Campus community in full bloom: July in review

There’s only one way I could possibly start July’s update: with a huge thank-you to the team that enabled our biggest, best Canada Day ever.

More than 40,000 of our friends and neighbours came out to the Columbia Lake Fields to celebrate Canada, and to celebrate this wonderful community where we’re so fortunate to live and work.

We promised a “bigger, better Canada Day than ever before,” and our organizers and volunteers delivered beautifully. My sincere thanks to all the student, faculty, and staff organizers who made the day possible, and to each and every one of you who joined us for the event. I’m looking forward to seeing you at next year’s celebration!

If you haven’t already, browse this photo gallery of the Canada Day festivities – they capture the day perfectly.

I’m delighted to report that another major university initiative, the Strategic Plan, is moving ever closer to being fully approved by the university’s Board of Governors, allowing us to begin the implementation phase this fall.

By now you’ve heard me say countless times how vital the Strategic Plan is to our ongoing and future success – because it’s true. We intend to secure a bright and exceptional future for the University of Waterloo, defined by our global leadership in experiential education and entrepreneurship, and built upon a foundation of core academic, research, and organizational strengths.

Developing and implementing a strong Strategic Plan is the cornerstone of my mission as president and central to our work as an institution of higher learning. I know that you share my pride in seeing the plan continue to build momentum – from consultation, to vision-setting, to priority-making, and now, to approval and implementation.

Achieving the level of growth and success called for in our Strategic Plan will require the commitment of a broad range of stakeholders both on and beyond campus. The federal government – the level of government responsible for the lion’s share of funding for research and innovation – is a key partner, and we sent our congratulations to key members of the new federal cabinet following #shuffle13.

One of our local Members of Parliament in Waterloo Region, the Honourable Gary Goodyear, continues to serve as Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario, and the Honourable Greg Rickford, from northern Ontario, has been appointed Minister of State for the  Science and Technology portfolio – an important ministry for a science and tech powerhouse like Waterloo. We congratulate these and all other newly appointed ministers, and look forward to keeping the lines of communication open, and building awareness about the value Waterloo brings to Canada's communities and economy.

As we roll into August, I can’t help but observe something special about this university, which I’ll leave you with.

Many universities and colleges more or less shut down for the summer. They slip into a bit of a trance, or turn most of their attention to the year ahead. But not here.  Our university is in full bloom during the summer months, in countless ways.

The grounds look spectacular, thanks to the efforts of our maintenance staff; our community is engaged, and truly grateful for the wonderful Canada Day we gave to local families; we have many students on campus and many courses being taught, thanks to our year-round academic programming; our dedicated support staff are on the job to make sure our students have every support and opportunity they need to be successful; and our Board of Governors is hard at work supporting our Strategic Plan, and constantly asking me, “What else can we do to help?”

Some universities wind down for the summer, but not this one. We’re in full bloom.

Sincerely,

FH

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.

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