Words of Welcome

Fall 2019

Editor's Note

Stephen Loo headshot

When I sat down to write this note I realised that the new year is only 6 weeks away. 

I am watching a light snow fall through fading light, and I find myself thinking: "2020!?!? How did this happen? Where has the time gone? Am I ready for that? Did I achieve everything I intended to this year? This decade?"

But I am also thinking about all of the great opportunities that a new year and a new decade present. My wife and I will welcome our first child in January. Knowing that I have a daughter on the way, I need to be optimistic for her sake that we as a society will make real progress on some of the biggest issues facing us: climate change, reconciliation, healthy aging, refugees and human security to name a few. 

The good news is that I am truly optimistic because I know a lot of very bright people within the St. Paul's and Waterloo communities who are tackling these issues head on. I have no doubt that our alumni, students and faculty will continue working hard to make the world better and that in many ways they will succeed. 

In this issue of Community Notes you will read about Winnie Lam and Jenna Phillips who are working on climate change and sustainability, Rachel Thompson who is working on healthy aging, Richard Yim and Moira Hennebury who are focused on human security and disaster preparedness, and Chancellor JP Gladu who is making real progress on economic reconciliation. 

I am certain there are many other alumni and friends who are also working hard to make the world better and I hope you will continue alerting me to those great stories (stp.alumni@uwaterloo.ca) so that I may continue sharing with the entire St. Paul's community. So we can all be optimistic, and proud, together.

Stephen Loo

Director, Advancement and Alumni Relations

PS If you feel inspired by what you read in this issue of Community Notes I hope you will consider a financial contribution in support of our work. 


Message from the Principal

Rick MyersDear alumni and friends,

What brought European colonizers to this land in the days of Champlain, Montcalm and Wolfe? Any child can tell you it was the “fur trade.” Europeans were crazy for beaver pelts at that time; and crazy enough to come all the way to Canada to get them.

Of course, the Europeans didn’t actually “get” the beaver pelts themselves; as the term “fur trade” suggests, the Europeans bought the pelts from someone else – from the Indigenous peoples who had the knowledge, skills and tenacity to acquire the commodity and manage supply chains to markets hundreds of kilometers away. These Indigenous peoples were astonishingly effective entrepreneurs and always had been. Even before the arrival of the Europeans, they had complex and long-standing systems for the management of inter-tribal trade.

Sadly, one part of the colonizing agenda was to do everything possible to stifle the traditional commercial talents and practices of Indigenous peoples. After two centuries of confinement to “reserves,” of abusive and assimilationist education, and of infantilizing control by “Indian Agents,” one might expect the traditional Indigenous commercial spirit to be completely gone.

And yet if your mental image of an Indigenous person today depicts someone living off of government cheque, you need a check of your own -- a reality check. There are now over 50,000 Indigenous businesses in Canada in an amazing variety of sectors: airlines, wineries, engineering firms, law firms, construction companies, oil and gas companies, designers, printers --- you name it, they’re doing it. The traditional Indigenous entrepreneurial spirit is making a remarkable comeback. 

St. Paul’s is deeply honoured to have JP Gladu as its Chancellor. As President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), JP says that there’s an easy way for Canadians to promote economic reconciliation with Indigenous peoples: through procurement policies and practices. JP shared his vision of economic reconciliation at our annual Stanley Knowles Humanitarion Service Lecture  on October 30. You can read more about the insight he shared in the feature story Healing Conversations

I hope you will find that story valuable and that you will feel pride in your College for taking a lead role on campus for such an important issue as reconciliation. 

There is a lot going on at St. Paul's these days and we continue to make progress in many areas. I hope you will enjoy reading about what our alumni, students, staff and faculty have been up to.

Rick Myers

Principal (stp.principal@uwaterloo.ca )

PS I believe it is always important to recognize those who came before us and as Principal of this wonderful College I have great respect and admiration for my predecessors. I feel sad that we lost both Helga Mills and Bill Klassen this year and I hope that those of you who remember Helga and Bill will take a moment to reflect on the impact they had on your time here at St. Paul's.