Thursday, June 14, 2007

  • Convocation focuses on arts today
  • High schoolers here for math seminar
  • Residences are full, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Univac, 1951

When and where

Health Informatics Bootcamp sponsored by Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research, today and tomorrow.

Book club sponsored by UW Recreation Committee and UW bookstore, Charlotte and Claudia Keeping in Touch, 12:00 noon, bookstore, South Campus Hall.

International spouses group visit to Woodside National Historic Site. Meet 12:45 at Columbia Lake Village community centre, cost $2 to $4 per adult, children welcome (must have appropriate car seat). Extra cars and drivers very welcome. E-mail to reserve a place.

J. W. Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation 2007 winner Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Yahoo Research, "From Games to Algorithms and the Difference Between Theory and Practice", 2:00 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304, reception follows, register by e-mail to

Career workshop: "Interview Skills, Preparing for Questions" 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

City of Kitchener introduces 2007 artist-in-residence Paul Roorda, 7 to 9 p.m., City Hall studio, 200 King Street West.

Graduate House: Intransit plays tonight from 9:00, free for Graduate Student Association members, $5 for others.

Warrior Weekend free activities in the Student Life Centre Friday and Saturday evenings: movies, pizza, chess, bingo, details online.

Risk Management and Insurance conference sponsored by Institute for Quantitative Finance and Insurance, Saturday, Math and Computer building room 2065, details online.

'Vision' conference, "Tomorrow's Health Leaders Together Today", Saturday, Davis Centre, details online.

Toronto Blue Jays Saturday, trip organized by Graduate Student Association, tickets (game $7, bus $10) on sale at Grad House.

Kids' bike rodeo at Columbia Lake Village community centre, Sunday 2 p.m.

Combinatorics and optimization 40th anniversary conference June 18-23, details online.

Matthews Golf Classic annual event June 18, Grand Valley Golf Course, details online.

Staff association annual general meeting June 19, 9:00 a.m., Math and Computer room 2017.

George Dixon, dean of science, reception as his term ends, Tuesday, June 19, 4:00 to 5:30, University Club, RSVP ext. 3-3363; contributions being accepted to Faculty of Science Scholarship Fund.

25-Year Club annual reception and recognition of 25-year and 35-year staff and faculty, June 19, 6:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex, information ext. 3-2078.

Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment fund-raising banquet, Tuesday 6:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College dining room, information ext. 2-4381.

Open Classroom session featuring Carey Bissonnette, department of chemistry, using clicker technology in Chem 123, advance briefing and after-class discussion for faculty members interested in the techniques, June 20, details online.

Education Credit Union grand opening of new branch in TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard, Thursday, June 21, 12:00 noon.

National Aboriginal Day barbecue and celebration Thursday, June 21, 12:00 to 3:00, St. Paul's College, featuring Blue Stone Cloud Drum Group, information

Living Wall unveiling and plaque presentation to donors, June 22, 10:30 a.m., Environmental Studies I foyer.

One click away

'Hints for best clarity when speaking at Convocation'
Students' council to discuss fraternities and sororities
OSSTF closes discussion forum on its UW web site
Hildegard Marsden — one of Waterloo's 150
Research parks form national association
UW study on Canadians' savings to be released today
Engineering grad also serves as concert photographer
UW digital centre in partnership with children's museum (Record)
Campaign from Coalition for Student Loan Fairness
New Ontario funding for first-generation students
Campus police can continue to be 'police'
Mississippi State wins GM's Challenge X
Canada's 16 female university presidents (Star)
Rising education of women and the gender earnings gap' (Stats Canada)
US campuses pledge to become 'climate neutral'

[Three girls and a guy at cabaret table]

If they were grinning like this at the Arts Grad Ball in mid-March, just imagine the exuberance today as they collect their degrees on the Physical Activities Complex stage. Photo by Alex Lippert, dean of arts office.

Convocation focuses on arts today

Convocation festivities continue. This morning, it's the first of two sessions focusing on the faculty of arts, and after that here's the lowdown:

Ninety-fourth Convocation, fourth session

When and where: Thursday, June 14, 2:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex
Degrees: Faculty of arts, some programs; all students registered at St. Jerome’s University or Renison College
Valedictorian: Stephanie Venne, psychology.
Honorary degrees: author Malcolm Gladwell (will give the convocation address); Denise Donlon, music executive; Reginald Haney, Waterloo lawyer
Distinguished Professor Emeritus: E. Jennifer Ashworth (philosophy), Darrol Bryant (religious studies, Renison College), Rolf George (philosophy), Jan Narveson (philosophy)
Alumni gold medal: Amanda Hogle, psychology
Social notes: St. Jerome’s University, Mass in Siegfried Hall, 10:30 a.m.; lunch in Letson Community Centre, 11:30; reception in Community Centre, 4:30 p.m.
Renison College, procession 10 a.m.; pre-convocation service, Theatre of the Arts, 10:30; graduates piped back to Renison for buffet luncheon.
General reception after the ceremony, Student Life Centre.

Ninety-fourth Convocation, fifth session

When and where: Friday, June 15, 10:00 a.m. , Physical Activities Complex
Degrees: Faculty of mathematics
Valedictorian: to be announced
Honorary degrees: Paul Embrechts, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (will give the convocation address); Richard Stanley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Distinguished Professor Emeritus: Sydney Davison (applied mathematics), Dragomir Djokovic (pure mathematics)
University Professor: Ken R. Davidson, pure mathematics
Distinguished Teacher: Steven Furino, mathematics, St. Jerome’s University
Alumni Gold Medal: Philippe Lamoureux, combinatorics and optimization
Social notes: Mathematics pre-convocation reception 8:00 a.m., Student Life Centre great hall. General reception after the ceremony, Student Life Centre.

Still to come: faculty of mathematics (computer science) and software engineering program, ceremony at 2 p.m. Friday; engineering, two ceremonies Saturday.

Yesterday morning I had the fun of taking part briefly in one Convocation ceremony, assisting in marshalling the platform party and leading the group down the aisle and up to the stage. Generally that sort of task is done by staff of the registrar's office, for whom this is about the busiest week of the year, but occasionally an outsider like me gets to put on black gown and appropriate hood (in my case "Oxford shape . . . corded silk . . . black bordered with scarlet") and plunge into the sea of happy graduand faces. It was great to be reminded that Convocation really is a climactic day for students and their families.

A follow-up note: I wrote on Tuesday that UW's 15-pound silver Mace was designed and made by Toronto artist Eric Aldwinckle in 1965. In fact, Aldwinckle designed it, but the silversmithing was done by noted craftsman Harold Stacey, also of Toronto.

There are (at least) a couple of people well known on campus who will be receiving degrees at today's Convocation ceremonies. Picking up her MA in history this morning is Karen Jack, administrative assistant in the university secretariat; receiving a BA in liberal studies this afternoon is Katrina DiGravio, director of organizational and human development.

And one of this afternoon's graduates is — well, let a proud father tell the story. "My third son will graduate from arts in the afternoon," writes Mike Sharratt, kinesiology professor and former dean of applied health sciences. "This will be the second time he has gone across the stage. In 1983, my wife Jacquie" (she was formerly a staff member of the UW wellness centre) "graduated with an MSc from health studies, and she was pregnant with Christopher. This time he has to cross the stage on his own two feet!" Sharratt senior adds that he will have the privilege of placing the BA hood on his son at today's ceremony. "The two previous sons are Jake and Juston, graduating from history and drama, respectively."

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High schoolers here for math seminar

a release from the UW media relations office

Some of the brightest math students from high schools across Canada are honing their skills this week as UW hosts the 42 annual Canadian Mathematics Competition Seminar. The 56 students earned an invitation to the seminar by excelling in competitions organized by UW's Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing. They will spend the week on a series of activities — including daily problem-solving sessions and a math relay — designed to test and stretch their considerable abilities.

"These kids are the bright lights and technological leaders of tomorrow, and it's gratifying to see that they have so strong an interest in mathematics," said Ian VanderBurgh, director of the CEMC. "They are excited to visit Waterloo, which many already see as the centre of the universe when it comes to math."

A key part of the week has the students learning from one another during daily problem-solving sessions that run from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Participants work in groups of three or four to solve four or five problems. In the last half hour, each individual must write up his or her solution to one with no advanced warning of the specific problem.

The students will participate in a math relay Friday evening. To win, each member of a team must solve a problem on his or her own. But the first answer is part of the second problem, which then becomes part of the third problem, and so forth. The week also includes an awards banquet, beginning at 5 p.m. tonight.

More than 200,000 students write one of CEMC's mathematics competitions and fewer than 60 attend the weeklong seminar. The prizes and awards for these contests are presented at the banquet.

The CEMC was created in 1995 by UW's faculty of mathematics, which has long been a supporter of math activities in schools. That interest led to the creation of a team of mathematics educators devoted to the creation of enrichment activities for elementary and secondary schools. The CEMC is responsible for the internationally recognized Canadian Mathematics Competitions, the Canadian Computing Competition, a comprehensive series of problem books and a reputation for staging popular problem-solving workshops for students and teachers.

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Residences are full, and other notes

"As of today," says a memo from UW housing officer Chris Reid, "all University of Waterloo residences, including the federated University and affiliated Colleges, are full for September 2007. All first-year students who submitted applications and deposits by our published first-year guarantee deadline of June 11 will be offered residence accommodation in one of our communities (UW Residences, St. Jerome's, Renison, St. Paul's, or Conrad Grebel). Housing applications for the Fall term received beginning today will not be accepted. Students will be referred to our Off-Campus Housing Office. The Off-Campus Housing Office is committed to working with any student in this position to assist in their search for suitable accommodation. Over the course of the summer, you may be in a position to communicate with students who were not accommodated in their community of choice, or who were not accommodated at all because their application was not received by June 11. We ask that all UW staff and faculty be understanding of any concerns and refer them to the Housing and Residences Administration Office in Village 1, Room 210 (ext. 32679). Those students who are being offered residence accommodation will be contacted by their assigned community very shortly."

An announcement from the UW library: “The University of Waterloo is joining its partners in the Tri-University Group of Libraries (TUG) in implementing fines on overdue interlibrary loan materials. Effective as of Monday, June 18, UW Library will assess fines at the rate of $1 per day up to a maximum of $30 on any ILL loans borrowed by users, as of that date, that become overdue. As usual there is a replacement cost assessed if the material is not returned and the lending library charges UW for the cost of the material not returned.”

More than 250 participants are expected on campus June 18-23 for C&O@40, a research conference hosted by the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization in celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the department as well as UW's fiftieth anniversary. The conference features invited lectures by world leaders in the department's six main research areas — algebraic combinatorics, continuous and discrete optimization, cryptography, graph theory, and quantum computing. Three of these lecturers hold UW honorary degrees, including Richard Stanley of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who will be on campus to receive his degree tomorrow. Also next week there will be a C&O grad reunion dinner, to which all alumni of C&O graduate programs have been invited.

July 1, which falls on a Sunday this year, will bring the 23rd annual Canada Day celebration on UW’s north campus — sponsored by UW and the Federation of Students, and made possible by a contingent of hundreds of volunteers, mostly students. “Our 2007 event is even more exciting than ever before,” says one of the organizers, recreation and business student Sheryl-Ann Schrik, pointing out that the day celebrates not just Canada’s 150th birthday but a 50th anniversary for UW and a 150th for the city of Waterloo. She’s predicting total attendance of some 60,000 people this year for the music, games, children’s activities, crafts and fireworks. “In order to make this event great we need a lot of volunteers,” she reiterates. “Our volunteer opportunities begin on Saturday, June 30, and continue to July 2, with the actual event on Sunday, July 1. All of our volunteers are given free food vouchers for every 4 hours they work. There will be three shifts divided in morning, afternoon and evening; the exact times will be featured on the application form.” That application form is available online, and the way to get more information is to e-mail (check the underlines carefully here)

Ruth-Anne Vanderwater, president of the student Engineering Society, writes in the latest issue of the Iron Warrior newspaper about some proposed amendments to the EngSoc constitution. Some of them seem to be for efficiency and, to put it plainly, sanity ("The Constitution may not be amended in any way that will render it self-contradictory"), while others have to do with the relationship between EngSoc and architecture students, who study within the faculty of engineering but are represented by the separate Waterloo Architecture Students Association. "A relationship between the two Societies within the Faculty would bridge some of the gap," Vanderwater writes. The main proposal (there are also "counter-proposals" waiting in the wings) would make WASA "officially affiliated" with EngSoc and declare that WASA members are "welcome" at EngSoc events. There's also a motion to clarify the relationship between EngSoc and the local chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

Charlie Clarke of the school of computer science — who says on his web page that he’s “nerdier than 91% of all people” — will become director of UW’s software engineering program as of July 1. • As usual this time of year, the staff association is offering its members discount tickets to a couple of major attractions, Canada's Wonderland and African Lion Safari. • This weekend, when Convocation crowds are expected, will be the last time until after Labour Day that the UW bookstore, UW Shop and TechWorx will open on Saturday.


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