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Blog posts archive

January 2018

Occasional updates, comments, and reflections from President Feridun Hamdullahpur

Happy Holidays from President Hamdullahpur

happy holidays from the president

There is nothing quite like the holiday season at the University of Waterloo. We’ve had a tremendous year as we’ve reached new milestone after milestone including Professor Donna Strickland’s Nobel Prize, our 200,000th graduate and being named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for the third consecutive year.

Remembrance is Only the Beginning of Action to End Violence Against Women

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

We come to the University of Waterloo to learn, work and enjoy our community to its fullest. It was 29 years ago that 14 young women went to l'École Polytechnique de Montréal, their institution of higher learning, where they were supposed to be safe from hate and oppression. They were instead murdered on December 6, 1989 by one man.

Environmental Sustainability Strategy: A Year of Action

Environmental Sustainability Update

Our University has a critical role to play in developing a sustainable world for us and for generations to come. It has been one year since the release of the University of Waterloo’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy and the progress we’ve made in our 2025 goals is well underway and making a difference.

From Armistice Day to Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day

This Remembrance Day we remember more than the wars of the past. We remember the lives lost, the sacrifices made and the innocent people forever impacted on and off the battlefields where our brave men and women fought.

Waterloo is Moving Forward in its Student Mental Health Journey with the Okanagan Charter

okanagan charter signing

The University of Waterloo has come together as a stronger community after our community, especially our students, asked for a stronger system in place for mental health about 18 months ago. Since then, we have made strides on many fronts in our journey to strengthen student mental health and wellness supports at our institution.

Honoured to Have Donna Strickland as the University of Waterloo's First Nobel Prize Winner

Nobel prize winner Donna Strickland

It was a tremendous day to be part of the University of Waterloo, women in science and all of Canada as Associate Professor Donna Strickland was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics.

Velocity: Home to Risk Takers, Dreamers and Creators

Velocity 10th anniversary

The University of Waterloo has long had a history of students and alumni who break the mold of what is possible. They have constantly pushed their industries forward with a new way of thinking. This legacy took a significant step forward ten years ago with the founding of Velocity.

Progress in Gender Equity Is Promising but By No Means Final

President at HeForShe Summit

Glacial. That is how Dominic Barton, our 11th chancellor and Global Managing Partner Emeritus of McKinsey & Company, described the progress of gender equity in the world. “It’s moving, but it’s glacial. There’s a lot of good intent, but it’s glacial,” Dominic said.

This is not where we want to be as a University or as a society.

President’s Community Impact Awards: Calling for Nominations

President's Impact Award Winners

Waterloo’s leaders come from all corners of our University and out in the community. They are championing the impact of our institution and making it stronger along the way. The President’s Community Impact Awards were created last year to celebrate these leaders. Now, we are searching for more.

The second annual President’s Community Impact Awards are now accepting nominations and I need your help.

Guest Post: Study Success This Exam Season

students study for exams

The term has ended and it’s time to show your courses what you’re made of. Whether you’ve been hard at work all term or kicked it into high gear after midterms, here are some tips to help you study and take on your exams with confidence.

Committee on Student Mental Health Implementation Update

Earlier this year, we took important steps to transform the support we provide to students who are dealing with mental health challenges while also creating conditions that support the mental health of all students.

The New Economy Will Require More Than Technical Skills

Teamwork and communications are essential skills

“We discovered a quiet crisis,” writes Dave McKay, President and CEO of RBC and University of Waterloo alumnus.

Haunting words from an industry leader.

Introducing the University of Waterloo’s 11th chancellor: Dominic Barton

Chancellor Dominic Barton

I am delighted to welcome Dominic Barton to the University of Waterloo community as our 11th chancellor.

Stepping Forward and Making Progress for the Future of the University of Waterloo

university strategic plan

Our community took a significant step forward this past Monday at the Bridge to 2020: A Look Back, A Look Ahead strategic plan event. After a morning of discussion and sharing at the event, it is clear to me that we have an engaged and passionate community ready to add their experiences and their voice to guide our institution forward.

Convocation and 200,000 Alumni: A Milestone Reached


This week the University of Waterloo will be hosting its Spring 2018 Convocation ceremonies. Every convocation is special and unique in its own way.

It is a momentous event for every one of our honoured graduates, but this Convocation will mark a very special milestone for our young university: our 200,000th graduate.

Being a Catalyst for Sustainable Development Means Taking Action

SDSN Launch Event

This week the University of Waterloo officially opened the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) of Canada hosted at the University by the Faculty of Environment.

It is an honour to have the SDSN here at Waterloo, in partnership with the Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI), and with the launch comes an increased capacity to explore and find solutions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Leaders of “Canada’s Education City” Gather

When Mayor Dave Jaworsky calls the City of Waterloo “Canada’s education city” he is celebrating our community’s extraordinary post-secondary institutions. But here at the University, we know Waterloo didn’t become the most innovative university in Canada on its own.

Our influence nationally and globally is built upon the relationships we foster in our own community. I am pleased to meet this week with Mayor Jaworsky; John Tibbits, president of Conestoga College and Deborah MacLatchy, president of Wilfrid Laurier University to continue building these vital partnerships.  

We Cannot Shy Away From Opposing Views

University campuses across Canada, and around the world, are being confronted with the need to be a place that maintains its dedication to freedom of expression and open debate, while balancing the need to support those individuals and community groups who feel they are under attack. Our community is currently going through this situation right now and we cannot shy away from it.

Stay Connected with Your Warrior Community

stay connected with alumni after graduation

As exams come to an end, I want to congratulate our students, faculty and staff members on another outstanding term. I also want to thank our students for their hard work. You continue to go above and beyond what is expected in and out of the classroom.

Join Me in Supporting the Humboldt Broncos - #JerseysForHumboldt

As countless people across Canada and around the world continue to mourn the tragedy in Saskatchewan last Friday evening involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team, I too grieve with them. The devastating accident has had a profound impact on the hockey community, sports community, Canada and the world.

Professional Development is a Necessity for Innovation

staff conference and professional development

This past week I was privileged to help kick off the 11th annual Waterloo Staff Conference here at the University of Waterloo. The energy I saw in my colleagues was contagious.

It wasn’t just the fact that the group was getting ready to hear from outstanding speakers and take part in engaging workshops, it was because we were networking and learning together. And, professional development and better workplace integration are key drivers of a thriving, innovative environment.

Meeting the Needs of a Changing World

international experience and meeting change needs of the world

This column also appears in Times Higher Education.

New ideas and technologies are disrupting the way the world as we know it operates.

Technological innovations that power strides in artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing and autonomous vehicles are affecting the economies, lifestyles and demographics of the future. If we are to meet the challenges and opportunities these technologies present, we’re going to have to change with them.

Taking Action on Student Mental Health

student mental health forum

This column also appears on the Insight page of today’s Waterloo Region Record.

Millions of Canadians, including celebrities, sports teams, governments and universities, made it a point to show their support for people struggling with mental health challenges at the end of January.

Hitting the retweet button is an easy way for any of us to show our support for mental health wellness. It is a lot harder when we're asked to do more than click a button.

Our Institution is Built on Academic Freedom

academic freedom

The University of Waterloo has constantly evolved over the course of its history, yet at the heart of that evolution has been a set of non-negotiable principles that have deep roots in our academic culture. Top of which is academic freedom.

A message from the President: The importance of addressing student mental health

On Monday, March 5, our campus lost a student to suicide. In the hours that followed this tragic event, our campus expressed shock, anger and grief at the loss of another young life.

Words cannot express my sadness upon hearing this news. Like many of you, I am asking what was going on in this young man’s world where taking his life seemed the only way out. I am thinking about his parents, his family, and his friends and the terrible impact this will have on their lives.

Gender Equity is More Than a Single Day, It is a Movement

international women's day and gender equity

I am excited to celebrate International Women’s Day with our annual dinner this evening honouring our community of women, and those who identify as women. It is a joy to see the energy and drive in the room as we remember those women who have fought, and those who continue to fight today, for women’s rights and equity.

Snow, Reading Week and Taking a Break for Mental Health

Reading Week and Mental Health

As I look outside, I can feel the winter in my bones. I know the atmosphere of short days and cold weather can contribute to feeling down this time of year. This time of year also brings with it a great deal of work and pressure. It’s human to feel stress as it is a common part of life that can come and go with shifts in commitments and workload.

The Strength and Courage of Our International Students

courage of international students

As I started to think about the Winter Olympics coming up, I was immediately reminded of a long overdue conversation with our community of international students here at the University of Waterloo.

Success Starts with Setting Goals

Success Starts with Setting Goals

Every year, after a well-deserved holiday break, I think of my own student days. It was tough to adjust back! I just wanted to share some things with you that I hope you will find helpful.

Welcome Back Students - We Want to Hear From You

Start of Winter Term for Students

Welcome back to campus!

I hope you had a wonderful and restful holiday break with family and friends.

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