Convocation to Reunion, Waterloo's family grows: October in review

President Feridun speaking at podiumWhat stands out for me this month is the richness of the University of Waterloo community. From alumni, to future alumni, to donors, to new partners… This place isn’t just an institution — it’s a family.Building on the success of September’s Orientation events, we celebrated both Convocation and Reunion Weekend this month, and had a terrific turnout for both.

It was terrific to send another wave of Warrior Alumni out into the world through Fall Convocation 2015. Congratulations to all grads and your families! You probably already saw it on social media, but if not, here’s the video we published to wrap up that weekend of celebration.

Reunion was equally exciting: it’s a thrill to see our alumni reconnect with their alma mater. You can check out our Storify capturing some highlights. Hopefully we’ll see 

even more of you out there next year – it was an excellent weekend. Thanks to all who helped organize.

Reunion reminds us that our alumni are so essential to our success, both here in the Waterloo region and around the world. Whenever my work for the university takes me overseas, one of the first things I look for is an alumni chapter to support our trip. Our global alumni are some of our absolute best ambassadors. I was delighted to catch up with so many of them this month.

President Feridun standing with top academic athletic studentsIt was a pleasure to celebrate some futurealumni this October, too. I enjoyed spending time with Waterloo’s outstanding student-athletes at our annual Honour Roll Reception. We recognized our student-athletes for their commitment to scholarship as well as athletics. As I said to them in my brief remarks: it’s no wonder good athletes make good students.
Their hard work, commitment, and team mentality applies both ways.

In developing these students, we are extremely fortunate to have the support of a world-wide network of donors and supporters. On October 27, I welcomed more than 275 guests to our annual President’s Reception, which celebrates the contributions of donors, volunteer leaders, alumni and friends. It was important to say thank you — and even more important to give our supporters a chance to see all the progress at Waterloo. They need to see the huge impact they’re having through their generosity and volunteerism. They’re a special part of our community.

Spending time with our students, alumni, and supporters energized me for the very productive month we had advancing Waterloo’s interests both here in the region and around the world.

Earlier this month Tony Chan, president of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), joined me on campus to sign a new academic agreement between our two universities. Hong Kong is a critical element of the east Asian region where Waterloo has a strong presence. It’s important to build and expand our relationships in that exciting part of the world.

Closer to home — at 10:00 a.m. today, in fact — we are opening the new Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Aging on the north campus of the University of Waterloo. This new centre is home to the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA), where students, researchers, and practitioners can collaborate on how to enhance quality of care for older adults. We’ll be honoured by the presence of His Excellency David Johnston — my predecessor and Canada’s serving governor general — at the event.

Today’s event highlights the main theme of our new State of the University Report: Defining Innovation. Our multidisciplinary approach to tackling key frontier disciplines of research and scholarship continues to set Waterloo apart, and this new report tells our story beautifully. Whether on aging, quantum, or any other of the exciting fields where Waterloo is leading the way, we do university education differently here. (In fact, I made that very point in an article for the Ottawa Citizen earlier this month – you can read it online.)

The world is noticing our unique approach to university innovation. This week Maclean’s Magazine ranked Waterloo Canada’s most innovative university for the 24th consecutive year — and that’s on top of the recent news that Pitchbook ranked Waterloo the top school in Canada for venture-capital backed entrepreneurs. Here’s a rundown of Waterloo’s recent reports and rankings on innovation: you are part of a winning team!

On this foundation of strength, I look forward to working in partnership with Canada’s incoming federal government. Prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau has spoken very favourably about university education throughout his time in elective office. On behalf of both the University of Waterloo and Canada’s U15, I wish Mr. Trudeau and all Members of Parliament a productive and successful next session of parliament.

Thank you, one and all, for all your efforts during this cold but exciting month.

Have a great weekend, and Happy Hallowe’en!

Feridun

PS: Have you registered yet for our Town Hall? Hope to see you there on November 3rd.

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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