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Thursday, December 15, 2011

  • Remembering former faculty members…
  • … and former staff members
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Remembering former faculty members…

A number of former Waterloo faculty members have died during 2011, and here are notes about some of them, as information has become available.

Denis Higgs, who came to Waterloo in 1966 to serve in what was then the “department of mathematics” and retired in 1997 from the pure mathematics department, died February 25. Educated at the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), Cambridge, and McMaster University (PhD 1970), he listed his academic specialty as “incidence geometries and their maps”, and was also outspoken on issues related to South Africa.

Ralph StaalRalph Staal (left, in 1975), who retired from the department of pure mathematics in 1990 after 27 years’ service, died May 5. He had been at Waterloo since arriving from the University of New Brunswick 1963. A specialist in mathematical logic, he served as chair of the pure math department in the 1970s, and in such other roles as president of the Ontario Mathematics Commission, and he was author of a 1966 textbook, Introduction to Calculus.

David Lawson, formerly of the department of earth sciences, died May 9. He was a member of faculty from 1966 to his retirement in 2006. A specialist in sedimentology and volcanic flows, he was educated at the University of New Brunswick and Britain’s University of Reading (PhD 1966).

Angus Kerr-Lawson, a faculty member in mathematics and later in the department of philosophy from 1958 to his retirement in 1996, died June 20. A graduate of Toronto, Chicago and McMaster, he was a specialist in logic, and had a special interest in the works of philosopher George Santayana. He arrived at Waterloo when the university was just opening its first academic building, joined the 25-Year Club in 1983, became a member of the retirees’ association and was honoured as a Distinguished Professor Emeritus. His widow is Margaret Kerr-Lawson, who had a long career as a staff member in the graduate studies office and the school of optometry.

Sulam (Shully) Solomon, a professor in civil engineering from 1970 to his retirement in 1988, died July 6. A specialist in hydrology, he did much of his research on the use of satellite data to monitor land use and water resources around the world. He received a flurry of publicity for his controversial expert testimony in a hearing following the destructive Grand River flood of 1974. In retirement, Solomon was living in Switzerland.

Hugh MorrisonHugh Morrison (right), long-time faculty member in physics, died August 4. He joined the university in 1965, fresh from undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Edinburgh, and worked in research areas that included diffusion in metals; he retired in 1996. He served at length as associate dean (undergraduate studies) in the faculty of science, and had that responsibility during the complicated process of introducing WHMIS training for undergraduate students in 1990.

William Chadwick, formerly of the department of drama and speech communication, died August 13. A playwright, teacher, director and actor, he joined Waterloo’s faculty in 1973, after earning degrees from the University of Toronto and a PhD from the University of London, and chaired the “drama group” even before it was formally a department. A number of his theatrical works were firmly rooted in Waterloo Region, including “The Berlin Show”, staged by local actors in 1994, and “The Murder of Emma Orr”, about a scandalous 19th century crime in what is now Cambridge. He retired from the university in 1999.

Patrick FischerPatrick Fischer (left), whose long career in mathematics and computer science included six years at Waterloo, died August 26. His PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was in math, but much of his subsequent academic work involved the developing field of computer theory. After positions at Cornell and Harvard, he came to Waterloo in 1968 to join what was then the “department of applied analysis and computer science”. His six-year stay included a period as chair of that department. Fischer then moved on to Penn State and finally Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Alexander (Sasha) Zweers, who served for thirty years in the department of Germanic and Slavic studies, died October 29. Born in the Netherlands and educated there at the University of Amsterdam and University of Groningen, he taught at the University of British Columbia for five years and joined the Waterloo faculty in 1967. His specialty was Russian literature, particularly the works of Tolstoy and the “formalist” critics of the 1920s, but he taught Dutch as well as Russian. He was also a keen amateur actor and singer. Even after his retirement in 1997 he carried on with research, publishing a book in 1999 about the work of Nobel prize winner Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin.

Herbert Lefcourt, a faculty member in the psychology department from 1963 to his retirement 33 years later, died November 1. Frequently in the media spotlight for his work in areas ranging from humour to “political alienation”, he also wrote two editions of a textbook, Locus of Control. Educated at Antioch College and the Ohio State University, he was named a Distinguished Professor Emeritus after leaving the university during the 1996 “special early retirement” program.

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… and former staff members

A number of retired staff members have died during 2011; here are some who have not been previously noted in the Daily Bulletin.

Norma Bodis, who was an administrative assistant in the registrar’s office from 1975 to her retirement in 2001, died November 20.

[Hornberger]Nancy Hill, a secretary in the dean of mathematics office from 1965 to her retirement in 1988, died June 2. She is survived by her husband, George H. Hill, who worked at the university as a glassblower.

Henry Hornberger (right), who worked as a cook in food services, starting in 1967, and later as bar services manager, and who retired from the university in 1989, died February 25.

[Lauber]Olga Lauber (left), who was secretary to the dean of science and later administrative assistant to the vice-president (academic) during a Waterloo career that ran from 1966 to 1990, died September 27.

Reginald Linder, a custodian in plant operations from 1978 to his retirement in 1983, died June 19.

Warren MacPherson, who worked as a plumber in plant operations from 1968 until retiring in 1999, died June 22.

Frank McMahon, who was a Waterloo staff member from 1983 to 1986 as an equipment operator for plant operations, died June 24.

Lloyd Renwick, who worked as a security attendant in the library from 1976 to 1989, died November 28.

Ingrid Schreiber, who worked at Waterloo from 1964 and retired in 1984 as manager of the key control office in plant operations, died August 30.

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Link of the day

Halcyon Days

When and where

Christmas luncheon buffet at University Club, Monday-Friday through December 23, 11:30 to 2:00.

Kinesiology Lab Days, December 7 to 16. Student visits begin at 10:15 a.m. each day in LHI and BMH.

Fall term examinations December 8-22. Unofficial grades begin to appear in Quest December 23; official grades available January 23.

Buffet Luncheon in the Festival Room, December 14-16, 12:00 to 2:00 p.m., ext. 84700 for reservations.

Getting Started in Desire2Learn workshop for instructors, organized by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Thursday 1:30, and other dates, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Retirement reception for Susan Sykes, office of research, Thursday 3:30 p.m. at the University Club. RSVP ASAP to ccyee@

St. Jerome’s University president’s Christmas gala, Thursday 6 p.m., by invitation.

Pension and benefits committee Friday 8:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Heather Wey and Liam Morland, “Accessibility Conference Highlights” Friday 9:00, IST seminar room.

International spouses potluck event, Friday 12:45, CLV community centre.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop, “Intro to Learn's Eportfolio” Friday 1:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Fees due for winter term courses December 19.

Getting Started in Desire2Learn workshop for instructors, organized by Centre for Teaching Excellence, December 19, 10:30, and other dates, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

UWRC Book Club: The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, December 21, 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Christmas and New Year’s break Saturday, December 24, through Monday, January 2, university closed, reopening January 3, 2012.

Winter term classes begin Tuesday, January 3.

PhD oral defences

Electrical and computer engineering. Nino Zahirovic, “Tunable Filters and RF MEMS Variable Capacitors with Closed Loop Control.” Supervisors, Raafat R. Mansour and Ming M. Yu. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, December 19, 9:30 a.m., CEIT building room 3142.

Chemical engineering. Rafat Parsael, “The Effects of Macroscopic Heterogeneities of Pore Structure and Wettability on Residual Oil Recovery Using the Gravity-Assisted Inert Gas Injection (GAIGI) Process.” Supervisor, Ioannis Chatzis. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, December 20, 9:00 a.m., Engineering 6 room 4022.

History. Kathryn Rose, “The Long Reach of the War: Canadian Records Management, the Public Archives and the Second World War.” Supervisor, Geoffrey Hayes. On display in the faculty of arts, PAS 2434. Oral defence Tuesday, December 20, 10:00 a.m., Hagey Hall room 373.

Geography and environmental management. Ryan Todd Snider, “Land Tenure, Ecotourism, and Sustainable Livelihoods: ‘Living on the Edge’ of the Greater Maasai Mara, Kenya.” On display in the faculty of environment, EV1 335. Oral defence Tuesday, December 20, 3:00 2:00 p.m (note revised time), Environment 1 room 221.


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