From the latest edition of IMPRINT (Waterloo's student paper)
Microsoft sends us "the Bill"
Bill Gates to make UW his only Canadian stop in North American tour
Ashley Csanady - staff reporter
Bill Gates will be returning to UW on the morning of February 21 to address students in the Humanities Theatre. Much like his first visit in 2005, this is the only Canadian stop on a North American university speaking tour.
The multi-billionaire and co-founder of Microsoft will be speaking to students primarily from math, CS, and engineering about the role that innovation will play in driving the new economy. As well as the roles and opportunities for students who are enrolled in those fields in shaping that innovation.
Students will also get “a behind closed doors look at some of the innovation currently being developed,” said director of corporate communications and public relations for Microsoft Canada Cynthia Keeshan. These will be examples of the type of innovation that Gates will be discussing and the result of Microsoft’s $7 billion US research and development department.
Although the event is being touted as his “farewell tour” by everyone from university bigwigs to an article in The Record on Friday, February 8, Keeshan clarified that this is certainly not the case.
The misleading headline of The Record article, “Bill Gates to include UW in ‘farewell tour,’” was based on an interview with UW president Johnston. He is quoted in the article as saying, “This is his farewell tour.” Where did this confusion come from? According to Michael Strickland, from UW’s communications and public affairs department, the misunderstanding stemmed from initial talks regarding Gates’ visit. Apparently, at the outset, the talk had been considered part of a final round of speaking tours, but as Gates is staying on as Microsoft CEO, it is hoped and believed he will continue speaking with students over the coming years.
Although Gates announced his retirement from the position of chief software architect for Microsoft last June, Keeshan said that he will still be staying on in his role at chief executive officer of the corporation.
She also said, however, that Gates does plan to “focus a little bit more of his attention towards some of the work he is doing with his foundation.”
“The University of Waterloo and Microsoft have always had a relationship,” said Keeshan when asked why UW was, once again, the only Canadian stop. She added that it’s also one of the top academic institutions from which Microsoft recruits, as UW has a reputation for producing some of the top graduates in CS and math.
When asked whether Gates would be furthering those recruitment efforts through his speech, Keeshan replied, “Microsoft is a company very driven by innovation [... Gates would] love to bring talent to the company to further that agenda.
She clarified, however, that Gates’ speech is “really about the power of innovation to have an impact on our society and our economy.”
Tickets will be distributed through the various faculty societies. Math, engineering, and CS have been allotted 100 tickets each, while ES, science, AHS, and arts have 25 tickets each. The CS tickets will be distributed through the computer science club as CS is a subset of the math faculty.