A new era of leadership for the University of Waterloo officially begins. Vivek Goel was installed as the University of Waterloo's seventh President and Vice-Chancellor on November 8, 2021.

Hundreds of viewers tuned in virtually to the ceremony that took place live at Engineering 7, where President Goel was formally endowed the duties and responsibilities of office. Hosted by Adel Sedra, distinguished professor emeritus and former dean of Engineering at Waterloo, the installation ceremony was conducted by the Cindy Forbes, Chair, Board of Governors, and Karen Jack, University Secretary.

Vivek Goel at the installation ceremony

The event opened with a special drumming performance by John Somosi, Metis Knowledge Keeper, drum-maker and singer. Jean Becker, associate vice-president, Indigenous Relations provided an Indigenous greeting. Several notable guests joined virtually to offer greetings and their congratulations to the new president, including Dominic Barton, the University of Waterloo’s chancellor and Ambassador of Canada to the People’s Republic of China, and Her Honorable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

“[Waterloo's] highly prized graduates are exactly what the world needs right now,” said Ambassador Barton in his remarks. “Vivek, under your leadership as president, Waterloo is poised to create the biggest change and the best solutions for our shared future.”

President Goel shared some words on the University of Waterloo’s history, the purpose and function of the University in society, and the University’s important role in a post pandemic world.

“Gerald Hagey and Ira Needles took their experience in industry and founded a university to propel the region, and our nation, forward,” said Goel. “They laid the groundwork for one of Waterloo’s core strengths by creating a strong bond between academia, industry, government and business.”

“Emerging from the pandemic, we find ourselves at a crossroad, just as our founders experienced in the post-War era,” he continued. “As we look to build back after so much disruption, universities are and will continue to play an important role in economic recovery and ensuring society is more resilient in the future.”

Vivek Goel addressing the live and virtual audience

In his remarks, President Goel also offered thoughts on the University of Waterloo’s future.

“We are not only concerned about solving today’s most pressing challenges, but anticipating those to come, developing approaches and solutions to equip ourselves accordingly, and therefore working towards a better future for our world,” he said. “As we look forward, we should also think about humanity’s and society’s futures, and help define the world that we want to live in, rather than letting technology shape our future as has been the case in recent decades. […] Imagining the kind of world we want to live in will drive what kind of university we want to be.”

President Goel is recognized in Canada and around the world as a leading public-health researcher, health-services evaluation expert, and champion for the use of research evidence in health policy making. He has extensive achievements in research, teaching and leadership across both public and private sectors. Last year, as COVID-19 spread around the world, he stepped aside from his administrative roles to work full-time in support of Canada’s pandemic response. He conducted research in areas such as the economic and social effects of pandemic control measures, border testing and quarantine policies, and helped to build networks of researchers such as CanCOVID and the Canadian Immunity Task Force.

Goel was announced as the next president of the University of Waterloo in November 2020. He saw the global situation with the pandemic as a reminder of the post-secondary sector’s responsibility to prepare students and citizens to confront the many challenges ahead.

“I know we are ready and willing to address future challenges in unconventional ways,” said President Goel in closing. “I am grateful for the opportunity to join your community and to continue the legacy of those who came before me. I am honoured to join you all to build on our unique strengths, and as we take the University of Waterloo into bold new futures.”

Watch the Presidential Installation of Vivek Goel