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Wednesday, June 11, 2003

  • Chancellor faces his first convocation
  • $4 million to expand health institute
  • Loud crowd greets Palestine speaker
  • Grad townhouses under construction
  • Exhibition shows genes and journeys
Chris Redmond

Canadian cities in the summer


Chancellor faces his first convocation

Business executive and philanthropist Mike Lazaridis takes on a new role today, as he will be installed as UW's chancellor at the first session of the Eighty-Sixth Convocation.

Ceremonies start at 2 p.m. in the Physical Activities Complex. After the installation ritual, and a speech from Lazaridis, today's convocation will see degrees awarded from environmental studies, applied health sciences, and independent studies.

Ron McCarville, of the department of recreation and leisure studies, will be receiving a Distinguished Teacher Award at today's convocation. Gold medals will go to two top-ranking students: Kimberley Kent (kinesiology, AHS) and Wesley John Andreas (geography, ES). And Adrienne Hol, receiving a degree in kinesiology, will speak as valedictorian for the graduating class.

Lazaridis is founder, president and co-chief executive officer of Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM), was an engineering undergraduate at UW, now holds an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree, is well known as an advocate for education, and made what was described as Canada's biggest-ever charitable gift to launch the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics two years ago.

Cambridge industrialist Val O'Donovan, who ended his term as chancellor on April 30, will be invested today with the title of chancellor emeritus.

Convocation continues all this week, with a session for arts tomorrow afternoon, science on Friday, math on Saturday morning and engineering on Saturday afternoon.

$4 million to expand health institute -- from the UW media relations office

Four years after funding the launch of an innovative UW institute aimed at encouraging healthier lifestyles in Canada, local business leader Lyle Hallman has donated $4 million to expand the facility.

The donation will help pay for a new $4.25-million addition to the Lyle S. Hallman Institute for Health Promotion, which is based in UW's Faculty of Applied Health Sciences (AHS). The two-storey addition at the north end of B. C. Matthews Hall will provide a floor area of about 14,500 square feet with structural capacity for a third floor. The addition will be ready by the fall of 2004.

"Lyle Hallman is one of this community's greatest benefactors and we are profoundly thankful to him for this generous gift," said UW president David Johnston at a ceremony yesterday marking the gift.

[Shaking hands beside the spades]

Donor Lyle Hallman with AHS dean Mike Sharratt at yesterday's ground-breaking event.

"Health is one of society's major preoccupations and Waterloo has established a strong presence in the area of healthy life enhancement. The donation will strengthen our teaching and research and extend the scope of our outreach programs in the community."

Hallman said: "It's important to provide good health care, but people also need to learn to take care of themselves and prevent disease from developing in the first place. Many of the programs and research going on in UW's faculty of applied health sciences are focused on how people can stay active and healthy."

The expansion will provide space for the growing Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation -- the behavioural research arm of the Canadian Cancer Society. The space will also accommodate the Health Behaviour Research Group, currently located in the Math and Computer building. When a third floor is erected, it will house UW's proposed Institute for Health Informatics Research, as well as research modules for the departments in AHS.

In February 1999, Hallman donated $1.5 million to launch the Lyle S. Hallman Institute for Health Promotion and $1-million for the Lyle S. Hallman Professor in Health Promotion. "Both the institute and professorship," says a UW news release, "tie in with the mandate of AHS, a leader in developing effective strategies for health promotion and graduating students skilled in helping Canadians change their lifestyles."

Loud crowd greets Palestine speaker

There were shouts, tears, cheers and picket signs last night as pro-Palestinian academic Norman Finkelstein spoke in the Theatre of the Arts. He lectured for an hour and a half, then answered questions for another 90 minutes, before a capacity crowd of some 500 people (with at least 40 more outside who couldn't get in).

Comments on 'uwstudent.org
Most audience members seemed to be pro-Palestinian and gave Finkelstein frequent applause for his calls for "a just and lasting solution" on behalf of the Palestinian people. But others were pro-Israeli and challenged his controversial views. At least one Jewish group had come from Toronto to challenge Finkelstein, and some local listeners were also angry at what they heard.

The talk was the headline item of Palestine Week, which continues today with displays in the Student Life Centre and a closing speaker at 7:00 tonight in Davis Centre room 1302.

At times last night there were heated exchanges between Finkelstein and members of the audience, as emotions ran high, with frequent shouts and angry comments from the audience. But there was no violence. There was a visible presence from the UW police.

During the event and outside it, a few people questioned why a speaker like Finkelstein -- a DePaul University professor who is the author of The Holocaust Industry -- was allowed to be at Waterloo. Others defended his right to come and speak in a free university.

Other notes today

Psychologist Christopher Lane speaks today on "Performance Enhancement issues and techniques, including determining one's 'optimal state', methods to increase motivation, decrease anxiety, refocus, and relax". The talk, sponsored by the Employee Assistance Program, starts at 12 non in Davis Centre room 1302.

"Remember You Must Die", the second lecture in a series on human aging by visiting professor Christine Overall, is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Humanities room 373. . . . Career services seminars today deal with "Letter Writing" and "Resumé Writing". . . . A group from the UW retirees association is off to Grand Bend today to see "Big River" at the Huron Country Playhouse. . . .

Today is the last day of operation for TechWorx in the Student Life Centre, which will close for renovations tomorrow in preparation for its merger with the Computer Store. "We expect the work to take four weeks," says Noemia Ellis, marketing manager for retail services.

Tomorrow brings a members-only "open board meeting" of the UW faculty association to talk about salary negotiations. It starts at 10:30 in Math and Computer room 2066.

And . . . the final exam schedule for the spring term is now available on the web.

Grad townhouses under construction -- by Barbara Elve, from today's Gazette

Work has begun on the North Campus to create a housing enclave for graduate students and their dependents. Phase one of the new 300-unit townhouse project will provide 90 two-bedroom apartments by January 2004, with the balance phased in over the next two years.

Over the next few years, single grad students will be offered accommodation in the existing four-bedroom units at Columbia Lake Townhouses, while those with live-in dependents will be housed in the new units being developed just to the north along the Westmount Road extension.

Both groups will share the newly expanded CLT community centre, and a residence life program will be initiated to support the entire complex. While the campus is more of a hike for Columbia Lake students, admits UW director of business affairs Bud Walker, residents will be "close to shopping, schools and the pals the children go to school with."

The new townhouse units -- as yet, unnamed -- will provide three floors of living space, including two bedrooms, one and a half baths, a large study space in the finished basement (with washer, dryer and storage facilities), and appliances. The target rent is expected to be $800 per month, plus utilities -- a rate "equitable with the market," says Walker, where comparable units rent for between $900 and $1,000 per month.

The complex will provide parking, play space and "park-like areas", he adds, and a reconstructed intersection with traffic lights at Westmount and Columbia will allow safer access to the main campus.

Site preparation is currently underway by the developer, Reid's Heritage Group of Cambridge. "Just like any other UW residence, it will be owned, operated and occupied by the university," says Walker. The difference: Reid's will cover financing of the project, with UW entering into a 49-year agreement with "a rolling termination clause." Under the deal, the university will pay Reid's a monthly per-unit cost for development and construction of the project.

"It's the first time the university has entered into such an agreement," explains Walker, noting the arrangement "allows us to avoid adding the capital amount to our financial commitments. It can also limit our obligation to pay the whole amount off . . . if we decide, for whatever reason that we don't need the complex -- if, in five years from now, we dropped from 20,000 to 15,000 students -- it could be used for something else."

Letters went out this spring to residents at UW Place, along University Avenue at the other end of the campus, informing them of the development of grad student housing at Columbia Lake and the subsequent changes at UW Place. "As each townhouse phase is completed, a UW Place court will be closed and converted into an undergraduate student residence," the letter explains. "Wilmot Court will be the first court taken off line and will close December 31, 2003. Woolwich and Waterloo Courts will follow in turn, with Woolwich scheduled to go off line December 31, 2004, and Waterloo on December 31, 2005."

Exhibition shows genes and journeys-- a news release from Renison College

Waterloo artist Carol Hudgins, with professional background in biochemistry and artistic accomplishments in ceramics, painting and photography, has brought together a profound celebration in her newest show, "Persistence of Genes: Reflections on Beauty and Wonder".

[the persistence of genes] As a creative integration of the beauty of science and the order of art, "Persistence" is a fitting exhibition on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA. As this structure of cross-woven threads has placed in our consciousness an image of intermingled elements within a genetic whole, so Carol Hudgins's current project can be experienced as the interconnectedness of fundamental structures of experience -- science and art, biology and architecture, matter and spirit, death and life, atom and cosmos.

The central theme in this work is the life-giving process of transmission, whose indestructibility has been expressed by the artist through her emphasis on an indefatigable "persistence" in the eternal flow of being. This continuity is suggested at the inward movement of image from surface toward gene, the horizontal movement of light from background to foreground, and the vertical perpetuation of biological and ontological reality from generation to generation. Images of these varied continuities include the structures of mitochondria, the evanescences of light, and the tangibility of facial portraits.

The underlying maternal character of transmission is inherent in mitochondria itself, an organelle whose genetic passage is restricted to the female side of humankind. Corresponding to the "interior" dimension of the sub-cellular matter is the exterior photographic manifestation of female faces -- mother, daughter, granddaughter. The hypnotic quality of the photograph heightens our anticipation of evidence of both continuity and discontinuity, and evokes a deeper quest for fragments of interior connections. The layers of connectedness are also experienced from back to front in a noteworthy translucence in all of the work comprising this complex exhibition, in the variegated colours and underpainting of her large work on canvas, in the thin wafer-like ceramic mitochondria pieces hung in backlit frames, and in the soft light easing itself out from behind the profiles of the photographed figures.

"Persistence of Genes" is both personal and universal. Its photographic representations include the artist, her mother and her daughter, but these images invite us to see the continuities which connect us to our past and future, and to reflect on the tantalizing possibility that the great journeys inward and outward are not opposites at all but twists of an endless encircling thread.

"Persistence of Genes" begins its run with a special opening at the Renison College Chapel Lounge Gallery tonight, 5:30 to 8:00, and continues through August 20.


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