The University of Waterloo has established itself as a center for innovation, entrepreneurial thinking and diversity. It is therefore fitting that Feridun Hamdullahpur has been re-appointed as the President and Vice-chancellor to serve for a second term. Like many of the students who come to Waterloo seeking a dynamic education, Hamdullahpur is constantly working to keep the university on the leading edge, just barely in balance. In particular Hamdullahpur has continued to be an active researcher, teacher and administrator, even living in student housing for a time just after becoming President. As an administrator, he is close to the issues that also affect the student body. While his academic research focuses on thermo-fluids and energy engineering, he also recognizes the importance of the lasting impact that education has outside the classroom.
Currently, in addition to being president of the University of Waterloo, Hamdullahpur also serves as chair of the U15 group of Canada’s research-intensive universities and vice-chair of the Waterloo Global Science Initiative. In 2015 he was appointed chair of the Leadership Council for Digital Infrastructure. Hamdullahpur was also proud to be appointed to the United Nation’s HeforShe Impact 10x10x10 campaign.
The fight for gender equality is one that Hamdullahpur understands firsthand, as he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Istanbul, and his PhD in chemical engineering from the Technical University of Nova Scotia. Since UW has a large focus on technical fields like math, science and engineering, establishing a strong positive message about gender equality is important, especially as students embark on co-ops. It was only a year into Hamdullahpur’s first term that Pearl Sullivan became UW’s first female dean of Engineering.
When I was applying to universities back in 2010-2011, the recruiters for Waterloo talked about how friendly and welcoming the [then] president David Johnston was. That tradition of openness, continues with Hamdullahpur often attending student events and participating in fun student videos. Personally, as I head off to apply what I have learned in the real world, I look forward watching the continued successes of Feridun Hamdullahpur and my alma mater.