Celebrating our impact: October in review

In about an hour from now, the first graduands of Fall Convocation 2013 will cross the stage, taking their place in the world as alumni of the University of Waterloo.

While I don’t want to get ahead of my planned remarks this morning, I have to say that Convocation always stirs in me a feeling of optimism and opportunity, as well as responsibility. Each degree conferred by the University of Waterloo is a promise for our alumni to keep. People expect good things from the University of Waterloo’s graduates – intelligence, innovation, integrity – and the degrees we confer are guarantees that our grads do indeed possess those qualities.

To all those who will soon look out upon the world for the first time as Waterloo alumni: congratulations, and good luck!

October has been an incredibly busy month at the university, and for me as well.

Earlier this month I was in Korea opening our newest – our eighth – alumni chapter.

This photo of the event is of me and Korea chapter president Dr. James Hong, at the embassy of Canada in Korea, where the founding event was hosted. President Hamdullaphur and Korea chapter president Dr. James Hong standing side by sideJames and about sixty of his fellow University of Waterloo alumni in Korea gathered in Seoul to officially open the chapter. It was a great day, and an excellent further step for “global prominence and internationalization” as called for in our Strategic Plan.

While in Korea I also represented the University of Waterloo at KAIST University’s annual conference of university presidents. This year the conference explored the role and responsibility of research universities, with a special focus on technology transfer and entrepreneurship.

Obviously, these are strengths for the University of Waterloo, and I was extremely proud to see how our performance in these areas compares to other institutions around the world.

International and national rankings, many of which have been recently released, have been reflecting these and other strengths of the university.

Waterloo ranked as a global top 200 university by the critical ARWU and QSrankings, and as a global top 250 institution by the important Times Higher Ed ranking.

I am delighted to report that here in Canada, we were ranked top Canadian university in the comprehensive category by Research Infosource for the sixth time – an excellent validation of our performance as an innovative, high-impact university.

Closer to home, yesterday I hosted the University of Waterloo’s first annual President’s Community Breakfast, giving me the opportunity to present our new Strategic Plan to our community partners, and to officially unveil the University of Waterloo Economic Impact Study 2013.

With more than $2.6 Billion of total economic impact, and by providing more than an 800% economic return on government investment, the University of Waterloo is the anchor of the Waterloo region’s economic ecosystem and a key driver of prosperity and opportunity for Canada. I encourage you to read the highlights of the report online.

I hope your October has been as positive and productive as it’s been for the university as a whole.

Please accept my best wishes for a great weekend – and be sure to congratulate our grads on campus.

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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