This past year brought new challenges but also new opportunities to celebrate. As we close out 2022, we can look back and feel proud of the contributions of our Waterloo community, from on-campus initiatives and events to world-leading education and research.

This list of trending stories is just a small sample of the real-world impact our students, alums, researchers and staff are making on our future.

Winter term

How science improved the health of millions worldwide


Professor Geoffrey Fong was awarded the Order of Canada for his role as chief principal investigator of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project. He leads a team of more than 150 researchers across 31 countries to fight the number one preventable cause of death.

Geoffrey Fong


Madeline Schizas

Madeline Schizas, a student in the Faculty of Environment, competed at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. In her first Olympic appearance, she lifted Canada to fourth from sixth and recorded a personal best of 69.60 points in the women’s short program portion. 


skiiers on top of a snowy hill

While we celebrated our athletes, a new study from Professor Daniel Scott found some alarming news about the future of the games. Research showed that failure to dramatically reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases might limit where the Olympics can be held as winter changes across the Northern Hemisphere.


In April, the 2022 QS World University Rankings by Subject were released, and Waterloo ranked in 29 of 51 featured subject areas, including five subjects in the top 50 and 12 subjects in the top 100.

outside of Dana Porter Library


Spring term

Disrupted by war

This spring, Waterloo began to welcome Ukrainian students to continue their studies through the Ukrainian Academic Internship program. The internship was provided at no cost to the students and funded by numerous on-campus sponsors and external corporate supporters.

8 students standing in a row


golden ring

Three years ago, history was made when the first image of a black hole inspired wonder and awe around the world. This spring, a second image from Professor Avery Broderick and the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration was released that shows the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.


students sitting in the audience wearing convication gowns

June marked the return to in-person convocation ceremonies after a two-and-a-half-year disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our community came together to celebrate this significant milestone in the lives of our graduating students and welcome back more than 3,500 alumni from the classes of 2020 and 2021.


Device developed by Waterloo grads now being used to remove clots in brains of stroke victims

Earlier in the year, Vena Medical, which grew out of a Capstone Design project by Michael Phillips and Phillip Cooper, earned Health Canada approval for its hardware called the Vena Balloon Distal Access Catheter. This summer, the device was used by surgeons at hospitals in London and Ottawa to remove blood clots and restore blood flow as quickly as possible for five patients.

surgery team standing in a line


Fall term

Commitment Ceremony signals new beginning for Indigenous Peoples and the University of Waterloo

Henry presenting Goel with a gift

In September, President and Vice-Chancellor Vivek Goel made a historic commitment to reconciliation, Indigenization and decolonization at the University. The day’s events began with a Sunrise Ceremony followed by a special Cedar Circle with more than 400 people from the Waterloo community.


A new University of Waterloo initiative that aims to shape the future of sustainability for the benefit of the environment, economy and society was announced this fall. The initiative aligns strongly with the Futures Framework under Waterloo at 100, a visioning exercise underway to address Waterloo’s aspirations by its 100th anniversary in 2057. 


Professor Ali Abedi and a team of Waterloo researchers discovered a security loophole allowing attackers to use WiFi to see through walls. The device, nicknamed Wi-Peep, can fly near a building and then use the inhabitants’ WiFi network to identify and locate all WiFi-enabled devices inside in a matter of seconds.

Abedi flying a drone


Margaret Mutumba

One of Velocity’s newest startups, MedAtlas, is creating a digital solution to make fertility care in Africa more accessible. Founder Margaret Mutumba shared her journey from being a grad student to becoming an entrepreneur.