Waterloo Notable Alumni
May-Ann Olazo - January 1st, 2023
As one of Canada’s leading universities, Waterloo is proud to count many successful alumni among its ranks. Here are ten of our most notable graduates:
Mike Lazaridis is the founder of BlackBerry and the co-founder of the Quantum Valley Investments Fund. He attended the University of Waterloo, where he received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1984. In 1999, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the university. In addition to his work in the tech industry, Lazaridis is a generous philanthropist who has donated millions of dollars to support science and education.
Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple Computer, studied electrical engineering at the University of Waterloo. Wozniak designed and built the first Apple computers, which were based on the microprocessor chips made by Motorola. Apple’s success propelled Wozniak to become one of the richest men in Silicon Valley. In 2014, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Waterloo.
Bryan Adams graduated from Waterloo with a degree in Environmental Studies and went on to have an extremely successful career as a musician and photographer. He has released 14 albums, many of which have achieved multi-platinum status, and has won numerous awards, including a Grammy and several JUNO Awards. In addition to his musical achievements, Adams is also an acclaimed photographer, with his work being featured in magazines such as Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair.
Waterloo alumnus Doug Cutting has had a hand in developing some of the most popular and impactful technologies of our time. As the creator of Apache Hadoop, he has helped to revolutionize the way that businesses handle big data. His work has also been instrumental in improving search engine indexing and machine learning. In recognition of his accomplishments, Cutting was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2013. Today, he continues to lead the charge in big data innovation as the CEO of Cloudera.
After he graduated from the university, David Chilton started working on Wall Street. After a few years, he decided to leave the financial world and start his own business. In addition to his business ventures, David is also an author. He has written several best-selling books, including “The Wealthy Barber” and “The Intelligent Investor.” His books have helped to educate people about finance and investing.
Cyd Ho has established an impressive legacy as a graduate of the University of Waterloo. After graduating from their prestigious engineering program, Cyd went on to become a successful business executive and public servant. She held notable roles in the non-profit sector, before being appointed as the Minister for Broadcasting and Culture in 2017. Ever since her appointment, CydHo has been dedicated to supporting Haiti’s education system and empowering young women through programs focused on STEM education. Her groundbreaking achievements have earned her multiple awards, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award. As an outstanding and devoted alumni, Cyd Ho stands out as a shining example and inspiration for generations of professionals to come.
Chamath Palihapitiya is undoubtedly one of the University of Waterloo’s most notable alumni. After receiving his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering in 2000, he went on to become venture capitalist and technologist extraordinaire. He is the founder and CEO of Social Capital, a leading venture capital firm that invests in disruptive technology startups such as Slack and Box. But beyond his role as a venture capitalist, he has made waves on the tech scene as an innovator and disruptor. His past employers include Amazon, AOL, E-Trade Financial Corporation and Facebook; where he was deemed one of the pioneers credited with developing the company’s advertising system. Palihapitiya’s career success serves as evidence for students aspiring to enter any industry: leverage your education from University of Waterloo to translate your ideas into something innovative.
George Clarke Elliott is a notable alumni of the University of Waterloo whose legacy has made tremendous impact on the school and its surrounding communities. Elliot graduated from the Mathematics and Computing program in 1967 when the university was still known as Waterloo College, before going on to have an illustrious career that spanned 40 years. He began as a professor of mathematics before entering a prominent role at Seagate Technology, where he was responsible for electronic engineering, product design and development, software engineering, and overseas manufacturing. His decades of hard work resulted in over 175 patents being issued with his name as inventor or coinventor. The University of Waterloo recognizes him as an exemplary alumnus who stands out through their technological achievements.
Stephanie Morgenstern is a Canadian writer, director, and producer best known for her work on The Borgias, ReBoot, and Intelligence. She graduated from the University of Waterloo with a degree in English Literature. Morgenstern has been extremely successful in Hollywood, where she has worked on some of the most popular television shows of the last decade. Her work on The Borgias earned her a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, and she has also been nominated for three Canadian Screen Awards.
Kevin O’Leary is a University of Waterloo notable alumni who has become a well-known persona in the business world. After graduating in 1977 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree, Kevin first began his career working as a producer for the CBC. Subsequently, he moved into the financial services industry and started an education software company called The Learning Company. It was purchased by Mattel in 1998, making O’Leary one of the wealthiest people in Canada. In 2003, he made his first appearance on CBC’s reality series ‘Dragons’ Den’ and achieved success as a venture capitalist. Today, Kevin continues to invest in other companies and appears on various television programs as avidly to share his wealth of knowledge. He remains an inspirational figure for future University of Waterloo students who aspire to follow his footsteps and make their mark within Canada’s business sector.
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