The University of Waterloo has appointed Tom Jenkins, chair of OpenText Corporation and a noted Canadian technology leader, as the institution’s 10th chancellor.

Tom JenkinsJenkins, 54, who served as president and chief executive Officer of OpenText from 1994 to 2005, succeeds Prem Watsa, chair of Fairfax Holdings.

As CEO of OpenText, Jenkins took the company from a University of Waterloo startup company to the first Internet IPO in Canada, and only the third Internet IPO on the NASDAQ in the United States.

“Tom Jenkins has enjoyed an enviable career as a leading innovator and business leader that many students here at Waterloo can aspire to and can learn from,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo. “I can think of few people who embody the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of this university to the extent that Tom does. Tom has taken a keen interest in the future of Canada through our students and I am delighted to welcome him as chancellor.”

Prem Watsa will step down from the role of chancellor after six years in the position. Jenkins’ term as chancellor begins May 1, 2015.

“As chancellor, Prem Watsa has seen this university advance through an exciting period of growth and change,” said Hamdullahpur. “Prem is a business leader, a community builder and a strong supporter of Waterloo. I thank him for the advice, support and guidance he has provided to me and for his deep care for the students at Waterloo over the last six years.”

Elected by the University’s Senate to a three-year term, the chancellor presides over convocation ceremonies, conferring degrees, diplomas and certificates on graduating students. He also serves as a leading ambassador for the University.

Jenkins has been active for more than 30 years in innovation and economic development in both the private and public sectors in Canada.  He is also a member of the board of Thomson Reuters Inc. and of TransAlta Corporation, a director of the C.D. Howe Institute, appointed member of the National Research Council of Canada and director of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

Prior to his work in the private sector, Mr. Jenkins served as a commissioned officer in the Canadian Forces Reserve and currently serves as honorary colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada (RHFC), a reserve infantry regiment in the Waterloo Region. Mr. Jenkins is a member of the board of the Canadian Forces Staff College Trust in Toronto.

Mr. Jenkins holds an Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Schulich School of Business at York University, an Master of Applied Science (MASc) in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Engineering and Management (BEng. & Mgt) in engineering physics and commerce from McMaster University. Mr. Jenkins also received an honorary doctorate of laws (LLD) from the University of Waterloo and an honorary doctorate of philosophy (PhD) in military science from the Canadian Forces College (Royal Military College).

Mr. Jenkins was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada (OC) in 2011 for his contributions to education and innovation in Canada and the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD) in 2013.

Past chancellors of the University of Waterloo include Mike Lazaridis, co-founder of Research In Motion (now BlackBerry) and Valentine O’Donovan, founder of COM DEV Intl.

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