I was chauffeured around Ring Road in an autonomous vehicle this month. Everything else is details.


Alex Rodrigues – who co-founded Varden Labs with fellow Mechatronics Engineering and Velocity student Michael Skupien – and I enjoyed a safe and smooth ride along the Needles Hall stretch of Ring Road on August 19. It was the first time an autonomous vehicle had taken to a Canadian road.

The anticipation is building! There is something so special about September on campus: a fresh injection of bright young minds, and the overwhelming sense of endless possibility.

As preparation continues for Orientation week, let me extend our entire university’s sincere thanks to our hundreds of staff and volunteers. Orientation is a massive effort that requires co-ordination and teamwork across all six faculties and our entire campus community – students, faculty, and staff.

I suppose I should start with an apology.

When I last wrote to you in this space, on February 28, I concluded my article with this sentiment:

“Thank you for keeping at your work and studies during such a long and cold winter. The next time I write to you Spring will have sprung!”

Technically true, sure, but in retrospect a little misleading. In any event, you’d never know the winter blues were at work at the University of Waterloo. March has been an extraordinary month!

Welcome to the end of the last full month of winter. You’ve made it!

I think the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi helped us all to power through. What a performance by Canada’s athletes! Our competitors brought home a lot of hardware – only one medal less than our total haul from the Vancouver Olympics. And it sure didn’t hurt that Canada dominated in our national sports of curling and hockey.