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University of Waterloo -- Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Tuesday, May 27, 1997

How the university began

The University of Waterloo, these days ranked first in Canada as "most innovative" and "best overall" and such-like, was just a gleam in Gerry Hagey's eye forty years ago. How the dream became a reality is the topic of a Founders Lecture this afternoon, in which Ken McLaughlin, who's writing the history of the university, tells about "The Unconventional Founding of an Unconventional University".

The lecture, one of the major events of UW's 40th anniversary celebrations, will be given at 3:30 p.m. in the Theatre of the Arts, and everyone is welcome.

Much of the story, of course, is known. The 1950s were a time of change for Ontario education, with the existing universities moving from religious affiliation to government support, and preparing to expand for the post-war baby boom. Hagey had recently moved from a career with B. F. Goodrich Canada Ltd. to become president of his alma mater, Waterloo College, but he had bigger ideas, and had talked with friends and colleagues from industry, including Goodrich president Ira Needles. By December 1955 a pioneering group had decided that Waterloo College had to go beyond its traditional work in the arts; they would create a science faculty, soon redefined to mean an engineering school.

Teachers of engineering and basic science signed on for what seemed a risky venture. The college built a chemistry lab in its arts building, the provincial government gave an initial grant of $625,000, and the biggest industry in town, Seagram's distillery, donated money towards a stadium and gymnasium, the sort of thing a growing college would be sure to need. In July 1957, the first classes began at Waterloo College Associate Faculties. And the rest is history.

McLaughlin will have more to tell this afternoon, drawing on the research he's been doing in archives and through interviews with those who remember UW's early days and are still around to tell about them. After the lecture, an invitation-only reception will see the unveiling of a plaque to honour UW's founders, defined as the members of the board of governors in those early, building years. The reception is being held at St. Jerome's College, in part to recognize the status of St. Jerome's, founded 1865, as the oldest component of what's now UW; its president in the 1950s, Rev. C. L. Siegfried, was among the university's pioneers.

Here's what the plaque will say:

From 1957 to 1962 the following served on the University's Board of Governors. It was during these formative years that decisions and plans were made that set the direction for what the University has become.

J. S. Bauer * C. R. Bronfman * J. G. Brown * G. J. Chaplin * C. M. Dare * F. Dreger * W. H. Evans * W. F. Franke * K. H. Gruetzner * H. L. Guy * J. G. Hagey * L. W. Hahn * H. J. Heasley * G. R. Henderson * P. R. Hilborn * A. W. Hopton * K. R. Hymmen * A. R. Kaufman * H. C. Krug * F. S. Kumpf * H. M. Lackner * S. F. Leavine * R. B. Marr * J. Meinzinger * J. E. Motz * I. G. Needles * H. Paikin * A. Paleczny * C. A. Pollock * D. H. Porter * A. I. Rosenberg * J. Sanderson * L. M. Savage * M. M. Schneckenburger * J. W. Scott * N. R. Shaw * K. J. Shea * E. J. Shoemaker * J. K. Sims * A. M. Snider * H. C. Templin * O. W. Titus * J. P. R. Wadsworth * H. E. Wambold * C. N. Weber * L. J. Whitney * H. J. Ziegler * A. K. Adlington (Secretary to the Board 1958-1962)

Convocation begins tomorrow

Proud families will converge on UW Wednesday through Saturday, for the five sessions of the Seventy-Fourth Convocation, in which 2,962 students will receive the degrees and diplomas they've earned.

Some of them will also take home gold medals and other special honours, or be heard speaking as valedictorians on behalf of their graduating classes. Also at the convocation ceremonies, distinguished academics and public figures will receive honorary degrees and speak to the graduates and the audience. And UW will celebrate some of its own as "distinguished teacher", "distinguished professor emeritus" and "honorary member of the university".

All the convocation ceremonies -- to be held in the main gym of the Physical Activities Complex -- are open to anyone interested. (Thursday, when space is at a premium, priority will be given to visitors with guest tickets; tickets aren't required at all on other days.) Ceremonies start at 2 p.m., except on Saturday when there's also a 10 a.m. ceremony.

"Parking Services would appreciate," says a note from manager Elaine Koolstra, "if anyone who is able to carpool do so, to allow additional space for our graduates, their families and friends. This would provide us with additional spaces close to the Physical Activities Complex. Also, please be careful due to the additional traffic prior to the ceremonies."

Now, the rest of the story


Bare-bones report

Whatever the rumour says, those weren't real body parts that turned up yesterday in the library book return box outside Matthews Hall. It was a bit of a shock to the central stores driver who opened the box, though, to find a skull, a few other bones and a brain in with the legitimate contents of the box. The disjecta membra turned out to be plastic, and are thought to belong to UW's kinesiology department, though by the end of the afternoon yesterday it wasn't clear how they got out of their home and into the drop box.
Staff and faculty in the so-called "sandwich generation" should plan to bring their sandwiches tomorrow. The occasion is a brown-bag lunch session on "issues and experiences of having to deal with an elderly parent while also perhaps being in a position of caring for one's own children". The speaker is Peter Naus, recently retired from St. Jerome's College and now in "private practice focussing on counselling individuals with life transition issues". Tomorrow's session is sponsored by UW's Employee Assistance Program, and starts at noon in Math and Computer room 4045 (that's a change from the previously announced room). A flyer inviting RSVPs went out a couple of weeks ago, but there are some seats left, says Johan Reis of health services, who's accepting last-minute reservations at ext. 4830.

The Centre for Advanced Studies in Finance hosts a short course today on "Finance: Some Current Research". Four talks will be given in Davis Centre room 1302; the speakers come from Stanford, Texas at Austin, Queen's, and Genesis Development.

Finally -- apologies to some readers of yesterday's Bulletin, who read that the director of UW's audio-visual centre until last year was Geoff Downie. It's true that Downie was the director for many years, but he retired in 1991, and for five years Ron Russell was the A-V director.


May 27, 1961: UW awards its first bachelor's degrees, eleven in arts and five in science. May 27, 1964: A Toronto branch of the UW alumni association is organized.

Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca -- (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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