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Thursday, April 19, 2012

  • School of public health launches today
  • Honorary degrees, awards announced
  • Other honorary degrees at convocation
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

School of public health launches today

a media release from the School of Public Health and Health Systems

With today’s launch of its new School of Public Health and Health Systems, the University of Waterloo becomes a world leader in public health training, research and analysis.

“With a transdisciplinary approach, and by focusing on key priorities in Global Health, such as chronic disease prevention and management, food and water safety, security and governance, and on reducing health inequalities as well as poverty, The University of Waterloo School of Public Health and Health Systems makes a major contribution to Canadian and Global Health,” says Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, a world leader in public health and former Director-General of the World Health Organization, who arrived from Norway to celebrate the opening at a launch event that takes place today from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the J.G. Hagey Hall of the Humanities.

The new school will work with provincial, national, and international partners to rapidly produce relevant and creative research to solve today’s top health challenges, training a new generation of public health professionals, adept at thinking and responding systematically.

“Recent studies show that 95 per cent of public health research has focused on describing problems rather than testing and intervention,” says Paul McDonald, Director of School of Public Health and Health Systems. “Our goal is to change all that. The new school, organized around problems rather than particular disciplines, allows us to examine the dynamic interrelationships between the multiple factors that impact our health and our health system, leading to more effective and timely solutions.”

The new school includes a professional practice centre designed to create the capacity to provide cutting-edge research for public, private and non-profit organizations on issues as they arise, allowing the school to be responsive to current health concerns at the same time as providing students with a learning environment always at the forefront of the fields needs.

“We need to move away from educational and disciplinary models that were designed to address health threats from decades ago and create ones that will prepare our society to deal with current and emerging problems,” says McDonald. “We need to incorporate leading edge, innovative science and education for understanding and responding to health challenges and this is what we are setting out to do.”

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Honorary degrees, awards announced

A leading physicist and officer of the Order of Canada and a champion of co-operative education at Waterloo are among the eight recipients of honorary doctorates to be presented during the University of Waterloo's spring convocation ceremonies from June 13 to 16.

Arthur McDonald will receive an honorary doctor of science degree and address convocation on June 13 at 2:30 p.m. He holds the Gordon and Patricia Gray chair in particle astrophysics at Queen’s University. He is director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) and associate director of the SNO Institute.

McDonald is an international leader in the field of elementary particle physics. Under his directorship at the SNO, a collaboration of more than 100 scientists from Canada, the United States and Britain confirmed oscillations of solar neutrinos in 2001, a result widely considered to be one of the most important discoveries in fundamental physics of the past two decades. Professor McDonald was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2006.

William Tatham.William Tatham (at right, left), a Waterloo alumnus and strong supporter of the university and the Faculty of Engineering, will receive an honorary doctor of engineering degree and address convocation on June 16 at 2:30 p.m.

An accomplished entrepreneur, Tatham founded Janna Systems in 1990, which became a world leader in providing software for financial services and was sold to Siebel Systems in 2000. He then established NexJ Systems Inc., which was incubated by XJ Partners a venture capital and advisory services company founded by Mr. Tatham and his former Janna management team. He made a significant contribution towards the building of the William M. Tatham Centre for Co-operative Education, which was named in his honour.

During the convocation ceremonies in June, Waterloo will present titles of "distinguished professor emeritus" to three retired professors:

Desmond Fonn.Dr. Desmond Delbert RussellFonn (left) of the School of Optometry. Fonn, who was the founding director of the Centre for Contact Lens Research (CCLR) and an optometry faculty member for 25 years, is being honoured for his contributions to contact lens research, his philanthropic activities and his outstanding record of service to both the university and the academic community.

Delbert Russell (right) of the Department of French Studies. Russell joined the university in 1978 and his research interests include French-Canadian literature, medieval French language and literature, and bibliography.

Paul Socken.Paul Socken (left) of both the Department of French Studies and the Department of Jewish Studies. Socken spearheaded the university's Jewish studies program in 1995 at the invitation of then-dean of arts Brian Hendley, establishing the program with an endowed chair in 2000.

Betsy Zanna.Waterloo will also award the title of Honorary Member of the University to Betsy Zanna (right) of the Arts Undergraduate Office. Zanna began her career as an arts liaison officer in 1977, and later as academic counsellor and co-ordinator of transition and retention programs in the Faculty of Arts. Recently retired, Zanna was recognized last year by the athletics department for her academic advisory work with student athletes.

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Other honorary degrees at convocation

Applied Health Sciences and Environment — Wednesday, June 13, 10:00 a.m.: David Brooks will receive an honorary doctor of environmental studies and address convocation. Brooks earned a bachelor’s in geology at MIT (1955), a master’s in the same field at the California Institute of Technology (1956), and a doctorate in economics from the University of Colorado (1963). His main interests are in linking environmental protection and the use of minerals, energy and water.

Brooks’ passionate devotion to his vision of humans living in a sustainable relationship with the planet has been exemplified throughout his professional life in government,non-governmental organizations and the private sector. He is renowned for developing and promoting soft path approaches to water and energy management in Canada and around the world. Brooks has been active in seeking a sustainable and equitable solution to Israeli-Palestinian water issues, serving as a special adviser to Foreign Affairs Canada during the Oslo phase of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and was elected to the International Water Academy.

Arts Ceremony One — Thursday, June 14, 10:00 a.m.: John Ruggie will receive an honorary doctor of letters and address convocation. Ruggie is the Berthold Beitz professor of international affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and an affiliated professor in international legal studies at Harvard Law School. He is one of the world’s leading thinkers on the public policy implications of global governance and his work is of particular interest to scholars associated with the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

In addition to his academic work, Ruggie has long been active in the United Nations. From 1997 to 2001, he served as assistant secretary-general for strategic planning and was responsible for establishing and overseeing the UN Global Compact, proposing and gaining approval for the Millennium Development Goals, advising on relations with Washington, and contributing to efforts for institutional renewal. Since 2005, he has been the secretary-general’s special representative for business and human rights, responsible for proposing measures to strengthen human rights performance of the global business sector.

Arts Ceremony Two — Thursday, June 14, 2:30 p.m.: Maurice Schroeder will receive an honorary doctor of laws and address convocation. The Rev. Dr. Maurice Schroeder OMI is a Canadian priest and doctor who has spent more than two decades in humanitarian work with indigenous peoples in Peru. He exemplifies the commitment to global citizenship of St. Jerome’s University and the Centre for Responsible Citizenship.

Schroeder is one of two priest-doctors who have, since 1986, run the Centro de Salud Santa Clotilde, a mission hospital in northeastern Peru. The hospital has served more than 20,000 villagers who live along the Napo River, where the people are very poor and have little or no access to health care. In the past decade, the clinic at Santa Clotilde has attracted outside physicians to volunteer their services for weeks or months at a time.

Mathematics Ceremony One — Friday, June 15, 10:00 a.m.: John Dennis will receive an honorary doctor of mathematics and address convocation. Dennis is renowned for his fundamental contributions to continuous optimization. Perhaps his most noted body of work concerns so-called “quasi-Newton” or “secant” methods for optimization. About 15 years ago, he turned his attention to derivative-free optimization (DFO). DFO has been around for decades, but it languished until Dr. Dennis and his students revived it in the 1990s.

Currently the Noah Harding Professor Emeritus and Research Professor, Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics, Rice University, Dennis was the founder and editor-in-chief of the SIAM Journal on Optimization and co-editor of the Journal of Mathematical Programming, as well as an advisory editor of Mathematics of Operations Research. As an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization at the University of Waterloo, Dennis participated in research with a number of people in the department and has had useful and productive contact with graduate students working in the area of optimization, both as a mathematical mentor and as a person who has an understanding, informed by personal involvement, of the role of optimization in industry.

Mathematics Ceremony Two — Friday, June 15, 2:30 p.m.: Zvi Galil will receive an honorary doctor of mathematics and address convocation. Galil is a renowned computer scientist, mathematician and academic administrator. He received his PhD from Cornell University in 1975. His research spans a wide range of topics in theoretical computer science and includes fundamental contributions in the areas of graph algorithms and string matching, the latter of which has long been a research interest at the University of Waterloo.

Galil has been awarded numerous awards and honours. He was made a fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery for his fundamental contributions to the design and analysis of algorithms and outstanding service to the theoretical computer science community. In 2004, he was elected to the prestigious National Academy of Engineering and in the following year was elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has authored more than 200 papers and edited numerous books.

Engineering Ceremony One — Saturday, June 16, 10:00 a.m.: Ray Tanguay will receive an honorary doctor of engineering and address convocation. Réal (Ray) Tanguay is the first Canadian to become a managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation. Tanguay was instrumental in Toyota’s decision to build the new greenfield automotive assembly plant in Woodstock, Ontario, representing a $1.1 billion dollar investment and 2,000 new jobs. He is currently chairman of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada and chief risk management officer for North America.

Tanguay has been a strong supporter of engineering research and education at the University of Waterloo, creating valuable opportunities for Canadian researchers to interact with a major Japanese company. He helped introduce the co-op system to Toyota and played a key role in creating the NSERC/Toyota/Maplesoft industrial chair in mathematics-based modelling and design. He has served on the Faculty of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council and completed a six year term on the university’s Board of Governors.

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A grad to 'watch'

Eric Migicovsky.

The story of Eric Migicovsky's record-breaking Kickstarter campaign has been making the rounds through the blogosphere, the twitterverse, and the, er, Tumblrdome, in recent days.

Migicovsky, a Waterloo systems design engineering grad and VeloCity incubator veteran now based in Palo Alto, CA, has raised almost $5 million in just a few days for his Pebble smartwatch, the successor to the InPulse wristwatch device he developed for the BlackBerry during his VeloCity days. Both Pebble and InPulse are products of Allerta, a start-up Migicovsky co-founded.

Link of the day

Up Top - It's High Five Day

When and where

Official launch of the School of Public Health and Health Systems in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Thursday, April 19, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland. Details.

Grades due April 16 to May 1.

UW Biomedical Discussion Group Seminar Series, featuring Dr. Richard Epand, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University, "Phosphatidylinositol Cycling and Acyl Chain Specificity." Wednesday April 18, 2:30 p.m., PHY-150.

Lunch & Learn: Apple 101 for uWaterloo Faculty & Staff, Thursday, April 19, 12:00 p.m., Laurel Room, SCH. Online registration required. Lunch will be provided.

Surplus sale of furniture and equipment, Thursday, April 19, 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

International Potluck Lunch, Thursday, April 19, 12:45 p.m., Columbia Lake Village community centre. Details.

Chemistry Department Seminar Series, featuring Prof. Paschalis Alexandridis, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University at Buffalo, "Nanostructured Polymers and Solvents: Opportunities in Health, Environment, and Energy Applications," Friday, April 20, 10:00 a.m., C2-361.

On-campus examinations end April 21.

International spouses meet-up event "Movie & Coffee", Sunday, April 22, 1:00 p.m., Breakfast at Tiffany's, tickets $5, meet at Galaxy Cinema on King Street North, Waterloo. Details.

Graduate Student Research Conference, Monday, April 23 to Thursday, April 26. Details.

Unofficial grades begin to appear in Quest April 23, standings and official grades available May 22.

Spring 2012 promissory notes and payments due April 24.

Co-operative work term ends April 27.

Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference, April 27 to 29, University of Calgary and University of Toronto. Details.

Retail Services locations closed for inventory, Friday, April 27.

WatRISQ presents Eike Brechmann, Department of Mathematics, Technische Universitat, Munchen, Germany, "Financial Risk Management with High-Dimensional Vine Copulas," Tuesday, May 1, 4:00 p.m., DC 1304.

David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science distinguished lecture series, featuring Jeannette Wing, Carnegie Mellon University, "Computational Thinking," Tuesday, May 1, 4:30 p.m., DC 1302. Details.

OCUFA Status of Women workshop, "Navigating the Academy: Lessons and Strategies for More Equitable Universities," featuring a keynote address by University of Waterloo Professor Carla Fehr, Friday, May 4, 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., OBA Conference Centre, Toronto. Details.

Warrior Football Spring Camp, May 4-6 for kids ages 10-15, and Coaches Clinic, May 4-5. Details.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel U College, “Celebrating Home” concert May 5 (8 p.m.) and 6 (3 p.m.), St. John the Evangelist Church, Kitchener. Details.

Systems Design Engineering seminar featuring Keith Hipel, "Tackling Climate Change: A System of Systems Engineering Perspective," Wednesday, May 9, 11:30 a.m., E5 6004.

PhD Oral Defences

Electrical and Computer Engineering. Bahareh Sadeghimakki, "Fabrication and Characterization of Nanowires and Quantum Dots for Advanced Solar Cell Architectures." Supervisor, Siva Sivoththaman. On deposit in the Engineering Graduate Office, PHY 3004. Oral Defence Monday, April 23, 9:00 a.m., EIT 3142.

Computer Science. Jaime Ruiz, "Predicting Endpoint of Goal-Directed Motion in Modern Desktop Interfaces using Motion Kinematics." Supervisor, Edward Lank. On display in the Mathematics Faculty Graduate Office, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, April 23, 1:00 p.m., DC 1331.

Computer Science. Alma L. Juarez-Dominguez, "Detection of Feature Interactions in Automotive Active Safety." Supervisor, Nancy Day. On display in the Faculty of Mathematics Graduate Office, MC 5090. Oral defence Tuesday, April 24, 9:30 a.m., DC 1331.

Applied Mathematics. Dhanaraja Kasinathan, "H∞ - Optimal Actuator Locations." Supervisor, Kirsten Morris. On display in the Mathematics Faculty Graduate Office, MC 5090. Oral defence Tuesday, April 24, 9:30 a.m., MC 5158.

Physics and Astronomy. Michael A. Reimer, "Simulation Methods for the Temporal and Frequency Dynamics of Optical Communication Systems." Supervisor, David Yevick. On deposit in the Faculty of Science Graduate Office, ESC 254-A. Oral defence Tuesday, April 24, 2:00 p.m.

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