President’s letter to campus
President Hamdullahpur shares reflections on his tenure and thanks the campus community
President Hamdullahpur shares reflections on his tenure and thanks the campus communityBy Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor
As my time as president draws to a close at the end of the month, I want to thank this great community at the University of Waterloo: our students, faculty, staff, retirees and alumni, as well as all of our valued partners in the community and around the globe.
What an honour it has been for me to hold the responsibility of leading this exceptional university. It is said that leadership is both a privilege and a burden. And while I took this incredible responsibility very seriously, I knew I was fortunate to be surrounded by such a capable and passionate community to support carrying out the University’s vision.
The University of Waterloo has never had a one-dimensional vision or approach to how we operate. We have never favoured either teaching or research over the other – we know that we can excel in both, and offer our unique strengths of integrating experiential education, entrepreneurial culture, impact-driven research, and deep industry relationships.
Equally important to our achievements in these areas was our unwavering focus on global and social values. This included establishing for the first time ever an Indigenization strategy, forming an anti-racism task force, making tremendous strides in gender equity, and building a university-wide student mental health framework. We demonstrated that within a culture of excellence, we must not lose sight of being a caring institution.
And we do all this while investing in our students’ success and wellbeing. At Waterloo, we invest in our students so they can build a better future for Canada and the world. We know they will be the leaders of tomorrow.
I was fortunate and delighted to have led Waterloo through two exciting strategic plans. As valuable as the resulting plan itself, was the tremendous participation and commitment from everyone in the collaborative process. The strategic plan was the entire University community’s plan.
When I look at the University today, I see an institution transformed. In the most tangible sense, we have seen significant growth in our student, staff and faculty numbers, and expanded our campus infrastructure. We could not have done this without your conviction, participation and support.
Over the past decade, our institution has also experienced an era of transformative entrepreneurship, expanded student development and support, and strengthened our global community.
We have excelled in so many directions, from our teaching to our research and scholarship that continues to make an impact on the globe. We are an institution that highly values curiosity-based research and gives equal focus to translating that scholarship into commercialization and solutions for the general public good.
Waterloo’s unique position in the world is far more visible, recognized and respected. Our ability to partner and network with likeminded institutions around the globe has become more prominent. Thank you. You have all helped propel the university into new frontiers.
I am very proud to have taken over this institution from my mentor, great colleague and friend David Johnston. Together with my talented colleagues and senior team, we have worked hard to bring the University of Waterloo to new heights. And I hope that my successor, Vivek Goel, will do the same. I wish him all the best.
I want to thank you all for your incredible trust in me and the support you have shown. We worked together to ensure the University was moving in the right direction and on track. Every day you are here contributing to the future of our country and the world.
I would also like to specifically thank our students for inspiring me. Every day of my presidency, I was motivated by you—your dedication to your studies and your dreams for the future. Your motivation was my motivation.
Again, I am so grateful for this chapter in my life. Leading this university has been an amazing dream come true. This is not goodbye, just “so long” from the Office of the President. I will always be part of the University of Waterloo community. I will always be a Warrior.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Indigenous Initiatives Office.