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Monday, June 23, 2014



  • Geoff McBoyle: Waterloo's "Swiss Army Knife"
  • Community relations framework unveiled
  • Conference honours work of math professor
  • Retirement celebration for Maryann Gavin



Geoff McBoyle: Waterloo's "Swiss Army Knife"

Geoff McBoyle in 1974.Friends and colleagues packed the Great Hall in Village I Thursday evening to pay tribute to the 45-year career of Geoff McBoyle, who retires (for a second time) from university life at the end of the month.

A climatologist who specializes in the impact of climate change on tourism, McBoyle joined the Department of Geography and Environmental Management in 1969 as an assistant professor. He gained a reputation as an effective and engaging educator, and in 1989 he received one of the first Distinguished Teacher Awards handed out by the University. In 1993 McBoyle received the Service to the Profession Award from the Ontario Division of the Canadian Association of Geographers in 1993. The US National Council for Geographic Education granted McBoyle the University Distinguished Teaching Achievement Award in 1994, and the Canadian Association of Geographers gave him the Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2004.

A strong believer in co-op, he set up two co-op programs at the university, in Geography and Environment and Business.

His distinguished academic career has been complemented by terms in a number of administrative positions, leading Dean of Science Terry McMahon to refer to him as the "Swiss Army Knife" of Waterloo executives. He served as chair of the geography department from 1975 to 1978, and was named Associate Dean (Undergraduate Studies) in the Faculty of Environmental Studies (now known as the Faculty of Environment) from 1985 to 1992 and again from 1994 to 1995. He served as dean of the faculty from 1997 to 2004. Other positions he holds or has held include director of the Environment and Business program, director of educational liaison, and membership in Senate, the Board of Governors, the Board of Finance and Investment and Audit committees, the president's advisory committee, and the Strategic Long Term Planning committee.

In 2007 he was named the University's Associate Vice-President, Academic. After retiring in July 2008, he continued in the position until January 2013, when he was succeeded by Mario Coniglio.

Most recently, he took on the role of Vice-President, Academic and Provost, first in October 2010 to April 2012, and then from January 2013 to the present. He will remain in the position until June 30.

At Thursday's event, which was emceed by Bud Walker, remarked were delivered by Terry McMahon, who spoke on behalf of the deans; Mario Coniglio, associate vice-president, academic, who spoke on behalf of academic support units; Cathy Newell Kelly, who spoke on behalf of staff; Graham Brown, principal of St. Paul's, who spoke on behalf of the affiliated and federated institutions of Waterloo (AFIW); and President Feridun Hamdullahpur, who spoke of their working and personal relationship.

Speakers highlighted several successful initiatives that occurred on McBoyle’s watch: expansions and improvements to many academic support units, including the Centre for Extended Learning and the Centre for Teaching Excellence that led to the Teaching Fellows program, improvements to the student experience and support for entrepreneurialism, the Strategic Plan steering committee, and the development of a strategic mandate agreement (SMA) with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Geoff McBoyle."What are the impressions one gets of Geoff as an administrator?" said Terry McMahon. "One of the first impressions is that he's a man of few words, the most common of which are 'no' and 'yes', but not in equal proportions."

Feridun Hamdullahpur echoed McBoyle's bias towards brevity. "You can make academic plans, but you actually have to finance them and provide adequate funding. You really need to watch the finances and say 'no' to certain proposals."

"When Geoff says 'no,' he thinks about it very carefully. He's not saying it because he doesn't feel like it - he has measured it inside and out. It's the best decision, and our colleagues accept his decision because there is a mutual respect in his relationship with everyone. Everybody respects his decision and authority because he respects everybody he works with. You don't find that at every institution."

"I have tremendously enjoyed my working relationship with Geoff," the president concluded.

McBoyle, naturally, was able to get the last word in. "Thank you for working with me through many conversations to find that elusive win-win solution among competing interests. Sometimes the deans and I found a win-win-win."

"It has been a privilege to use the position and its resources to lubricate the inspired ideas you have had in your endeavours," he said. "Long may that process continue."


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Community relations framework unveiled

This article was originally published on the Community Relations blog.

President Feridun Hamdullahpur was joined by community leaders on Friday, June 20, for an exclusive launch of the University’s first-ever community relations framework.

Guests from the non-profit sector, government, and industry contributed to a series of five roundtables hosted by the President over the past four months. Feedback from the roundtables showcased the strength of the University’s existing community partnerships, and identified ways that the University can continue to demonstrate its leadership in our community.

Participants at the community breakfast learned about UWaterloo's community relations framework, which showcases our contribution to the community in five key impact areas:

  • Arts, culture & diversity
  • Economic development
  • Health & well-being
  • Sustainability
  • Youth engagement

President Hamdullahpur thanked those in attendance for their valuable input and continued partnership.

The event was hosted at the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery in Uptown Waterloo.

Check out the Community Relations blog for additional content, including pictures of the event.


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Conference honours work of math professor

This article originally appeared on the Faculty of Mathematics news page.

Professor Chris Godsil.The Department of Combinatorics & Optimization in the Faculty of Mathematics will host a conference "Algebraic Combinatorics: Spectral Graph Theory, Erdos-Ko-Rado Theorems, and Quantum Information Theory" from June 23-27.

The conference celebrates the work of Professor Chris Godsil (right) and features 32 invited speakers from around the world. 122 participants from 19 countries will gather in the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre for the week-long conference.

Professor Godsil, who joined the University of Waterloo in 1987, works in the area of algebraic combinatorics. He has made many fundamental contributions to his research specialty, algebraic graph theory, which explores connections, often unexpected, between two apparently unrelated branches of mathematics: algebra and graph theory.

Professor Godsil's work has had a profound influence on the development of the subject, and has impacted the work of many researchers working in mathematics, physics and chemistry. He has co-authored two of the standard textbooks on the topic: Algebraic Graph Theory and Algebraic Combinatorics. In recent years, he has been a pioneer in using techniques from algebraic graph theory to address fundamental questions in quantum information theory including state transfer, graph isomorphism, and lines/measurements with restriction on their mutual angles.

The conference is organized by five of Professor Godsil's former PhD and postdoctoral students. In addition, nine of the lectures will be delivered by his current and former graduate students.

The conference is supported by funds from the University of Waterloo Faculty of Mathematics, Institute for Quantum Computing, Fields Institute, Perimeter Institute, National Science Foundation, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.


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Retirement celebration for Maryann Gavin

by Carrie Gabla.

After a rewarding and impactful career that spans 36 years with the University of Waterloo, Maryann Gavin, Senior Director in Advancement Services, is retiring.   

As a newcomer to the University in 1978 — the same year Burt Matthews was university president, the bronze boar was installed in front of Modern Languages, and polyester suits and shag haircuts were sported all across campus — Maryann worked in the correspondence program, the forerunner of today’s Centre for Extended Learning.

In 1980, Maryann became a founding member of the Office of Advancement when she joined Jon Dellandrea, the Director of Fundraising at the time, as his secretary. 

In the more than three decades since, there have been a lot of changes. Connie Weber, now a research officer in the Office of Advancement, worked with Maryann in those early days. “Back then we did all our work on typewriters and made copies using carbon paper. Eventually we got a ‘dumb’ terminal; personal computers didn’t come til MUCH later.”

If you’ve had the privilege of working with Maryann, you will know that the University is losing a valued colleague and a treasured friend, but we know she’s looking forward to spending summers at the cottage and more time with her young grandchildren.

A celebration will take place today from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in RAC 1 (in the David Johnston Research & Technology Park), Room 3004. Guests are encouraged to use the campus shuttle, or paid parking is available at RAC. 


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Graduate Studies Office closed Wednesday

The Graduate Studies Office will be closed from 12 noon to 1:30 on Wednesday, June 25.

Pension Lunch and Learn Wednesday

Human Resources will be offering a Lunch and Learn Pension session on Wednesday June 25 in AL 113 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

This session is titled “Retirement Planning Tools - Annual Pension Statement and myPENSIONinfo”.

"You should be receiving your Annual Pension Statement shortly so please ensure that you bring it along to the session," says the announcement from Human Resources.

"We look forward to having you join us! No need to register. Please feel free to bring your lunch!"

Link of the day

Public Service Day

When and where

Combinatorics & Optimization presents "Algebraic Combinatorics: Spectral Graph Theory, Erdos-Ko-Rado Theorems, and Quantum Information Theory," Monday, June 23 to Friday, June 27, Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre. Details.

Skills of Communication (Graduate students and post-docs only), Monday, June 23, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Retirement celebration for Maryann Gavin, Monday, June 23, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Room 3004, RAC 1, David Johnston Research + Technology Park.

Exploring Your Personality Type (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) Part II, Monday, June 23, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1214. Details.

Cheriton School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture Series presents Deborah Estrin, Cornell NYC Tech, "Small, n=me, data," Monday, June 23, 3:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Pluralism in the Quran: Possibilities, Monday, June 23, 6:30 p.m., Renison University College. Details.

Weight Watchers At Work registration session, Tuesday, June 24, 12:00 p.m., PAS 2438, info ext. 32218.

Management Consulting as a Career Option, Tuesday, June 24, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Velocity Science: Science Talk featuring Jessie McAlpine, Teacher Outreach Director of Science Expo. Tuesday, June 24, 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., EV3 4412. Register here for free Smoke's Poutine.

Work Search Strategies, Wednesday, June 25, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Human Resources Pension Lunch and Learn session, “Retirement Planning Tools – Annual Pension Statement and myPENSIONinfo,” Wednesday, June 25, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., AL 113.

Non-academic Work Search and Networking (Graduate students and post-docs only), Wednesday, June 25, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Retirement celebration for Susan Spaetzel, Wednesday, June 25, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., DC 1301. All are welcome.

Velocity Alpha: Finding Your Customers Online featuring Henry Shi, Co-Founder and CTO of uMentioned. Wednesday, June 25, 7:30 p.m. to  9:00 p.m., EV3 4412. Register here for free pizza. 

UW Farm Market, Thursday, June 26, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Lower Atrium. Details.

Teaching Philosophy Statement (Graduate students and post-docs only), Thursday, June 26, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.                

UWRC presents Re-Using Wooden Pallets, Thursday, June 26, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., SLC Multipurpose Room. Details.

Interview Skills: Proving Your Skills, Friday, June 27, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.                 

Canada Day Long Weekend, Monday, June 30 and Tuesday, July 1, university closed.

CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy featuring Christopher Parsons, Citizen Lab, University of Toronto, "Stuck on the Agenda—Lesson drawing from 'lawful access' issues in Canada," Friday, July 4, 2:00 p.m., DC 1304. Details.

Canadian Red Cross Blood Donor Drive, Tuesday, July 8 to Thursday, July 10, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Multipurpose Room.

UW Farm Market, Thursday, July 10, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Lower Atrium. Details.

IDEAS Summer Experience, Sunday, July 13 to Sunday, July 27. Details.

UW Farm Market, Thursday, July 17, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Lower Atrium. Details.


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