ont. (Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011) - Prem Watsa, one of Canada's top business leaders, has been re-elected by the university senate as chancellor of the University of Waterloo.

Watsa, chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., will serve a second three-year term, beginning May 1, 2012. His current three-year term of office ends April 30, 2012. As Waterloo's ninth chancellor, Watsa presides over convocation ceremonies, conferring degrees, diplomas and certificates on graduating students. He also serves as a leading ambassador for the university.

"Prem Watsa has shown a passionate interest in the future plans and aspirations of our students, which is best seen by his enthusiastic and energetic participation at convocation ceremonies," said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president of the University of Waterloo. "He is an inspiration and role model to many of us at the university, but, most importantly, to our students.”

As well, Watsa has shared his considerable international experience with the university community. The university's sixth decade plan calls for a focus on the undergraduate student experience, a growing of grad studies and an expansion of Waterloo's international reach, which includes campuses in Rome, Dubai and Nanjing.

"I've enjoyed my time as chancellor of the University of Waterloo for a number of reasons, particularly because of the opportunity it has provided to interact with so many bright, innovative young minds," Watsa said. "Waterloo represents excellence at many levels and I look forward to continuing to serve as a part of this unconventional organization."

Watsa was born in Hyderabad, India in 1950. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1971. He moved to Ontario the following year and later earned an MBA from the University of Western Ontario.

His professional career began at Confederation Life Insurance Co. in Toronto and he served as vice-president of Confederation Life Investment Counsel from 1974 to 1983.

He then served a year as vice-president of start-up firm GW Asset Management. Watsa co-founded Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel Ltd. (now fully owned by Fairfax) in 1984. The next year he took control of Markel Financial Holdings Ltd.

In 1987, he re-organized Markel and renamed it Fairfax, which is short for fair and friendly acquisitions. The name reflects the company's guiding principles, which advocate that honesty and integrity are essential in all relationships and will never be compromised.

About Waterloo

The University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, is one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities. Waterloo is home to 30,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students who are dedicated to making the future better and brighter. Waterloo, known for the largest post- secondary co-operative education program in the world, supports enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. For more information about Waterloo, visit www.uwaterloo.ca.


John Morris, Waterloo media relations, 519-888-4435 or john.morris@uwaterloo.ca

Waterloo news release no. 48

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