Celebrating convocation, community & Canada: June in review

Friday, June 27, 2014
by Feridun Hamdullahpur

June was a momentous month for the University of Waterloo on many levels. To begin with, Convocation is without a doubt one of the most refreshing, rejuvenating, and meaningful events of the year, and Spring Convocation 2014 was no different.

It was an absolute thrill to congratulate the Spring Class of 2014 at our Convocation ceremonies which ran from June 10 to June 14. Our several distinguished guest speakers added some inspiring words of wisdom to the event.

For an excellent visual recap of their comments, visit the university’s Facebook page.

On a personal level, I was delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate our graduating class in my own way – through a video message, available now on the office of president website.

To those of you reading this who may have graduated this month, and to those who have loved ones who crossed the stage, congratulations!

June was also significant for another reason: we celebrated the career, and the impending retirement, of Vice-President Academic and Provost Geoff McBoyle.

The Daily Bulletin has covered Provost McBoyle’s retirement extensively, including by way of this article published after Geoff’s farewell celebration. He will be truly missed.

It has been my pleasure, and a true privilege, to work with our outgoing provost over the years. Thank you, Geoff, for your incredible contributions to Waterloo’s success.

That success will be safeguarded and built upon by the University of Waterloo’s incoming provost, Professor Ian Orchard, whose term formally begins July 1, 2014. Ian’s experiences and skills have made him the ideal person to take on the role of Provost and help us carry on with our important work of being recognized as one of the world’s top innovation universities. Ian, welcome to campus!

This month I also had some excellent opportunities to engage our campus and local communities.

On June 18, 2014, I participated in the most recent version of our Strategic Plan Town Halls, this time focused on the Strategic Plan area of “Robust Employer-Employee Relationship”. The Town Hall was a great way to share progress and updates on this aspect of the Strategic Plan, and to hear back from our campus stakeholders about some relevant items of importance to them. Thank you to all who participated and helped to organize.

Last Friday, I was delighted to unveil the University of Waterloo’s community relations framework at our second annual President’s Community Breakfast. Hosted at the Canadian Clay & Glass Museum in uptown Waterloo, the event marked the launch of the university’s first-ever integrated community relations strategy, focusing on the priority areas of arts, culture & diversity, economic development, health & well-being, sustainability, and youth engagement. I look forward to continuing progress on this strategic priority for the university.

As we know, our community is not just a matter of geography, but of the ties that bind us together. This morning I’m heading back home to Waterloo after a terrific visit with our alumni, friends, and supporters in California. This was an ideal opportunity to update our alumni family and industry supporters on the excellent progress this university is making, and to get their feedback and build plans for enhanced collaboration. Hearing our alumni speak about their pride in their alma mater, and their desire to stay connected, was far and away the highlight of the trip.

Last, but not least, I hope to see you all on Tuesday, July 1 for the University of Waterloo’s 30th Annual Canada Day Celebration! Take in our featured musical performances, children’s activities, family-friendly programming and our outstanding fireworks display. Our Canada Day celebration is one of our best opportunities every year for giving back to this Waterloo region community that we love and call home. Join us on Columbia Lake Field and help us welcome our neighbours to campus!

All the best to you for an excellent — and extended — Canada Day weekend.



Note to readers: from June, 2013 through 2015, the president’s monthly review was published in the Daily Bulletin, where this piece originally ran. As of January 2016, monthly reviews are published directly to this blog.