Pearl Sullivan passes away peacefully Saturday morning at Grand River Hospital, surrounded by those she loved most.

Dear Colleagues,

It is with a very heavy heart that I must share with you that Pearl passed away peacefully Saturday morning at Grand River Hospital. She was surrounded by those she loved most, her loving husband Tom, her son Michael and two devoted daughters Veronica and Christina. Pearl was a true embodiment of all that is good, those who are good pass in peace.

Pearl was the first female dean of Waterloo engineering, serving from 2012 to December 2019, after serving as Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering from 2006 to 2011.

As dean she established many research and scholarship programs. Her passion was in supporting students to ensure they had a full understanding of engineering principles. She proudly created and lead our very successful Educating the Engineer of the Future Campaign that ensured the successful opening of Engineering 7(E7) in 2018. She worked hard to ensure the space was particularly designed to provide unique spaces for students and engineering research.

Pearl was known for her hardworking and enthusiastic approach to taking on every potential opportunity that could serve students and faculty. She expanded the potential for Waterloo Engineering’s industry collaboration and government support in key areas of engineering research. She championed the Faculty’s research work in disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing, nanotechnology, robotics and wireless communications.

As the fourth women across Canada to lead an engineering faculty, Pearl prided herself in being a strong voice for women and in ensuring full diversity and inclusion in the discipline. She was also a strong advocate for entrepreneurship and she both elevated and championed our entrepreneurial students and alumni.

As she took on every challenge, she faced her 12 year battle with cancer as a warrior. 


A message from Dean Mary Wells, Faculty of Engineering, University of Waterloo