Thursday, March 27, 2008

  • Cheering a future for UW in Stratford
  • 1,100 research park employees unite
  • Planning open house, and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

March Madness

When and where

E-health information security workshop sponsored by Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research, continuing through Friday, details online.

Academic Book Sale outside UW bookstore, South Campus Hall, last day.

Arts orientation garage sale (leftover merchandise from orientation week, including hoodies and water bottles) Thursday 9:00 to 2:00, Friday 10:00 to 3:00, Arts Lecture Hall.

Matrix Impaired Driving Simulator presented by UW Health Services and Waterloo Regional Police, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Student Life Centre.

Music student recitals, Conrad Grebel University College chapel, 12:30 today, also Monday and April 2.

DesignCamp for student and professional digital designers 4:30 to 7:30, Tatham Centre room 2218, information online.

Social Innovation Generation@Waterloo hosts Lance Gunderson, Emory University, speaking on “Resilience of People, Ecosystems and Societies,” 5:30 p.m., Environmental Studies I courtyard. RSVP to

Discussions Without Borders weekly group on international development topics, last session for this term, 5:30, Student Life Centre room 3103, sponsored by Engineers Without Borders.

Laurier Centre for Music in the Community open house and special events Thursday-Friday, Wilfrid Laurier University Theatre-Auditorium, details online.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, breakfast seminar: “The Value-Driven Workplace”, Friday 7 a.m., Waterloo Inn, details online.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Jason Gorrie, “Implementation of Constituency-Aggravation Security” (firewalls), Friday 9 a.m., IST seminar room.

Philosophy Colloquium Series: Lorraine Besser-Jones, “On Being Virtuous and Acting Well”, Friday 3:30 p.m., Humanities room 373.

Annual athletics awards reception Friday evening (reception 5:30, dinner 6:30), Columbia Icefield Gym, tickets $27 from athletics office, PAC.

Warrior Weekend activities in the Student Life Centre, Friday and Saturday evenings (casino night Friday, bingo Saturday; crafts; Engineering Jazz Band, Friday 10 p.m.; movies “Juno” and “I Am Legend” Saturday); details online.

Going Green workshop series hosted by Grand House Student Co-operative: Introduction to Green and Natural Building, Saturday 9:00 to 3:30, at School for Community Development, 58 Queen Street South, Kitchener.

Residential Energy Efficiency Program and public forum on plans to transform a century-old house into a net-zero showcase. Tour ‘before’ house Saturday 1:00 p.m. at 20 Mill Street, Kitchener; public forum 1:45 at Schneider Haus, 466 Queen Street South.

Brent McFarlane Early Bird Run for Wilfrid Laurier University Movement Disorder Research and Rehabilitation Centre, Sunday, starts 9:30 a.m., register by Thursday, details online.

UW board of governors Tuesday, April 1, 1:00 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Friends of the Library Lecture: “Afghanistan: Is There an Answer?” by John Manley, former deputy prime minister of Canada, Tuesday, April 1, 4 p.m., Humanities Theatre. Seating is limited; register ext. 32281, or

Intellectual Property “from Universities to New Businesses” (“how to find a technology partner”), Wednesday, April 2, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302, sponsored by UW research office, C4, and other groups, advance registration ext. 33300 or

Orchestra@UWaterloo spring concert: Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony and Chopin’s 2nd Piano Concerto, featuring concerto competition winner Taylor Wang, Thursday, April 3, 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets free from Humanities box office.

‘Your Last Lecture’ for faculty of arts class of 2008, Monday, April 7, 12:30, Humanities Theatre, celebration with UW president, dean of arts and others, register by e-mail:

Water Environment Association of Ontario social evening (pizza dinner and Brick Brewery) to mark last day of classes, April 7 from 6:00 p.m., tickets $8 for student members.

“2 Days for You” staff conference April 8-9, most sessions in Rod Coutts Hall, register online.

UW Chamber Choir spring concert, Tuesday, April 8, 7:30 p.m. (revised date and time), Waterloo North Mennonite Church, 100 Benjamin Road, admission $10 (students/seniors $8).

Mathematics contests for high school students: Euclid (grade 12), April 15; Fryer (grade 9), Galois (grade 10) and Hypatia (grade 11), April 16; Gauss (grades 7 and 8), May 14; details online.

Graduate Student Research Conference April 21-24, details online. Keynote talk by Thomas Homer-Dixon (energy and climate change, “the ingenuity gap”, social change) Monday, April 21, 3:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets $2 at Humanities box office.

PhD oral defences

Planning. Danielle Catherine Leahy Laughlin, “Defining and Exploring Public Space: Young People’s Perspectives from Regent Park, Toronto.” Supervisor, Laura Johnson. On display in the faculty of environmental studies, ES1 335. Oral defence Thursday, April 3, 2:00 p.m., Environmental Studies I room 221.

Electrical and computer engineering. Farhad Taghibakhsh, “Active Pixel Sensor Architectures for High Resolution Large Area Digital Imaging.” Supervisor, Karim Karim. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, April 8, 1:30 p.m., CEIT room 3142.

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Mohammad Shavezipur, “Novel MEMS Tunable Capacitors with Linear Capacitance-Voltage Response Considering Fabrication Uncertainties.” Supervisors, Amir Khajepour and Seyed M. Hashemi. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Wednesday, April 9, 9:00 a.m., Engineering III room 4117.

Electrical and computer engineering. Zhen Yang, “A Multiple Objective Based Hierarchical Global Routing Approach for VLSI ASIC Design.” Supervisors, Shawki Areibi and Anthony Vannelli. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, April 10, 10:00 a.m., CEIT room 3145.

[Flags and happy faces on the platform]

That's UW president David Johnston in the suit, while representatives of four partners in the Stratford project ended up in UW sweatshirts last night. From left: Gary Schellenberger, MP for Perth-Wellington; Tom Jenkins, chairman of Open Text; John Wilkinson, Ontario minister of research and innovation and Perth-Wellington MPP; and Stratford mayor Dan Mathieson. Photo by Terry Manzo.

Cheering a future for UW in Stratford

An overflow crowd, including leaders from UW, the city of Stratford, the Ontario government and the private sector, celebrated last night after what was called “a key milestone” toward a UW campus there specializing in digital media and global business.

Actually there were two milestones: the provincial government’s announcement Tuesday of a $10 million grant for the project, and word last night that Waterloo-based Open Text Corp. will take the lead in private-sector support. Previously, the City of Stratford had pledged land for a site, as well as $10 million toward building costs.

Open Text chairman Tom Jenkins, speaking at last night’s event at Stratford city hall, said his company intends to provide funds, technology and services, plus the participation of the company’s executives and thought leaders as contributing faculty. The company's gift, estimated to be worth another $10 million, will be slanted to operation of the program, rather than construction costs. (The Record newspaper tells more.)

It was announced that this investment and support will allow UW to create the Open Text Centre for Digital Media Research. “The centre will see researchers and students from around the world immersed in digital media applications and will forge a path for commercialization efforts in this fast-paced sector,” a news release explains.

“We’re only seeing the beginning of a revolution in digital media and Web 2.0 technologies,” said Jenkins. “There’s an enormous opportunity for future innovation and a whole range of potential consumer, business, government and cultural applications. We want to make the Waterloo Region and Ontario a leader in creating these new technologies and the business leaders who will make them a reality.”

Officials are also using the label “Stratford Institute” for the digital media project that’s expected to be the showpiece of the long-awaited Stratford campus. Says the news release: “The Stratford Institute will be a forward-looking research and commercial convergence centre that will drive the next generation of digital media technologies, applications and content models. The Stratford Institute will draw leading researchers, businesses and entrepreneurs to create, examine and commercialize opportunities in the digital media field in a global economy.”

Work on the Stratford campus and the Institute began in May 2006 during the Southwest Economic Assembly, co-chaired by Jenkins, when Stratford mayor Dan Mathieson approached UW president David Johnston about creating a UW presence within Stratford. The city, as part of its economic development plans, had been wanting to partner with a post-secondary institution and assist in creating a satellite campus. “This collaborative, strategic partnership will not only set Stratford and Ontario at the forefront of digital media and global business, but will make Canada an international player in what is emerging as the next new economy,” says Mathieson.

The MPP for the Stratford area is John Wilkinson, minister of research and innovation in the Liberal government. "Around the world our community is known for our creative arts," he said last night. "Now the powerhouse that is the University of Waterloo will have a new home in Stratford because they believe this is the very best place to build a campus focused on global digital media and global business."

"Few regions and countries have generated the creative and collaborative synergies necessary to capitalize on the unprecedented opportunities allowed by the Internet and the rapid development of digital technologies," says UW's Johnston. “Through the strategic leadership of John Wilkinson, Dan Mathieson and Tom Jenkins, the dream of the UW Stratford Campus is today closer to reality. We look forward to continuing the favourable discussions with our Federal supporters.”

The project is not yet a certainty, as officials say it also needs a federal funding commitment. Stratford's Member of Parliament, Gary Schellenberger, a Conservative, hinted Wednesday night that money from Ottawa was on the way. Official approval by UW's governing bodies also hasn't happened yet.

More from last night’s news release: “Students will be immersed in a rich, technology-driven environment where theory and practice, science and commerce, creativity and innovation merge. Small classes, project-based and client-driven assignments and a creatively dense atmosphere will be the hallmarks of the campus. Students will work closely with the researchers, companies and entrepreneurs of the Stratford Institute so that new ideas, creations and discoveries are commonplace occurrences throughout the campus.”

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1,100 research park employees unite

A news release from the north side of Columbia Street

Tenants from the UW Research + Technology Park have banded together to make a difference in their community now and for the future.

The R&T Park Activities Committee, consisting of representatives from 33 companies totaling 1,100 employees, was formed last year to help plan events for the Park’s tenants. Some of the tenants approached Carol Stewart, business development manager of the Research Park, to run a golf tournament last summer stating that they wanted the proceeds to go to charity.

Several of the tenants already had favourite organizations they liked to support, so it made sense for them to start a fund at the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation where that they could support all of their charities of choice. The University of Waterloo Research + Technology Park Activities Committee Fund was established at the KWCF and the tenants are now using this fund as a target for all of their long-term fundraising.

“After a thorough and inclusive process, I am really proud of the journey we took as a committee to create our own KWCF fund which represents all the tenants of the Research Park,” says Stewart. “It has created a strong sense of community among the high tech companies on the North Campus.”

To date, the tenants have raised $8,443 from last year’s golf tournament, UW president David Johnston’s New Year’s Luncheon, and a small Christmas event. This year, they plan on hosting another golf tournament and some summer barbecues.

“The Park Activities Committee should be commended for its collaborative efforts to support Waterloo Region's most valuable resource – its people,” says Johnston. “With this fund, they are creating a legacy for the Park’s tenants, both present and future.”

“The KWCF greatly appreciates the gift made by the tenants from the Research + Technology Park,” says Rosemary Smith, CEO of the KWCF. “Their commitment to this community is remarkable and will be felt for years to come.”

The foundation’s mission statement says that it works to improve the quality of life in Kitchener-Waterloo and the surrounding area, “now and for generations to come, by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on key community issues.”

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Planning open house, and more

Much is happening on campus today, starting with the open house in the Student Life Centre (11:00 to 5:00) at which staff from the consulting firm Urban Strategies will talk about the university’s campus master plan, past (1992) and future. The study is being done “in response to increasing demands for new development and concerns for existing open space on campus”. The updated Master Plan, says Ben Hoff of Urban Strategies, “will provide direction to accommodate the projected demand for physical space on campus, while preserving unique landscapes, enhancing existing open spaces and creating new and vibrant places on campus.” Today’s open house will air the consultants’ “early analysis and directions”. Members of the consulting team will be on hand to discuss issues and ideas with anyone interested.

The WPIRG Free the Children group winds up its Krispy Kreme doughnut sale event today, raising money for basic sanitation projects in Kenya through the Adopt a Village: Clean Water campaign. “In over just a year,” reports Rumessa Khalid of the local group (an outgrowth [Free the Children logo]of the worldwide agency headed by former child activist Craig Kielburger), “our team has grown from four people to more than fifteen dedicated members,” who have run a “Vow of Silence” campaign, a movie screening and Valentine’s ice cream sales as previous promotions toward a $5,000 fund-raising goal. Doughnut pre-sales have been taking place around campus for the past several days, and today is pickup day. “This will also include an on-the-day sale of both Krispy Kreme boxes for $8 and individual donuts for $1 while supplies last,” a news release says. “Free coffee or hot chocolate will be provided for those who have purchased donuts.”

Starting at 4:30, there’s a reception to honour some three dozen UW students who received the federal government’s Millennium Scholarships this year. Not only the students have been invited, but their parents as well. They’ll celebrate the students’ achievements with officials who include UW president David Johnston as well as Norman Riddell, executive director of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. Two of the students, Hamoon Ektiari (math chartered accountancy) and Jeff Lipnicky (mechanical engineering), will also speak briefly at the reception, being held in the Laurel Room of South Campus Hall.

The Federation of Students holds its Executive Awards Gala tonight at Federation Hall — dinner (a four-course meal with some fancy stuff on the menu, including “Banana Foster Flambée”), dancing afterwards, and some words from a keynote speaker, namely CTV newsman Mike Duffy, talking about “leadership”. Running at the same time, across campus in South Campus Hall, is the “R-eco-gnition Night” dinner and awards ceremony sponsored by the campus recreation athletics program. “We encourage you to wear green,” the invitation said, on account of the “eco” theme: it’s a night to honour not only athletes but “our planet and those who make it special”.

Coming tomorrow: additional important activities, including a panel discussion on “Women in Politics”, sponsored by the “One Waterloo” diversity campaign. It runs from 2:00 to 4:00 tomorrow in the Student Life Centre great hall, with a reception following. “Confirmed speakers,” says a news release, “include Albina Guarnieri, MP for Mississauga East Cooksville and former Minister of Veterans Affairs; Fatima Ahmed, peace and conflict studies student and candidate for vice-president (education) of the Federation of Students in the 2008 election; and others. The panel will address the opportunities and confront the challenges women encounter in political life.”


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