A welcoming campus community: September in review

Thursday, September 25, 2014
by Feridun Hamdullahpur

The 2014-2015 academic year is off to a busy and successful start.

Throughout the month of September we have been welcoming people to campus from beginning to end!

In addition to receiving our exceptional incoming students and excellent faculty, we are also welcoming back old friends over the upcoming Reunion weekend. It’s a great chance for our Alumni to revisit their alma mater and see the continued successes and expansions of the University.

We are also happy to welcome home Heather Moyse, two time Olympic gold champion as a speaker the afternoon of as well. I look forward to introducing her.

 In September, our University and the broader Waterloo region made significant progress on some key community-building initiatives as well. The University of Waterloo proudly partnered again with Doors Open Waterloo Region, inviting the local community members to tour and learn about the university's School of Architecture, School of Pharmacy, and School of Optometry.

We also hosted Canada’s largest international hackathon this month, Hack the North. A non-stop 36 hour event that was planned by our students and the Faculty of Engineering, we invited over 1,000 students from across North America to compete and interact with other likeminded students, professors and sponsors.

Also here on campus, it was my great pleasure to participate in the long-awaited grand opening of the Health Services building. I am very excited about the growth and expansion of this building. It is an excellent reflection of the university’s commitment to providing a supportive and healthy environment for our students, faculty, and staff.

In the larger community, we were happy to help Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and Square, celebrate the new Square offices in Kitchener, as well as to offer our congratulations to the new Velocity Foundry building also in downtown Kitchener.

Both of these buildings bring with them great opportunity for expansion and growth within our engineering and entrepreneurial communities. With these openings, our task of building the strongest, deepest, broadest university entrepreneurship system in Canada continues to build momentum.

Waterloo’s strength as a powerhouse university was also recognized in a new and exciting way in September. The University of Waterloo has received the highest possible score in the prestigious QS Stars Rankings, with an outcome of 5+ stars. This outcome rightly places our university in the company of some outstanding peer institutions, such as MIT and Monash University in Australia.

Combined with our improving global rankings performance – we were recently named the 169th in the world, an improvement of 11 spaces over last year — Waterloo is steadily tracking in a very positive direction.

We further deepened this trend by signing key partnership agreements with two outstanding Korean universities this month, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). I urge you to read the media release detailing the agreements – they are extremely positive for our rapidly internationalizing institution.

On that high note, I am pleased to reiterate the announcement that Tom Jenkins, chair of OpenText Corporation, has been named the university's incoming chancellor for a three-year term beginning next May.

As we say goodbye to one great leader, our outgoing Chancellor, Prem Watsa, we will soon welcome another with open arms. I look forward to properly thanking Mr. Watsa for his service to our University after his final convocation this fall.

As a final note for this month: October 1 marks Waterloo’s annual United Way Campaign kickoff, with the campaign scheduled to run throughout October. I thank you in advance for chipping in with your time, talent or treasure to make this campaign a success. Stay tuned for a message from me on Monday morning, as we gear up for our annual campaign.

Best of luck with your upcoming midterms, and enjoy the quickly approaching fall weather.

Yours most sincerely,


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.