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TODAY: Prem Watsa talk at University of Waterloo


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Hopefully we see some journalists report on the event!



Prem Watsa gives UW talk on his guiding business principles


WATERLOO - Prem Watsa, one of Canada's most prominent business leaders, will discuss his guiding business principles during the University of Waterloo's Friends of the Library lecture and authors event next week.


Watsa, chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., will become UW's ninth chancellor on May 1. His talk, entitled Fair, Friendly Acquisitions ... The Fairfax Story, will take place Monday, April 20 at noon in the Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages building.


In his talk, Watsa will focus on the culture, guiding principles and values driving Fairfax, including its focus on people, ethical action and doing the right thing regardless of the outcome.


"This year's lecture will be an opportunity for the campus community and interested members of the public to witness the first-ever campus talk by the University of Waterloo's chancellor elect, Mr. Prem Watsa," said Mark Haslett, university librarian. "Attendees will also have the opportunity to appreciate the creative works of over 40 individuals from the UW community that will be showcased at the event."


Watsa was born in Hyderabad, India in 1950. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1971. He moved to Ontario the following year and later earned an MBA from the University of Western Ontario.

His professional career began at Confederation Life Insurance Co. in Toronto and he served as vice-president of Confederation Life Investment Counsel from 1974 to 1983. He then spent a year as vice-president of start-up firm GW Asset Management.


Watsa co-founded Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel Ltd. (now fully owned by Fairfax) in 1984. The next year he took control of Markel Financial Holdings Ltd.


In 1987, he re-organized Markel and renamed it Fairfax, which is short for fair and friendly acquisitions. The name reflects the company's guiding principles, which maintain that honesty and integrity are essential in all relationships and will never be compromised.


The annual public lecture and authors event, hosted by the university library, highlights the creative process and features a display of books, musical scores, photography and art produced by UW's faculty, staff, students and alumni.


Among the contributions are artistic pieces by Craig S. Kaplan, professor of computer science, and a fictional work by Don Ranney, retired professor of kinesiology.


The public is welcome to attend the talk, presented by the Friends of the Library.

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Jeff Stacey of Stacey Muirhead is on the board of trustees overseeing Waterloo's endowment fund.  Jeff has been a long-time shareholder in Fairfax...many, many years through the good times and bad.  So there are two value guys at Waterloo now!  Cheers!

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