Vivek Goel installed as UW’s president

Presidential installation, Photography by Ahlam Ibrahim

On Nov. 8, Vivek Goel was installed as the seventh president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo. 

Goel is a distinguished physician, researcher and academic who was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada in December 2020 in recognition of his career-long commitment to public health and the valuable contributions he made to the Canadian government’s COVID-19 strategy. 

Goel has previously served as the founding president and CEO of Public Health Ontario and has held a number of senior leadership roles at the University of Toronto, including as vice-president and provost and as vice-president research and innovation.

The installation, which was attended virtually and in-person in Engineering 7, came three months into Goel’s tenure, which began on July 1, 2021, when he succeeded former president Feridun Hamdullahpur. 

The ceremony began with a Unity Song performed by John Somosi, a Métis Knowledge Keeper, drum-maker, and singer. Jean Becker, the associate vice-president, Indigenous relations at UW shared an Indigenous Welcome. 

Messages of congratulations were offered by Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario; Paul Davidson, the president and CEO of Universities Canada and Goldy Hyder, the president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada. 

Goel began his address by thanking those who came before him. “It is an enormous privilege to be here with you today to be installed as the University of Waterloo’s seventh president and vice-chancellor. I am humbled and honored to now carry the mantle previously worn by such an esteemed group of predecessors.” 

In his address, Goel spoke about the university’s history and its purpose going forward, including the contributions he hopes UW will make to creating a more equitable and sustainable post-pandemic world. “As we look to build back after so much disruption, universities are and will continue to play an important role in economic recovery and ensuring society is more resilient in the future,” he said. 

“We must continue to build on our successes in innovation and entrepreneurship. We need to work to ensure that our entrepreneurs can build enterprises that benefit us all. We also can embed the spirit of innovation in the minds of our graduates, wherever they go,” he added. 

In closing, Goel emphasized his desire to continue the legacy of those who came before him and reaffirmed his commitment to the university going forward. “I am grateful for the opportunity to join your community and to continue the legacy of those who came before me. I am honoured to join you all to build on our unique strengths, and as we take the University of Waterloo into bold new futures.”