January 2019

Occasional updates, comments, and reflections from President Feridun Hamdullahpur

The Growth of our Campus and the Student Experience

columbia icefield Field House at Waterloo

I know how exceptional our students are and all the effort they commit while in and out of the classroom. They are the heartbeat of our campus and a significant part of my commitment to them is to ensure their experience at the University of Waterloo is positive and enriching.

Today marks a leap in that offering with the grand opening of the Columbia Icefield Field House. This 65,000 square foot indoor facility is the newest addition to our campus landscape and it didn’t happen overnight. The structure and meeting place we have today is something we can all be proud to have at Waterloo.

HeForShe and the need to never stop working towards gender equity

HeForShe Get Free Tour

The University of Waterloo was the first stop on the special HeForShe Get Free Tour this morning that brought representatives from HeForShe and United Nations Women to our campus. The Tour stop brought excitement and support to our campus with guest speakers, corporate HeForShe partners from DeBeers and special celebrity guest Edgar Ramirez, all sharing the importance of building a university and society that is truly equitable. The outpouring of support of those from across our campus community this morning was truly inspiring.

The Beginning of so Much More Than a School Year

Orientation Week Waterloo

I cannot imagine a more exciting time of the year than the first week of September.

I know we are an active community the entire year. Our students, faculty and staff are in a constant state of exploration and learning, but September and the beginning of a new academic year is something special. This week we welcome thousands of new students to our campus for the first time and welcome back even more returning students to continue their journey at Waterloo.

Bringing wellness to the forefront of our community

mental health and wellness

When I signed the Okanagan Charter this past October, our University took a significant step forward in our journey to embrace the lens of wellness in all that we do. From the decisions we make about our policies, buildings, programs and initiatives, wellness – particularly mental health wellness – will be a key factor in how we make the choices that will shape our campus.

I was excited to see the recent launch of the Wellness Collaborative which the result of the signing of the Okanagan Charter and the signing of the Healthy Workplace Statement. The Wellness Collaborative takes the commitment found in these two documents and turns it into action by bringing our community together to share ideas, perspectives and experiences on an ongoing basis.

Doing Good and Closing Canada's AI Gap

artificial intelligence at waterloo

Canada has a problem.

We play an outsized role in the world as drivers of artificial intelligence knowledge and advancement, but we aren’t seeing it pay off on the global stage–not in the headlines, and not yet in the marketplace. Even as Canada cements its role as the big thinkers behind one of the world’s most dynamic and disruptive technologies, companies are having a difficult time capitalizing on that advantage.

Convocation, Careers and the Art of Transition

president and student at convocation

There is no time at the University of Waterloo like convocation. I have had the honour of joining the celebrations of many thousands of students during my time as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waterloo and it truly never gets old.

Experiential education is more than co-op

experiential education

Canada and the world are in need of talented individuals prepared to hit the ground running and who can enable our future prosperity. They will be the catalyst for positive change, strengthened by their adaptability. At the heart of developing that talent will be experiential education.

University's Strategic Plan 2020-2025 Update: Mission, Vision and Values

university of waterloo campus entrance

I am pleased to share some preliminary work on the core elements of our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan: the Mission, Vision and Values. These elements have been developed with your valuable input from extensive consultations in fall 2018. They reflect the feedback we heard and are being shared with University leadership for input.

Progress on Student Mental Health Initiatives Continues at Waterloo

University of Waterloo Students and mental health

It has now been a year since the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health submitted their comprehensive final report and list of 36 recommendations to be implemented and I can assure our community that progress will continue to be made.

The Committee on Student Mental Health (CoSMH) was tasked with implementing the recommendations through deep collaboration with on-campus and community stakeholders, and through their hard work a total of 72 per cent of the report’s recommendations are either in progress or have been completed.

University of Waterloo Indigenization Update

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I wanted to reiterate our commitment to the University of Waterloo’s efforts to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action. This is an important national issue in which the University of Waterloo must play an integral role by bringing new initiatives and by making meaningful changes on our campus to eliminate obstacles faced by, and amplify the perspectives of, our Indigenous students, faculty and staff.

Take a step forward for equity and be an ally every day

HeForShe supports at Waterloo

We heard passion and hope at the annual International Women’s Day Dinner last week. From our exceptional keynote speaker and Canada 150 Research Chair, Anita Layton, to our HeForShe Anthology writers and the group of dedicated community members, there were messages of hope and action. Hope and action to stand up to the challenges and setbacks that continue to plague our society and limit the potential of so many people.

University’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan Process Enters New Stage

Waterloo students on campus

The development of the University’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan continues and I am pleased to share the progress we’ve made following the completion of the consultation phase in the fall.

Velocity continues to redefine Canada’s entrepreneurial future

Velocity fund final winners

Velocity will continue to be a leader and catalyst for entrepreneurship by redefining it. This is how.

An engrained entrepreneurial spirit has been part of the University of Waterloo since our institution’s inception. It has inspired many of our students to strike out on their own and create ventures that have changed the face of industries and how we live our lives. This legacy took a significant leap in 2008 with the creation of the Velocity Residence program in the Minota Hagey Residence building. This was only the first step in Velocity’s journey.

A new year and new possibilities for students at University of Waterloo

students walking in winter term

Happy New Year and welcome back to the thousands of you who start classes this week. The start of a new year and a new term offers an ideal opportunity to frame how and where you want to succeed.

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