From spring to summer, a season of celebration: June in review

This month has been a busy and exciting one for both the University and for me. There has been so much to celebrate and there is much more to come.

President Entrepreneurship standing by windown with arms crossedAt the beginning of the month we held our quarterly Board of Governors meeting where I gladly shared many notable achievements that Waterloo staff, faculty and students have accomplished. Highlights include the Co-op Students of the Year and the three sustainability leaders from Waterloo who have been named to the annual Corporate Knights Top 30 under 30 List. I invite you to read over the agenda for my complete report and those of my colleagues.

The annual Keystone Picnic, held on June 5, continues to be a great celebration of the Waterloo family. I was happy to serve Waterloo faculty, staff and retirees their lunch. It was a pleasure meeting you and hearing your stories. Congratulations to the 2015 Keystone Picnic Committee on a fantastic event.

From June 9 to 13 the community celebrated University of Waterloo’s Spring 2015 Convocation. As degrees were conferred upon 4,737 undergraduate and 980 graduate students I had the opportunity to talk to some of Waterloo’s newest alumni as they crossed the stage. When they were asked the question “What’s next?” the responses I got were inspiring. It makes me proud to hear that graduates of Waterloo want to change the world, make it a better place, and do it in an innovative and creative way that is uniquely theirs. Relive the celebration by reading the Storify and checking out the Twitter hashtag #UWaterlooGrad.

While Convocation speaks to students who are finished their Waterloo degree we also celebrated the future for students on our campus. Earlier this week there was an exciting moment for Waterloo Housing and Residences as we broke ground for the new student residence adjacent to UW Place.

The new residence’s innovative blueprints speak to the excellent student experience we provide our Waterloo Warriors, our optimism for the future of this institution and for our ability to ensure that bright future for our students. Providing an excellent residence experience is key to ensuring the best overall experience for our students.

We’ve made our commitment to the student experience essential to our University’s operations through the Strategic Plan we rolled out almost two years ago.

Providing a vibrant student experience is one of our eight core priorities, along with co-operative education, research and academic excellence, and a number of additional high-level strengths.

I had the opportunity to amplify our University’s strengths as I participated in two partnership events this month. On June 15 I traveled to Israel to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, the country’s leading innovation university, for the establishment of a collaborative quantum communications satellite project.

While in the United Kingdom on June 18 I signed a MOU with King’s College London that will launch collaborations on science and technology projects, which will help build our institutional relationship with an institution strong in STEM disciplines.

These latest agreements build on a string of high-value, high-profile partnerships that are helping establish Waterloo as one of the most internationalized universities in Canada, a key strategic plan goal.

As spring gives way to summer, we should all take the opportunity to celebrate Canada’s most important day, its birthday, on Wednesday, July 1. I’m delighted to invite you to the 31st annual University of Waterloo – Federation of Students Canada Day Celebration starting at 4:00 p.m. at Columbia Lake Field. The celebration promises to be our biggest ever, with an expected attendance topping 60,000, and featuring live musical performances on the OpenText Stage, children’s activities and entertainment on the TVOKids Stage, a terrific food fair, and of course, our outstanding fireworks display at 10:00 p.m.

Canada Day is our best opportunity to say thank you to our friends and partners right across Waterloo Region, so help us give back to our community by bringing your families, friends and neighbours out to the best Canada Day celebration in town. Don’t forget to wear your red and white or your black and gold as we celebrate together.

I wish you all the best this summer.

Feridun Hamdullahpur

President and Vice-Chancellor

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