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University of Waterloo appoints two new senior administrators

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The University of Waterloo today named Sandra G. Banks, CEO of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, as vice-president, university relations and Stephen Watt, professor of computer science at Western University, as dean of the Faculty of Mathematics.

"Sandra Banks is a dynamic and energetic leader who brings a great depth of experience from the public and private sectors to the University of Waterloo," said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of Waterloo. "I am delighted to welcome Sandra to the University’s leadership team. I’m confident that she will help our collective efforts to find new ways of achieving our goal to be recognized as one of the world’s top innovation universities."

Sandra G. BanksBanks spent 15 years at Coca-Cola Canada as Vice-President, Public Affairs and Communications and was responsible for the company’s brand communications, stakeholder, media and government relations activity, corporate social responsibility and internal communications.

Banks also has public sector experience, working as the assistant deputy minister in the food industry division at Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in 1996 and 1997, and as press secretary in the Office of the Minister of State for the Canadian Wheat Board from 1984 to 1987.   She also served as senior vice president, government affairs with Food and Consumer Product Manufacturers of Canada.

 “I am honoured to join the University of Waterloo, which thoroughly deserves its reputation as Canada’s most innovative university,” said Banks. “I admire the ambition and vision that reside within Waterloo and I look forward to contributing to the achievement of the University’s strategic priorities..”

A graduate of Ottawa’s Carleton University, Banks will lead the University’s integrated government relations, community relations, marketing and strategic communications teams. Her term starts on April 6, 2015.

Stephen Watt is appointed dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and professor in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science.

“Stephen Watt’s experience as an administrator is combined with a track record of distinguished scholarship and strong experience in private sector leadership,” said Ian Orchard, vice-president, academic and provost. “Stephen’s experience mirrors the multifaceted profile of members of the Faculty of Mathematics at Waterloo and I am delighted to welcome him to our team.”

Stephen WattProfessor Watt attained his PhD in computer science at University of Waterloo in 1986. He was named distinguished university professor at Western in 2011 He began his career in 1984 as a research staff member at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. As a researcher, he has sought to identify and solve the main questions to make symbolic mathematical computation more effective, and his contributions span a variety of fields including computer algebra systems, programming languages and compilers, pen-based mathematical computing, mathematical algorithms, and mathematical data communications and knowledge management.

He has served as a board member for Descartes Systems Group Inc. since 2001, including as board chair and lead director. He was also founding director of the Ontario Research Centre for Computer Algebra, and he sits on the board of directors of Waste Diversion Ontario.

Professor Watt’s five-year term as dean commences on July 1, 2015.

About the University of Waterloo

In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's technology hub, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with 35,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. A globally focused institution, celebrated as Canada’s most innovative university for 23 consecutive years, Waterloo is home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program 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 more information about Waterloo, please visit uwaterloo.ca.

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