The University of Waterloo defied tradition when it was founded in 1957.

We boldly advanced an educational experience that integrates academic and research excellence with work experience. In our always changing world, we must continue to be bold and unconventional as we help shape a better future for humanity and the planet. 

Throughout 2022, the University set out to develop a vision that would steer our longterm evolution and help us answer: What do we as an institution aspire to be known for by our 100th anniversary in 2057?

Thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the broader Waterloo community participated in consultations and provided invaluable feedback to develop ideas for the University’s future. What struck me in these conversations was the genuine pride in our work and care for our institution evident across our university and wider community. Throughout the discussions, participants paid tribute to our past, honestly assessed what we could improve today and looked ahead with clear-eyes and optimism. The result is a long-term vision by and for the University and its broader community.

It is a privilege to live and work in this community. I acknowledge that our work takes place on the traditional territories of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. It has been a great privilege to learn from our Indigenous elders and communities in this process. Their dedication to the idea that the decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world seven generations in the future has been a  deep inspiration for this vision for Waterloo. 

Drawing on the unconventional spirit of the University’s founding, this community  
put forward ideas to reinvent the culture of our institution as we build a better future. In the consultations, I heard broad acknowledgment that the world around us is rapidly changing and that within the higher education sector, other institutions are gaining ground where we have historically  led. We discussed how we can draw on our unique strengths to not only navigate uncertainty in  the future, but to help shape that future for the betterment of society.

In the 1950s, we disrupted post-secondary education in Canada with what was then an unconventional model of education. Now is the time to reinvent what makes us unconventional: to nurture the skills, expertise, and spirit within us to be known as the problem-solvers and leaders in 2057. A few years after founding this University, Gerald Hagey, reflected on the progress of the institution and where it might be headed. He said:

Vivek Goel
Gerald Hagey

I cannot perceive a time when the universities will not be challenged by new requirements from our society. Equally, I cannot foresee a time when the University of Waterloo will be so hidebound by tradition that it cannot adjust itself to providing education to meet these needs.


Those words from 65 years ago remain so true today. I hope they, and the vision outlined in this document, continue to inspire and push us forward for the next 35 and beyond.

I am deeply grateful to all who participated and shared their feedback and ideas. It is an honour to work with you as together we take the path ahead into bold new futures. 

Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor