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Wednesday, June 16, 1999

  • President and 100,000 grads
  • David Johnston, CC, heads UW
  • 'General' books for sale
  • Muscle behind your computer


An earlier handshake and welcome: Bonnie Oberle of the office of development and alumni affairs greets Johnston before his "Smart Communities" speech May 19, as outgoing president James Downey looks on.

President and 100,000 grads

David Johnston will be officially installed as the University of Waterloo's fifth president today, on the first day of the university's 78th convocation.

UW chancellor Val O'Donovan will conduct Johnston's installation as president (and "vice-chancellor") in accordance with university tradition and in front of a crowd of celebrities. Ian Clark, president of the Council of Ontario Universities, will "bring greetings" on behalf of other institutions, many of whose presidents will be on the platform in the Physical Activities Complex main gym for the ceremony.

Elizabeth Witmer, recently re-elected in Kitchener-Waterloo riding and serving as Ontario's minister of health at least until tomorrow's provincial cabinet shuffle, will also speak.

Later in this afternoon's convocation ceremony, 499 degrees will be awarded to students from the faculty of applied health sciences, the faculty of environmental studies, and the independent studies program. Alumni gold medal winners are Graham Slater (AHS) and Jenny Hughes (ES). Caroline Murphy, receiving a degree in health studies, will speak as valedictorian on behalf of the graduating class. Eric Haldenby, director of the school of architecture, will carry the university's silver mace.

The 78th convocation, being held in five sessions today through Saturday, will see 3,118 degrees awarded -- and that brings to more than 100,000 the number of people who have earned degrees from this university since the first diploma was awarded on June 18, 1960. The total will reach 100,688 alumni (with more than 110,000 degrees) by the end of Saturday. Authorities are deliberately not calculating who the 100,000th graduate will be.

David Johnston, CC, heads UW

[Order of Canada] The snowflake insignia in his lapel reveals that David Johnston is a Companion of the Order of Canada -- the highest rank of the order, awarded for important services to the nation.

Here's a brief biography of the new president, issued by UW's news bureau:

"Johnston, 57, a former principal of McGill University, assumed office June 1 for a six-year term, succeeding James Downey who has been UW's president since 1993. A professor of law, Johnston's research interests include securities regulation, corporation law, information technology and intellectual property law.

"UW's new president has enjoyed a 32-year career in Canadian universities assuming leadership roles at a young age and in circumstances of challenge and change.

"Johnston completed his university studies with distinction at three universities: Harvard, Cambridge and Queen's. After professorial appointments in the faculties of law at Queen's and Toronto, he moved in 1974 to the University of Western Ontario as dean of the faculty of law.

"In 1979, he accepted the appointment of principal of McGill University, an office he held for three terms until 1994. During his tenure, he initiated and succeeded in the most ambitious fund-raising exercise in McGill's history. He has been a particularly active scholar with emphasis on newly emerging and cross-disciplinary subjects.

"He has published 12 books and numerous public reports and scholarly articles. His first book was Computers and Law and his last Cyberlaw. Several years ago, he co-authored with his eldest daughter Debbie, a lawyer with the federal Department of Justice, Getting Canada Online: Understanding the Information Highway.

"On stepping down as principal, Johnston returned to the faculty of law and taught in the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law. He has published six books, three major government reports and a number of articles in these areas over the last five years.

Also happening today

Jeff Chisholm, president of the Bank of Montreal subsidiary mbanx, will speak at 11:30 today to Management Sciences 211, meeting in Davis Centre room 1351. Instructor Derek Chapman invited him to give a guest lecture on "electronic commerce, electronic business and leadership", noting that "having business leaders speak tao the students helps them see how the concepts learned in class are relevant to the business world."

Sporting friends of St. Jerome's University will tee off at 11:30 this morning at the Rockway Golf Club, as the college holds its fifth annual fund-raising golf tournament.

Colette Nevin of the graphics department will lead a seminar at noontime (12:00, Davis Centre room 1331) on "Graphics Visual Solutions: How to Get Started with Your Printing Projects". She'll touch on design services, budgeting, deadlines, printing terms, "and general tips on using our services". People who would like to attend can call ext. 6171 to register.

George Elliott Clarke, a UW graduate who was described just last week as "Nova Scotia's greatest living poet", will give "A Defense of Poetry" at 4:30 today in Humanities room 334. His visit is part of the English department's lecture series.

The Contemporary School of Dance has the Humanities Theatre booked for its spring performance, tonight at 7:00.

"Johnston has served on many provincial and federal task forces and private sector boards. In June 1998 he finished a term chairing Harvard University's Board of Overseers and in May 1999 completed terms chairing the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and the federal government's Blue Ribbon Panel on Smart Communities. He is Special Advisor to the Minister of Industry on information technology."

'General' books for sale

The UW bookstore is hoping for some extra business as convocation visitors browse for souvenirs and gifts. Usually closed on Saturdays in the summer, the bookstore (as well as the UW Shop and the Techworx outlet in South Campus Hall) will be open this Saturday from 10 to 4.

Perhaps some people think the bookstore sells only textbooks, but it has much more, says an explanation of the "general books" department provided recently by May Yan, UW's director of retail services.

"Our primary goals," she says, "are to provide for the university community a relevant and timely academic selection of titles for purchase, to provide efficient and friendly customer service to this end, and to provide students with useful academic support materials. Secondly, we aim to provide an informative and current selection of general interest titles to the community at large."

Some new sections are coming to the general books section of the store this fall, she says: French language literature and children's books; multimedia; Asian studies; Jewish studies.

And starting in the fall, a "focus program" will draw attention to a different section each month, "with an on-campus author event, relevant displays and remainder academic book sales. This program will begin in September 1999 with the focus on Reference."

Meanwhile, special events at the store continue through the summer:

Muscle behind your computer

A session at a work station is "truly an athletic event," says UW chiropractic resident Jeff Tuling. "It requires stamina and muscle endurance, as well as good physical form, good posture and good equipment," he told a group of UW staff and faculty at a recent seminar titled "Would you like to get rid of that pain in the neck?"

Approaching the computer as an athlete helps prevent "a lot of angst", he added, pointing to the pain that can develop from holding awkward, strained positions and performing repetitive movements.

A correction

The oncologist who will visit UW on Friday to speak about breast cancer is Brian Dingle, not "David Dingle" as I managed to say yesterday. Dingle, who is director of cancer care at the Grand River Hospital in Kitchener-Waterloo, will speak at 12 noon on Friday in Davis Centre room 1304. His talk is sponsored by the Employee Assistance Program.
Like any athlete, those who work at computers are more prone to injury if they are stressed, have poor posture, a poor diet or are not physically fit. And as for any athletic event, good equipment is a must, Tuling maintains. "The work station should be dedicated to your body," not shared by users of different sizes. To ensure your equipment is a good fit, ask UW safety coordinator Angelo Graham for an assessment, he advised.

To prevent painful muscle injury, Tuling told the group, keep moving. Get up and move around every 30 to 50 minutes, and do stretches consistently. Many of the stretches he recommends can be done at the work station and only take a few seconds each.

Finally, if pain develops, take it seriously, he advised, to prevent further injury. His recipe for relief is RAID:


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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