Class of 2009
Mike Lazaridis is known in the global wireless community as a visionary, innovator, and engineer of extraordinary talent. He traces his passion for his work to his hometown of Windsor, Ontario where his love of science and fascination with electronics were nurtured in supportive family and school environments.
As President and Co-CEO of Research In Motion (RIM), a company Mr. Lazaridis founded while a student at the University of Waterloo, he is responsible for product strategy, research and development, product development, and manufacturing.
Mr. Lazaridis is also a leader in his community and a passionate advocate for education and scientific research. He is a member of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Ontario Research and Innovation Council, and a Governor of the Information Technology Association of Canada. Mr. Lazaridis is also a long-standing member of the Board of Governors of the University of Waterloo and, in May 2003, was installed as its Chancellor.
Mr. Lazaridis supports his community and country through generous philanthropic gifts made possible by his success in business. He has donated $50 million to the University of Waterloo to help establish the Institute for Quantum Computing.
His most noted gift of $100 million established the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Mr. Lazaridis' leadership and tireless effort have generated more than $100 million in additional private and public sector funding for this world centre of excellence, based in Waterloo and affiliated with more than 30 Canadian universities. Since its opening in 2001, Perimeter has attracted the attention of the world's scientific community.
In recognition of his technical innovations, the University of Waterloo awarded Mr. Lazaridis with an honorary Doctor of Engineering in 2000 and McMaster University awarded him with an honorary Doctorate in 2005. In 2002, Mr. Lazaridis shared Canada's most prestigious innovation prize, The Ernest C. Manning Principal Award, with RIM colleague Gary Mousseau.
Like his engineering and scientific work, Mr. Lazaridis' community achievements have been widely recognized. He was named an Officer to the Order of Canada in 2006 and was listed on the TIME 100 List of Most Influential People in 2005. Mr. Lazaridis is a member of Maclean's Honour Role of distinguished Canadians, is a recipient of the 2002 Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce Community Leader of the Year Award and has been previously recognized as Canada's Nation Builder of the Year and Ontario's Entrepreneur of the Year.