A great start to 2014: January in review

I hope that, like me, you’re finding 2014 is off to an outstanding start.

It was a pleasure to partner with FEDS in welcoming students to campus during Winter Welcome Week. Our President’s Lunch event was well-attended and enjoyed by all. Thanks to the many of you who participated, and for my administration colleagues who helped to serve.

I’m delighted to report that Waterloo is making strong strides on the international scene, in accordance with our Strategic Plan goals of being a “truly global institution” and of continuing to shine as a hub for transformational research.

In December, I led a delegation from Waterloo to the University of Bordeaux, France, where we signed a partnership agreement with that excellent university. Our two universities will work together to find a range of opportunities for collaboration, including exchanges, conferences, exploring joint degree possibilities, and teaching and research partnerships in each institution’s areas of strength.

We also announced, this month, plans to enter into a research partnership with the Technion University based in Haifa, Israel. Like Waterloo, the Technion is a top innovation university, with mutual strength and interest in the areas of quantum information systems, nanotechnology, and water. In March, I’ll lead a delegation of Waterloo researchers and administrators to Technion so that joint research teams can work out research plans for these three core areas.

Combined with the relationship we deepened in July with one of Australia’s most innovative institutions, Monash University,  the University of Waterloo is making big gains as a leading international university with a growing network of powerhouse partners. I hope to have more to report in this regard in the months to come.

Closer to home, in mid-January I had the honour of attending a major alumni event at the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa, where we celebrated Waterloo alumnus from the faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Rohit Ramchandani. Rohit partnered with ColaLife to bring essential medicine to children in Zambia using Coca-Cola’s distribution system, as documented in The Cola Road. If you have an opportunity to do so, attend a screening of the documentary. It is such a heart-warming example of what can happen when the spirit of innovation meets the humanitarian impulse. I thank our Ottawa-area alumni (and co-op students!) for making it out to the event.

Speaking of our University of Waterloo community members: we have been extremely well represented in a recent set of appointments made byGovernor General David Johnston to the Order of Canada.

Former president of St. Jerome’s University, Doug Letson, former chair of our Board of Governors, Bob Harding, as well as alumni Stephen Carpenter and John Daniel were all named to the Order of Canada on December 30, 2013. This is a truly prestigious honour, recognizing distinguished Canadians who have demonstrated “outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the nation”.

I would also like to highlight that Waterloo honorary degree recipient and executive chairman of OpenText, Tom Jenkins, was recently named by Industry Minister James Moore to the Council of the National Research Council of Canada in recognition of his “innovative contributions to the Canadian high-technology sector.”

These appointments demonstrate that the region of Waterloo continues to be one of Canada’s leading centres of innovation and civic leadership, and that the University of Waterloo is indispensable to that role.

Wishing you all the best for a good weekend and a productive February.

Sincerely,

Feridun

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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