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Friday, October 31, 2014



  • Reflections on a fine, full fall term
  • United Way: there's still time to contribute
  • It's Library Day today
  • Open House this weekend is over 9,000



Reflections on a fine, full fall term

by Feridun Hamdullahpur, President & Vice-Chancellor.

Feridun Hamdullahpur.It’s hard to believe that the 2014-2015 fall term is already at the half way mark!

So far, it has been a very full semester, and every effort has been more than worth it.

Evidence of the University of Waterloo’s growing momentum is mounting, with some excellent rankings results over the past two weeks, including from Research Infosource and Maclean's. Going forward, I’ll look for an opportunity to spend some more time discussing rankings in my month-end column so we can take a fuller picture of Waterloo’s rankings performance both nationally and internationally. Suffice it to say, I join our entire university community in being extremely pleased with these two major Canadian ranking results.

Many of you will know that yesterday we held our first annual President’s Town Hall – a revisioning and reformatting of our traditional University of Waterloo townhalls. It was great seeing so many members of our campus community and to engage in a great conversation. Thanks to the hundreds of you who came out in-person and via webcast.

I previewed another ‘first’ for the University of Waterloo at yesterday’s Town Hall, as well: our inaugural State of the University report.

This report, currently being finalized and printed, is an excellent encapsulation of some of Waterloo’s accomplishments and progress over the last year. As I mentioned yesterday, the full release of the State of the University report will be accomplished in November and early December. When the enriched digital version is made available online, I will send a note to all students, faculty, and staff so you can visit the site and see the report for yourself.

It comes at an opportune time: this new report is exactly the kind of thing I need when my administration colleagues and I travel overseas on university business.

This past month we visited both the U.K. and France, for engagements with the Russell Group of prestigious British universities, and so that I could participate in my first meeting with the Strategy Committee of the Sorbonne. Soon, I’ll be wheels-up for a significant swing through east Asia, where my colleagues and I will engage with many current and future research partners. Also, I am looking forward to attending some excellent events we’ve got planned with our alumni chapters in Hong Kong and Korea and with our friends and partners in Singapore.

There were important celebrations happening on campus this month that were very important as well.

Last weekend we congratulated all of our new alumni at Convocation —  a very proud moment for me, as well as for our out-going Chancellor, Mr. Prem Watsa, and for our entire community.

As we say “see you soon” to so many remarkable Waterloo grads, we wish them the best of luck on their future endeavors, and can only hope that their accomplishments outside of these walls will mirror the incredible achievements that they experienced within them.

It was also my pleasure this month to celebrate another important segment of our University of Waterloo family – our generous financial supporters and volunteer leaders. On Tuesday the 28th I welcomed close to 300 of our supporters to the University of Waterloo’s annual President’s Reception, to thank each attendee for their vision, generosity, and partnership. I know you share in my gratitude for their ongoing support for our university.

Finally, let me touch on the terrible events that transpired in Ottawa on October 22.

As I said in my open memo to the University of Waterloo community, Waterloo maintains a vast network of co-operative education students, co-op employers, partners and stakeholders in the National Capital Region. Our first action was to reach out to all co-op students to secure their safety, and I thank our co-op advisors serving students in the Ottawa area for their diligence and extra efforts over the last two weeks.

It is in moments like this when our every-day work acquires a deeper meaning.

Whether advancing research for the benefit of all, teaching next-generation leaders in the lab or classroom, or acquiring the knowledge and skills in the pursuit of career success – this month, we recall the significance and value of these activities, and remain grateful for the opportunity to pursue them in a great and free country like Canada.

Yours sincerely and with best wishes,



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Office of Advancement celebrating “Jersday Thursday” in support of the United Way campaign and showing their Warrior pride.
United Way: there's still time to contribute

The University of Waterloo's United Way campaign is closing in on its $250,000 goal, and there's still time to contribute before the contest officially winds down today.

Members of the University community have been enthusiastically participating in the month-long campaign, organizing bake sales, BBQs, casual dress days, and, in the case of Advancement (pictured above), doing "Jersey Thursdays" all month as part of their fundraising. For the last Jersey Thursday, they threw on some Warrior jerseys to show off their Waterloo pride.

To put the campaign in perspective: When you donate a dollar to the University of Waterloo United Way Campaign, you help feed a homeless person in the area. With a $63 donation, you send a senior citizen a few hours of support three days a week. A $100 donation puts a child into a mentorship program that strengthens his or her social skills for one year.

No matter how small or large the amount you choose to give, it makes a difference. Each year, the United Way Kitchener Waterloo and Area improves the lives of thousands of local residents.

"So far, nearly $200,000 has been raised. Make a one time contribution, or sign up for monthly payroll deductions," writes Jacqueline Martinz. "Together, we can create positive change."

More information about how to donate is available online.


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Halloween-themed Library Day banner.
It's Library Day today

The Library is inviting members of the University community to its annual Library Day celebration today from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Feel free to stop by any of the Library's locations for refreshments, to say hello to library staff, and take part in the day's activities.

"Library Day is an annual event that celebrates your connection to the Library," writes Rose Koebel. "It’s the Library’s chance to show its appreciation for students, faculty, and staff at Waterloo. Come and celebrate the role that the Library has in your learning, teaching, and research!"

Library Day activities include refreshments including hot apple cider, apples cookies, and more, and a Halloween-themed Digital Photo Booth, where you can capture you and your friends against a Halloween-inspired backdrop in the Davis Centre Library. Props will be provided to help create a fun photo.

Library Day is organized by the Library Outreach Committee.


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Open House this weekend is over 9,000

Thousands of prospective university students and their families can learn about campus life at the University of Waterloo during an all-day event on Saturday, November 1.

More than 9,000 visitors are expected at the Fall Open House — mostly on the main campus, with some at Waterloo's School of Architecture in Cambridge, the School of Pharmacy in Kitchener, and the Stratford Campus in, well, Stratford.

The day showcases Waterloo's academic strengths through program and faculty specific sessions, and highlights our world-leading co-op program, student life, and leadership opportunities. Future students are encouraged to take a guided tour of the campus with a current Student Ambassador, checking out the residences and other buildings where they will be spending their time as a student.

The open house runs from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with tours starting from the Student Life Centre. Information booths will be open all day long and faculties will offer more detailed academic presentations. 

Other notes as October draws to a close:

It's Hallowe'en! If you or your colleagues dressed up or decorated your workspace in celebration of Samhain spookiness, feel free to send me a picture of the results.

Today is also the annual Trick or Eat event organized by the Federation of Students. Trick or Eat is an annual event, held on Halloween as a of the national event put on by Meal Exchange. Teams in costumes will go door-to-door collecting non-perishable food donations instead of candy for the Feds Student Food Bank and The Food Bank of Waterloo Region.

Looking ahead, tomorrow marks the beginning of Movember. Are you participating in the event, either as an individual or as a team? Let me know and I'll post a link to your fundraising page. Professor Josh Neufeld of Biology, for example, is actively recruiting members for the Waterloo Science Movember team.

Here are the final Get Up and Go Passport Challenge clues:

  • Helps provide students with a roof over their heads
  • Helps employees return to work so visit here last  

Here's a note from the Passport Challenge Committee:

"Hello Passport Challengers,

Please plan to attend the prize presentation on Monday, November 3, 2014 at 12 noon on the third floor of Needles Hall in the Patio Area. Meet your competitors and be the first to hear about the next healthy challenge. We are looking forward to meeting you all as we celebrate the winners and the dark horses."


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Link of the day

In the spirit of Hallowe'en: Margot's Room

When and where

Waterloo International Halloween Bake Sale, Friday, October 31, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Needles Hall.

Library Day, Friday, October 31, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., all participating Library locations (DP, DC, WLRC, Musagetes)

Biology Seminar Series featuring Turlough Finan, Department of Biology, McMaster University," Functional and evolutionary insights gained by reducing a complex bacterial genome by half," Friday, October 31, 2:30 p.m. QNC 1501.

Chemical Engineering Seminar, Kathryn Mumford, lecturer, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Melbourne, “Separation Processes – Soil Remediation and Air Pollution Control.” Friday, October 31, 2:30 p.m., E6 2024.

Knowledge Integration seminar: “Summer off? No – summer on!” Friday October 31, 2:30 p.m., Environment 3 (EV3), room 1408. Details.

Trick or Eat, Friday, October 31, 4:00 p.m., SLC Lower Atrium. Details.

Fall Open House, Saturday, November 1, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Details.

Successful Aging seminar featuring Dr. Lynn Hasher, University of Toronto, Monday, November 3, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., DWE 3522.

Retirement celebration for Ray Butterworth, Monday, November 3, 3:30 p.m., DC 1301. Grad House green room.

Optometry & Vision Science Class of 2018 White Coat Ceremony, Monday, November 3, 6:00 p.m., Location TBA. Details.

2014 Hagey Lecture featuring Professor Sir Michael Marmot, "Fair Society, Healthy Lives," Monday, November 3, 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, Hagey Hall.

Arts Major Showcase, Tuesday, November 4, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Velocity Science Brainstorming Session, Tuesday, November 4, 7:30 p.m., EV3 4408.

Conrad Grebel Concert, "Progressive Jazz and Recent Compositions" featuring Glenn Buhr on piano, Wednesday, November 5, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy Public Lecture Series featuring Graham Campbell, President, Energy Council of Canada, "Transformations Across the Energy Sector: Past, Present and Future," Wednesday, November 5, 5:00 p.m., QNC 1501. Details.

Velocity Alpha Pitch Like a Pro workshop featuring Bjorn Dawson, Founder and CEO of Grobo Inc., and Mike Kirkup, Director of Velocity, Wednesday, November 5, 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., EV3 4412.

10th annual UWSA Shopping Trip Weekend, Friday, November 7 to Sunday, November 9, Erie, Pennsylvania. Details.

PeaceQuest: Remembering for Peace featuring Jamie Swift, co-author, Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in an Age of Anxiety, Monday, November 10, 7:00 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College chapel. Details.

Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology Visionary Lecture Series seminar featuring Suneet Singh Tull, "The Next 3 Billion." Tuesday, November 11, 2:30 p.m., DC 1302. Details.

UWaterloo 3D Print Centre launch event, Tuesday, November 11, 2:30 p.m., E5 2004.

Waterloo Unlimited Grade 12 Road Map to Research, Wednesday, November 12 to Friday, November 14. Details.

Keystone Campaign presents Bridges to Prosperity, Wednesday, November 12, 12:00 p.m., DC1302. Details.

Conrad Grebel Concert, "Sanctuary in Song" featuring Daniel Cabena, countertenor, Stephen Runge, piano, Wednesday, November 12, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

Propel Centre for Population Health Impact and CHNET-Works! present Influencing Youth: Flavoured Tobacco webinar, Wednesday, November 12, 1:00 p.m. Details.

Velocity Fund $5K Qualifier Night 1, Wednesday, November 12, 7:00 p.m., QNC 0101.

Park and Veva Reilly Distinguished Seminar featuring Michael Pyne, Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Waterloo, “Genetic and Metabolic Engineering of Clostridium Pasteurianum for Production of Butanol as a Renewable Biofuel,” Thursday, November 13, 3:30 p.m., E6-2024.

Drama and Speech Communication presents The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, directed by Stewart Arnott, Thursday, November 13 to Saturday, November 15, 7:30  p.m., Theatre of the Arts, ML. Tickets are $17 general, $13 students/seniors. Box Office - 519-888-4908. Details.

Pilgrimage and Sacred Space: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives – Places of Pilgrimage, Saturday, November 15, 2:00-5:00 p.m., Dunker Family Lounge, Renison University College. Details

East Asian Festival – 20th Anniversary Gala, Saturday, November 15, 6:00 p.m., Alpine Club Kitchener. Tickets are $75. Details.

Conrad Grebel Concert, "The Madawaska Ensemble plays Brahms," Wednesday, November 19, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

International Education Week, Sunday, November 16 to Saturday, November 22, various locations on campus.

Velocity Fund $5K Qualifier Night 2, Tuesday, November 18, 7:30 p.m., EV3 4408.

Velocity Science Talk featuring Ryan Gerakopulos, founder of NanoQuan Inc., Tuesday, November 18, 7:30 p.m., EV3 4412. Details.

WE Innovate, Wednesday, November 19, 1:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Engineering 5. Details.

SI Speaker Series: Computer-based design of Islamic geometric patterns, Wednesday, November 19, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Dunker Family Lounge, Renison University College. Details.


PhD Oral Defences

Psychology. Vanessa Huyder, "Learning to Co-operate: The Impact of Executive Functioning, Theory of Mind and Externalizing Behaviours on Children's Social Functioning." Supervisor, Elizabeth Nilsen. On deposit in the Arts Graduate Office, PAS 2428. Oral defence Monday, November 3, 1:00 p.m., PAS 3026.

Systems Design Engineering. Rami Kinsara, "Negotiations Support System With Third Party Intervention." Supervisors, Keith Hipel, Marc Kilgour. On deposit in the Engineering Graduate Office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, November 4, 9:30 a.m., E5 6111.

Kinesiology. Christina Popovich, "Investigating the attentional Effects of Acute Aerobic Exercise and Crossmodal Processing on the Modulation of Frontoparietal Interactions." Supervisor, Richard Staines. On display in the Faculty of Applied Health Science, BMH 3110. Oral defence Wednesday, November 5, 2:30 p.m., BMH 3119.

Computer Science. Daniel Rasmussen, "Hierarchical reinforcement learning in a biologically plausible neural architecture." Supervisor, Chris Eliasmith. On display in the Mathematics Graduate Office, MC 5112. Oral defence Tuesday, November 11, 9:00 a.m., DC 2314.


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