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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

  • Arrivals of 1986 are feted; more notes
  • Scholarships bring 6 top grad students
  • Economics prof joins energy project
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Workers gesture, beside unfinished concrete]Arrivals of 1986 are feted; more notes

This vintage photo shows how the Davis Centre looked when Mario Coniglio, Gayle Goodfellow, Ed Vrscay and dozens of their colleagues first came to work at Waterloo in 1986. That is to say, it wasn’t finished yet, so the “engineering, math and science library” was still in the Math and Computer building. Life on the campus in 1986 also featured the publication of the Fourth Decade Report, and a spring “Week of Action” intended to put pressure on the Ontario government to increase funding to higher education. That was then, this is now, and the new arrivals of 1986 are suddenly members of the 25-Year Club, to be guests of honour at the annual gala reception this evening in the Physical Activities Complex. Previous years’ members, all the way back to a few 1957 founders, will be on hand for the by-invitation party. Also being honoured tonight are staff and faculty who arrived in 1976 (the year of the “Chevron affair” and the first English Proficiency Exam), and thus have now served the university for 35 years.

The voicemail system on the university’s phones will be shut down at 5:00 today, continuing until about midnight, says Liz Doede of the telecommunications staff in IST. "Telecommunications Services will be upgrading and installing new servers for the Call Pilot system,” she explains. “Calls will not be routed to voicemail starting at that time and for the duration of the upgrade. Any existing greetings, messages, both new and saved will be moved to the new servers. During the upgrade callers who would normally be transferred to voicemail will hear a recording indicating that voicemail is unavailable due to maintenance.”

Here’s an organizational note that probably could have been published quite a while ago, except that nobody formally announced the change. The university no longer has a “director of business operations”, a title that was held by Bud Walker from 1996 until, well, sometime in the past year or so. “That position at the moment does not exist,” provost Geoff McBoyle confirmed this month. Walker is still managing the departments that had been classed as “business operations”, including retail services, housing and residences, and food services, but they’re now included in the portfolio of associate provost (students). Walker has been serving as associate provost on an interim basis since December 2009. Exactly what departments will go where in the administrative structure, when a new associate provost is appointed next year, hasn’t been definitely decided, McBoyle said. The change is now reflected (correctly, let’s hope) on the web pages that I maintain listing present and past Waterloo administrators.

Wilfrid Laurier University yesterday announced plans to put up a $103 million building for its business school and department of mathematics, on the site of the old St. Michael’s School across University Avenue from the main WLU campus. [Standing in front of purple banners]The building, dubbed the Global Innovation Exchange, is to be completed by 2014. The Ontario government will provide $72.6 million toward the project. “This major investment in Laurier is an investment in the prosperity of the region and the province and the tremendous potential of our students,” said WLU president Max Blouw at yesterday’s announcement (left).

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Scholarships bring 6 top grad students

Waterloo’s first six recipients of the top-dollar Ontario Trillium Scholarships will be arriving in September, the graduate studies office said this week after the winners were selected from among new grad students nominated by the departments where they’ll study.

Trillium is an initiative launched by the provincial government to attract high calibre international students to do their PhD studies in Ontario. Each OTS is valued at $40,000 annually for as many as four years of study. “These scholarships allow us to attract top international students, which increases the university’s reputation worldwide and benefits all our graduates”, says Sue Horton, Waterloo’s associate provost (graduate studies).

Waterloo president Feridun Hamdullahpur hailed the Trillium program enthusiastically when it was announced last fall. “To help us become fully engaged global players, we must increase the internationalization of our universities,” he wrote. “These new scholarships will give us a strong push along that path.”

Horton’s office says Waterloo has been allotted six of the Trillium Scholarships to give to top-ranking international applicants. Selection criteria are on the GSO website. A committee comprised of associate deans from the six faculties reviewed nominations submitted by departments, looking at documentation such as applications for admission, CVs, transcripts and references.

These are the six scholarship winners eventually chosen:

Shani Hormozi received her MA in political science from the University of Tehran, Iran.  She will continue her research on American policy in the Middle East at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in the Global Governance PhD program. In the four years since completing her master’s, Hormozi has co-edited two books, and co-authored eight journal articles and five book chapters on international relations topics.

Robert Jonsson originally hails from Germany, but is currently completing his master’s at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. He will be pursing his PhD at Waterloo in the applied mathematics department. Jonsson has been described as “an extremely bright and driven student” with a “conscientious approach of verifying results”; the Trillium offer helped to recruit him away from a possible PhD at Cambridge.

Morteza Kayyalha received his MSc in electrical engineering from Shiraz University of Technology, Iran. He will further his research knowledge while completing his PhD in the systems design engineering department at Waterloo.  Kayyalha is a top student in his field, graduating in the top five students in electrical engineering at the bachelor’s level, and as the top student in circuits and systems at his university at the graduate level.

John Morcos will begin his PhD at Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science after completing his studies at Alexandria University in Egypt. His “very high potential for research”, along with his “creativity and enthusiasm”, gives him “great potential as a young researcher”, recommendations say. He graduated as the top MSc student in engineering in Alexandria, with the highest overall GPA of any student at the whole university, in 2009.

Donald Rayome will begin his PhD in environment and resource studies, after completing his MSc in environmental engineering from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. Rayome’s research for his master’s included a six-month stint living in rural Belize researching the agroforestry practices of the Mopan Maya. His experience in Belize contributed to a better understanding of how traditional knowledge can inform forest conservation and restoration; a topic of great relevance to Canada.

Zachary Webb, who has just completed his studies at the University of Washington, will explore his passion for physics further while pursuing his PhD at Waterloo with like-minded researchers at the Institute of Quantum Computing. Webb has a triple major in physics, computer science and mathematics and has been described as a “multidisciplinary intellectual machine” who is “both brilliant and well grounded”.  He is a member of the US national Physics Honor Society (based on his GPA), and could have attended any number of top US schools for his doctorate. He chose Waterloo instead because it is recognized as “one of the leading institutes for quantum information in North America”.

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Economics prof joins energy project

a news release issued in Toronto last week

Union Gas, the Centre for Environmental Sustainability in Healthcare (CESH), a Toronto-based non-profit organization, and the University of Waterloo began collaborating on a research initiative that will assist healthcare organizations to identify and incorporate energy conservation measures into their operations.

[Sen]Union Gas is supporting the initiative by providing substantial funding through the company’s EnerSmart program. CESH will work in partnership with Professor Anindya Sen (left) of the department of economics, University of Waterloo. Economics students from Waterloo will conduct the research at three sites within the Union Gas service area and CESH will be responsible for the technical content of the project.

“CESH has estimated that tens of million dollars in energy efficiency savings can be realized over the next few years in Ontario Healthcare organizations, if appropriate actions are taken. Helping healthcare service organizations identify energy conservation opportunities, and incorporating them into management’s operating strategies is the first step towards significant savings,” said Nick Pairaudeau, president of the CESH. “And the findings from the research will be integrated into programs that can help positively influence sustainable operating practices across the healthcare sector”.

“Through the Union Gas EnerSmart program, we help our business customers make smart investments in energy-efficient equipment and technologies,” said Mel Ydreos, vice-president of marketing and customer care at Union Gas. “This initiative will assist area hospitals to significantly reduce energy costs while also reducing their environmental footprint.”

“I am extremely pleased at the opportunity of conducting research with CESH,” said Waterloo’s Sen. “Energy conservation and efficient demand response will form the backbone of many future policies implemented at both the provincial and national levels. In this respect, it is critically important to define and identify avenues for achieving efficiencies across different industries.

“This research grant from the EnerSmart program will help in data collection that has the potential of informing us on the efficacy of different strategies and management choices regarding energy consumption in the health sector — a topic in which there is a paucity of peer-reviewed scientific studies. This is also an exciting opportunity for graduate students to attain expertise in conducting important policy related research.

Facilities have begun working with CESH on measurement and conservation efforts and are beginning to see the rewards.


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Link of the day

National Aboriginal Day

When and where

Pre-enrolment for winter 2012 undergraduate courses, June 20-26 on Quest. Details.

Heritage Resources Centre study trip to Cotswolds area of England, June 20-25, details e-mail kjonas@

Career workshop: Career Exploration and Decision Making, 2:30 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

Summer Solstice celebration and fund-raiser for Heartwood Place , music by Steven Page and Alysha Brillinger, 7:00, Federation Hall.

Young alumni get-together at Boiler House pub, Toronto, from 8 p.m. Details.

‘Experience Meditation’ introductory seminar sponsored by Sahaja Yoga Meditation Club, Wednesday or Thursday 9:00, 1:00 or 7:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

UW Recreation Committee presents introductory session on Feldenkrais method yoga, Wednesday 12:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Co-operative Education and Career Services reunion of present, former and retired staff, Wednesday 3:00 to 6:00, Tatham Centre, information ext. 33926.

Career workshop: Interview Skills: Preparing for Questions, Wednesday 3:30 p.m., Hagey Hall room 150. Details.

In Motion dance performance, “Seasons of Love” Wednesday 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

[Vegetables suggestive of farm market]

Farm market Thursday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Environment I courtyard (also July 7, 14 and 21).

Innovation showcase and commercialization competition featuring students in Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program, Thursday 10:00 to 5:00, Davis Centre foyer and lounge; keynote talk by Kunal Gupta, Polar Mobile, 12:00; competition finals 2:00.

Student accounts office, Needles Hall, will close for the day at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

Bright Starts Daycare Fun Fair to raise funds for equipment, Thursday 5:00 to 7:30, Paintin Place day care, UW Place complex, includes barbecue.

‘Oriental Carpets: Mystique, Patterns and Elements’ (Studies in Islam workshop series) Thursday 7 p.m., Dunker Family Lounge, Renison U College, RSVP j3miller@

4-on-4 beach volleyball tournament organized by Campus Recreation, Saturday, Federation Hall courts, registration ($40 per team) at athletics office, PAC.

Canada Day in California: Waterloo and Canada’s Technology Triangle are among the sponsors of Digital Moose Lounge picnic Saturday 1:30 to 5:00, Huddart Park East, Woodside, California. Details.

‘Yoga in the Village’ free yoga and relaxation class sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, June 29, 12:05, Village I great hall, reservations e-mail sandra.gibson@

Canada Day, Friday, July 1, university closed. North campus celebrations 2 to 11 p.m. Details.

Drop, penalty 1 period for spring term courses ends July 8.

African Lion Safari “family day” for alumni, July 10, gates open 9 a.m., barbecue lunch from 12:30, adults $20, children $15, registration 519-888-4973.

Last day of classes for spring term, July 26.

PhD oral defences

Germanic and Slavic studies. Mareike Müller, previously announced, change of location: oral defence Thursday, June 23, 3:00 p.m., Mathematics and Computer room 2009.

Chemical engineering. Yiyoung Choi, “Polymerization of Ethylene with Supported Early and Late Transition Metal Catalysts.” Supervisor, João Soares. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, July 7, 9:00 a.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2534.

Electrical and computer engineering. David Li, “Analysis and Design of Metastable-Hardened, High-Performance, Low-Power Flip-Flops.” Supervisor, Manoj Sachdev. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, July 7, 9:00 a.m., CEIT building room 3142.

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