Congratulations to our distinguished graduating class of 2021.
March 21 is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
As we mark this day for the first time at Waterloo, I have been reflecting on the actions the University has been taking and wanted to share with you an update on our work to dismantle systems of racism within our institution.
I have had the pleasure of meeting tens of thousands of University of Waterloo alumni over the years. The majority of them I meet the moment they become alumni as they walk across the stage at Convocation and we have a chance to chat for a moment about their time at Waterloo, what their future plans are and, yes, take a selfie or two.
As I reflect on International Women’s Day, this year feels different. Not simply because of the fundamental shifts in our everyday lives due to the pandemic, but because our society has undergone a significant shift over the past year.
We can be proud that our University and society have been able to acknowledge and work towards long-term policy and societal changes in the name of equity. We can and should be proud of these accomplishments, but despite all the progress that we have made, systemic inequities and injustices persist in our institution and in our society.
Black History Month is a time for reflection and celebration. It is also a time to learn, collaborate and act for needed systemic changes inside and outside of our community.
The past year has been framed around one thing: the COVID-19 pandemic. It has shaped and reshaped virtually everything we’ve done as a society, and rightly so. This disruption was certainly felt at the recent World Economic Forum (WEF).
I write this during a trying time for our world and for our community. It has been nearly a year since our everyday routine became anything but routine.
I hope every member of the University of Waterloo community had a restful and safe holiday break.
I am writing this with a heavy heart as I would have stood together on this day, as I have many times in the past, with Pearl Sullivan, whom we lost last week.
Remembrance Day is a time of reflection for those who call Canada home. We remember those who have fought. We remember those who have and continue to serve. And, we remember the countless who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of protecting our nation and our way of life.