William Pristanski represented the Board of Governors at the official federal government funding announcement of $32.6 million by Minister Bardish Chagger for the construction of Engineering 7 at the University of Waterloo.
“I’m confident that this new facility will lead to discoveries that will bring significant benefits to our country,” said Chagger, the Waterloo MP who serves as both Government House Leader and the Minister of Small Business and Tourism.
There was no federal commitment in place when a decision was made to proceed with the state-of-the-art, $88-million building to accommodate more students, hands-on learning spaces and research on disruptive technologies including machine intelligence, mobile robotics, autonomous vehicles and wearable biomedical devices.
But with a few hundred people looking on during the announcement at the Sedra Student Design Centre in Engineering 5, University of Waterloo President and Vice-Chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur said that approach was perfectly in keeping with the University’s 60-year history of risk-taking, innovation and doing things differently.
“We didn’t want to wait,” he said, joking that he and Dean of Engineering Pearl Sullivan discussed bake sales and bottle drives as a backup plan. “We started building it with or without money.”
This was an important gathering to kick-off the university’s celebration of its sixtieth anniversary.
For a quarter century, the U of W has been known as Canada’s most innovative university and as one of the most unconventional and entrepreneurial universities anywhere. This is because Waterloo has been different from the start. And from its founding, Waterloo has always believed that it has a mandate to help lead Canada – and the world – into the future.
Waterloo is an international leader in disruptive technologies and areas of social impact including quantum, operational AI (artificial intelligence), water security and sustainability, and connected vehicle technology.
Prior to the Engineering 7 funding announcement, Bill Pristanski attended the weekly bannock and soup lunch at St. Paul’s University College with president Feridan Hamdullahpur, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, and St. Paul’s Principal Dr. Richard Myers. This is a weekly celebration of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples open to the entire university community.
William Pristanski graduated from the University of Waterloo in 1978 with an Honours (Co-op) Bachelor of Mathematics with a double major in Computer Science and Statistics and a minor in Business Administration. He was first elected to the Board of Governors in 2015 and was an alumni representative on the University Senate from 1980 to 1982.