Friday, July 9, 2010

  • David Johnston to be next Governor General
  • A checklist of achievements
  • In his own words
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

David Johnston to be the next Governor General

From a message to the university from Meg Beckel, vice-president, external relations

Yesterday, President Johnston informed the university leadership about his appointment as Governor General effective October 1, 2010. He noted that he will continue as uWaterloo president until September 30.

“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 says 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 and will count on all of you to ensure a smooth and vigorous transition to my successor.”

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.

Messages of praise have been pouring in. Here are a few:

Prem Watsa, University of Waterloo chancellor: "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.”

Mike Lazaridis, chancellor emeritus: "David 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, environment, 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."

Bob Harding, chair, University of Waterloo Board of Governors: "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. 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.”

Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada: “The Prime Minister has chosen a person of outstanding accomplishment, deep integrity, with a profound faith in Canada’s future. David Johnston has been tireless in promoting the values and institutions that build a strong society, and is a passionate champion for Canada.”

Alastair Summerlee, vice-chair of the Council of Ontario Universities and president and vice-chancellor of the University of Guelph: “David is an excellent choice for this role because of his constitutional expertise, his strong capacity for leadership and his ambassadorial skills. He has advanced higher education and research in this province and across the country, built university-industry partnerships that are now world-renowned, and adjudicated complex issues of national importance.”

Feridun Hamdullahpur, Waterloo's provost and vice-president academic: "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.”

The official announcement from the Prime Minister's Office is here.

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A checklist of achievements

from Meg Beckel's message

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.

  • Campaign Waterloo raised in excess of $500 million to support the university’s scholarship, students, and key building projects.
  • The Institute for Quantum Computing, a leading centre for development of ideas that may lead to a revolution in how we store and transmit information, was founded in 2002 and 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.
  • New research groups include 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 nearly tripled in the decade from $61 million in 1999 to $170 million in 2009.
  • Johnston has encouraged talent and ideas through VeloCity, the university’s unique “dormcubator” residence for student entrepreneurs, and the Accelerator Centre, a fertile environment for start-up high-tech firms developing new products and services.

He will be noted for 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 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.

He has inspired 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.

He has championed experiential education and the university’s co-operative education program, the largest of its kind in the world.

  • 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 wide.

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In his own words

David Johnston's message to the people of Canada

David JohnstonI am deeply honoured to be appointed as the next Governor General of Canada by Her Majesty the Queen, on the Prime Minister’s recommendation. I am humbled that they have entrusted me with this great responsibility.

My wife and I have always believed that service - whether it is to family, community, university, or country – is our highest calling. And so we are proud to have this opportunity to serve Canada and my fellow citizens. 

One of the great privileges of serving as Governor General will be the opportunity to meet with Canadians from coast to coast to coast. 

During my time at Waterloo and McGill I have had the good fortune to witness Canadians’ creativity and ingenuity, our strong ties to our communities and to the world, as well as our diversity and vitality. The opportunity to see these values at work across the country means a great deal to me. 

The office of the Governor General is an important institution and we will strive to meet Canadians’ expectations. 

As the representative of the Queen of Canada, who is our country’s head of state, I pledge to be a stalwart defender of our Canadian heritage, of Canadian institutions, and of the Canadian people. In particular, I look forward to meeting with the brave men and women of the Canadian Forces.

David Fischer in his book Champlain’s Dream writes about Samuel de Champlain, Canada’s first governor, that – and I quote:

“If nothing else, his life was a record of stamina with few equals. But always it was more than that. Champlain was a dreamer. He was a man of vision, and like most visionaries he dreamed of many things. Several scholars have written about his dream of finding a passage to China. Others have written of his dream for the colonization in New France.

"But all these visions were part of a larger dream that has not been studied. This war-weary soldier had a dream of humanity and peace in a world of cruelty and violence. He envisioned a new world as a place where people of different cultures could live together in amity and concord. This became his grand design for North America.”

From Samuel de Champlain to Michaëlle Jean, all my predecessors have set a fine example for me to follow. And so I will be working hard over the next few months to prepare for my roles and responsibilities.  

Thank you.

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One click away: news comments on the appointment

• Canada, your new Governor General is a rapper (watch his video here)

• The vice-regal suspense was killing us - Liveblogging the Governor General designate in the Senate Foyer

• Incoming governor general proud to serve Canadians

• David Johnston to be named Canada’s next governor-general

• Incoming GG vows to defend Canadian heritage

• A nice grey Governor-General

• UWaterloo president next Governor General

• Wife of next Governor General likes to write, but shuns the spotlight, say friends

• University of Waterloo President is Canada’s next Governor General (Jesse Rodgers’ blog)

• Academic David Johnston set to be next governor general

• Are We Economic Leaders? (Video clip on The National)

• Incoming GG vows to defend Canadian heritage (Global TV video clip of DJ’s post announcement speech)

• CBC news video

DJ on Twitter

#Johnston was a trending topic on Twitter last night. This means the announcement was one of the most talked-about topics in Canada on Twitter yesterday. Here are some of the tweets:

"First the Queen visits Waterloo, now David Johnston to be Canada's next GG -- feeling proud to be a #UWaterloo alum" • "Here's to Grandpa Book for GG" • "Awesome + hilarious that #Johnston is trending on #Twitter! Lots of #uWaterloo + #Canadian pride! :)" • "I'm sure at least 1/2 of the ppl going "wow" over David Johnston's GG appointment is strictly because of the #uwaterloo association."

Link of the day

The Elora Festival

When and where

Ring road closure between PAS building and Needles Hall has been extended to July 19.

Canadian Undergraduate Mathematics Conference hosted by Waterloo July 6-10. Details.

Intercountry Adoption Summit, September, Stratford: call for papers deadline July 9 (negotiable). Details.

The Astronaut Training Process, talk by astronaut candidate Erik Seedhouse, hosted by Waterloo Space Society, today, 5-6 p.m., PHY 145.

Image: annual photography show by the Waterloo Community Arts Centrecurated by Waterloo fine arts students, July 2-30 at the Button Factory, 25 Regina St. S., Waterloo. Opening reception today, 5-7 p.m., admission free.

St. Jacob's Farmer's Market student trip presented by Eco-Eats, Saturday, 9 a.m., meet at Davis Centre entrance facing Ring Road.

Pedestrian bridge over Laurel Creek at Health Services closed for repairs, July 12 to 16.

Class enrolment on Quest for fall term courses: students enrolling for the first time, July 12-25; open enrolment begins July 26.

Career workshop: “Business Etiquette and Professionalism” Tuesday, July 13, 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Golf Social sponsored by staff association, Tuesday, July 13, 4:00, Foxwood Country Club. Details.

Communitech Tech Leadership Conference 2010, Wednesday, July 14, Bingemans Conference Centre, Kitchener. Details.

Career workshop: “Success on the Job”  Wednesday, July 14, 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

StartupCamp Waterloo9 networking event Wednesday, July 14, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Boulevard.

Research and Technology Park charity golf tournament (4th annual) Thursday, July 15, Conestoga Golf Club. (Sold out.) Details.

Architecture lecture: Craig Dykers, Snøhetta architects, Norway, Thursday, July 15, 6:30 p.m., Design at Riverside gallery, Architecture building, Cambridge.

Engineering alumni golf tournament Friday, July 16, 4:00, Cambridge Golf Cluib, dinner follows, tickets $30 from Engineering Society office. Details.

University Choir spring concert Friday, July 16, 7:30 p.m., The Cedars, 543 Beechwood Drive, tickets $10 (students $8).

Beyond the Ring lecture series: Peter Smith, “Engineering to Leadership: An Accidental Journey” Monday, July 19, 1:30, Physics room 150.

Music student recital Thursday, July 22, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC  chapel, admission free.

Student Life 101 open house day for students entering in September, Saturday, July 24. Details.

PhD oral defences

Civil and environmental engineering. Kanwartej Sra, “Persulfate Persristence and Treatability of Gasoline Compounds.” Supervisors, Neil R. Thomson and Jim F. Barker. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, July 15, 2:00 p.m., Davis Centre room 1331.

Computer science. Loubna Mekouar, “Reputation-Based Trust Management in Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Systems.” Supervisor,  Raouf Boutaba. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Friday, July 16, 9:00 a.m., Davis Centre room 2314.

Economics. Mahdiyeh Entezarkheir, “Essays on Innovation, Patents, and Econometrics.” Supervisor, Lutz-Alexander Busch. On display in the faculty of arts, PAS 2434. Oral defence Monday, July 26, 11:00 a.m., Hagey Hall room 334.

Electrical and computer engineering. Akhilesh Kumar, “CAD Techniques for Robust FPGA Design Under Variability.” Supervisors, Mohab Anis and Karim Karim. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Wednesday, July 21, 2:00 p.m., Engineering II room 3324.

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