From global to local, Waterloo’s profile grows: May in review

Friday, May 30, 2014
by Feridun Hamdullahpur

Both at home and abroad, May has been an exciting month for Waterloo.

As you know, building our international profile and prominence is an important part of our Strategic Plan. In pursuit of that goal, I led a delegation of Waterloo administrators and researchers to visit some of our key partners in China this month and the results have been excellent.

Our valued partner Tsinghua University — ranked one of the world’s Top 50 universities — has established a one-year pre-bachelor course that will enable students to study with us here at Waterloo. At Nanjing University, we co-hosted a Symposium on environmental challenges and opportunities ​pertaining specifically to marine issues.

President Hamdullahpur with Soochow University President Xiulin Zhu
And atSoochow University, our delegation was focused on deepening the ties that bind or two institutions together through co-operative education and partnership on nanotechnology.

You can read about this delegation in more detail at Waterloo News.

These institutions represent the elite level of China’s growing post-secondary education sector. Strategically selecting our international partners, and nurturing these relationships to the benefit of our students and faculty, are key priorities for our international team and our entire administration.

President Hamdullahpur is pictured at right with Soochow University President Xiulin Zhu.

In keeping with the theme of elite international partnerships, we were delighted to welcome our partners from France’s Universite de Bordeaux to campus this month to establish Canada’s first Bachelor of Bio-based Chemistry. I congratulate our international team and especially Professor Eric Prouzet for convening such an interesting and valuable conference.

To underline the progress Waterloo is making on the international front, I should mention that we were privileged to host several senior diplomatic officers to campus this month, all of whom shared a keen interest in what makes Waterloo such a unique institution. It was my pleasure to host senior representatives of Israel, Austria, and France to continue shaping global perceptions about Waterloo’s strengths and priorities.

Locally, we’ve had a great month both on campus and in the broader Waterloo community.

On May 2, I was very proud to participate in the official opening of the Bright Starts Co-operative Early Learning Centre, now Waterloo Region’s largest child care centre. The outcome of a strong collaborative effort between the Faculty Association, the Staff Association, and the University of Waterloo, Bright Starts is an excellent example of our university’s progressive culture, and of momentum on our Strategic Plan theme of sustaining a sound value system.

It was also a pleasure to represent the university at the 10th annual Town and Gown Symposium, hosted by the Town and Gown Association of Ontario.  I participated in the Presidents’ and Mayor’s panel, along with co-panelists President Max Blouw from Wilfrid Laurier University, President John Tibbits from Conestoga College, and Mayor Brenda Halloran of Waterloo. The value of our co-operative education program — both as a bridge between the university and local businesses, and as a means for developing career-ready graduates — was one of the main areas of focus in our conversation.

That’s one of the many aspects of our university I’m proud to be discussing today with Nova Scotia’s Premier Stephen McNeil. He and several of his colleagues from Nova Scotia’s higher education and public service sectors are visiting us on campus today, as my guests, to learn more about Waterloo and to discuss the university-community connection.

If you see us on campus, be sure to stop and say hello!

Thanks to all for your contributions this month.

With my best wishes for a great 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.