University of Waterloo celebrates appointment of President David Johnston as
the next Governor General of Canada

WATERLOO, ON, July 8 /CNW/ - The University of Waterloo and its alumni around the world proudly learned today of the appointment of current president, David Johnston, as the next Governor General of Canada, effective October 1, 2010.

President Johnston shared some of his feelings with the campus and broader community, commenting:

"My wife Sharon and I are honoured to be asked to serve Canada in this way and will miss the Waterloo family enormously, but we will not be far away," he said.

"I am a teacher as are my only brother and my sister. All five of our daughters are public servants. All the important things in life I've learned from my children. This is just one more lesson."

While he is excited about the new opportunity in his life, he said there is still "much to do at uWaterloo between now and Oct 1. I want to devote an enormous effort to bring Campaign Waterloo home in splendid fashion."

Bob Harding, chair of the university's board of governors, expressed the university's gratitude to the Governor General-Designate.

"David Johnston exemplifies the highest qualities of leadership and commitment to public service we have in Canada. The University of Waterloo is fortunate to have had him as its president for the past 11 years, a time when Waterloo has grown in innovation, accomplishment and profile in Canada and around the world," Harding said.

"While we are losing a great president, Canada gains a splendid individual and a community leader who will represent all Canadians with great distinction as our next GG. We, his Waterloo family, are so grateful for his leadership and we are proud of him."

Mike Lazardis, co-CEO and founder of RIM (Research In Motion), and Waterloo's Chancellor Emeritus, said Johnston "has led the University of Waterloo during the most prolific growth period in its history. He has worked tirelessly to position the University of Waterloo as a world-class institution of math, science, engineering, health and the arts.

"David's strong understanding of law and the Canadian Constitution, combined with his great communication skills, charm and real ability to achieve consensus amongst stakeholders, will serve him well in the role of Governor General. David's appreciation of the importance of higher education, scientific research and private-public partnerships also distinctly qualifies him for the role."

Waterloo's current chancellor, Prem Watsa, said that " as Chancellor of the University of Waterloo for the past two years, I have observed David Johnston's great integrity, wisdom and humility and good sense of humour at close quarters. David has done an outstanding job at the University of Waterloo over the past decade and he will be missed.

"He is a great Canadian and a wonderful human being, and he will be a superb representative of Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the committee have made an outstanding choice by appointing David Johnston as Governor General."

Feridun Hamdullahpur, who as provost and vice-president academic for Waterloo is second-in-command to Johnston at the university, expressed delight at the appointment. "David has served the University of Waterloo with great distinction in so very many ways with great vision, energy and leadership, and now will do the same for Canada. I have immensely enjoyed working with him and learned a great deal from him in my first year at Waterloo. I could not have asked for a greater mentor, teacher and a friend. We will miss him dearly and wish him and Sharon well."

During his 11-year tenure at the University of Waterloo, David Johnston oversaw unprecedented growth in the university's reputation, research capacity and leadership capabilities.

Of his many accomplishments, he will be especially remembered for:

Putting the University of Waterloo, and the surrounding region, on the national map as a centre for talent, ideas, and innovation.

    * He led Campaign Waterloo, which raised in excess of $500 million to
        support the university's scholarship, students, and key building

    * The Institute for Quantum Computing, founded in 2002, has become a
        leading centre for development of ideas that may lead to a revolution
        in how we store and transmit information, among many other things.
        The institute moves into the $160-million Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis
        Quantum Nano Centre in 2011, one of five current major building
        projects underway on the uWaterloo campus.

    * Leading research groups have formed and grown under President
        Johnston's tenure, including the Water Institute, the Waterloo
        Institute for Sustainable Energy, the Propel Centre for Population
        Health Impact, the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WATCar),
        and the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change. Research funding
        for the university has nearly tripled in this decade from $61 million
        in 1999 to $170 million in 2009.

    * He has encouraged talent and ideas through VeloCity, the university's
        unique "dormcubator" residence for student entrepreneurs, and the
        Accelerator Centre, which provides a fertile environment for start-up
        high-tech firms developing new products and services.

Demonstrating the value and impact of collaboration among academics, government, philanthropists and business to boost community building and economic development.

    * 2001 saw the launch of Waterloo's Research and Technology Park, a
        100-acre development on the university's north campus supported by
        the City of Waterloo, the Region of Waterloo, and the provincial and
        federal governments.

    * The university's School of Architecture opened in a renovated silk
        mill in downtown Cambridge in 2004, a partnership of the university,
        local business leaders, the City of Cambridge, the Region of
        Waterloo, philanthropists, and the provincial government.

    * Waterloo's health sciences campus, anchored by Canada's only co-op
        School of Pharmacy that opened in 2009, was made possible through the
        investment and vision of the City of Kitchener, the Region of
        Waterloo, the provincial and federal governments, and the university.

    * Ground will break this fall for a new Stratford Campus focused on
        digital media, a joint project of the City of Stratford, corporate
        partners including Open Text, the university and the provincial and
        federal governments.

Inspiring the community through his vision of a "Knowledge Capital" that has raised the sights of Waterloo to aspire to world leadership.

    * In 2007, the City of Waterloo was recognized as the world's Top
        Intelligent Community by the Intelligent Communities Forum.

    * President Johnston's vision includes a community where universities
        are innovative leaders, healthy living standards rise, investments in
        research and development transform, smart infrastructure is
        developed, and social innovation is championed.

Championing experiential education and the university's co-operative education program, the largest of its kind in the world, which nurtures Waterloo's students' ideas and teaches them how their ideas are their most valuable offering in Canada's knowledge economy.

    * The William M. Tatham Centre for co-operative education and career
        services opened on the Waterloo campus in 2002, a building dedicated
        solely to supporting and growing the university's co-op program.

    * Half of Waterloo's undergraduate students are part of the co-op
        program, with 13,000 students matched with 3,000 employers world-

A presidential search was launched earlier this year to replace President Johnston, who had been scheduled to retire from Waterloo in June 2011.

In the interim, before his successor is chosen, the university's Policy 50 will be applied, which gives responsibility to the Board of Governors, in consultation with the vice-president, academic and provost and other senior university officers, to appoint an interim president to serve until the nominating committee has finished its work.

SOURCE University of Waterloo

For further information: For further information: Martin van Nierop, director, communications and public affairs, 519-591-8876 or; Michael Strickland, Waterloo media relations, 519-888-4777 or

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