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Thursday, June 13, 2002

  • Convocation, day two: arts
  • Faculties struggle to find OGS funds
  • UW helps sponsor robot event
  • And a few other notes
Chris Redmond

'Pomp and Circumstance' for convocation | Play it

[Down the SLC steps]

Registrar Ken Lavigne and (carrying the mace) architecture director Rick Haldenby lead the procession toward the PAC for yesterday's convocation ceremony.

Convocation, day two: arts

Denis Desautels, former auditor-general of Canada and now director of a research centre at the University of Ottawa, will be the speaker this afternoon at the second session of UW's Eighty-fourth Convocation.

Desautels, who held the most important accounting job in the country from 1991 to 2001, worked with the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants' Public Sector Accounting and Auditing Standards Board to improve the standards governing public sector reporting and auditing.

Also receiving honorary degrees this afternoon are Very Rev. Stan McKay, former moderator of the United Church of Canada and a prominent figure in Christianity among Native Canadians, and Robert Prichard, president emeritus of the University of Toronto and now president and chief executive officer of Torstar Corp.

Today's convocation ceremony will see more than 900 degrees awarded from the faculty of arts, UW's largest faculty. Speaking as valedictorian on behalf of the graduates will be Tanya De Mello, who's receiving a BA in political science and economics. The gold medal winner, for top standing in the BA program, goes to Cristina Volpini, whose degree is in classical studies.

Also being presented today is a Governor General's Silver Medal, one of two given each year for top standing in bachelor's degree programs. Today's winner is Camille Ruest, receiving a degree from the French teaching program.

Two UW faculty members will also be honoured during the ceremony. Tom Yoder Neufeld of Conrad Grebel College receives a Distinguished Teacher Award, as announced earlier this spring. Phyllis Young Forsyth, recently retired from UW, becomes distinguished professor emeritus -- or rather emerita, since that's the feminine form of the adjective, and as a classical studies professor she knows about Latin grammar.

The convocation ceremony starts at 2:00 this afternoon in the Physical Activities Complex. And the great and small are both expected to be there -- including, in one category or the other, Pat Matlock of UW's information systems and technology department, who today receives the BA in art history that he's been earning.


The food services department has been running a contest to find a name for the renovated cafeteria in Ron Eydt Village. Contest entries have been narrowed down to three, and they'd like Daily Bulletin readers to help pick the winner. . . .

What name do you like best?

  Eydt's Place
  West Side Café


Faculties struggle to find OGS funds -- by Barbara Elve, from this week's Gazette

UW students continue to rank near the top in garnering Ontario Graduate Scholarships, a distinction that is becoming costly for the university.

Students apply for the OGS in the final year of undergraduate studies, and take the award with them to the university where they pursue graduate studies. Last year, UW students were awarded 244 Ontario Graduate Scholarships. That number jumped to 311 for 2002-03, with 47 per cent of UW applicants -- the highest percentage of any university in the province -- receiving OGS awards.

In the past, the province funded the awards, valued at $12,000 per year. Now, the university where the student attends graduate school is required to pay $5,000 of each $15,000 OGS, with the Ontario government kicking in $10,000.

Last year, UW's contribution was $750,000 in matching funds to support 150 OGS award winners enrolled in graduate studies at Waterloo. "The demand for matching support likely will rise this year," says Jim Frank, associate dean of graduate studies.

Under the current system, the matching funds are the responsibility of each faculty. Since last year was the first time universities were responsible for funding a portion of the awards, the central budget helped. "This year, that may happen to a lesser extent," says dean of graduate studies Jake Sivak.

OGS awards have been presented this year to 102 students from the engineering faculty, and to 68 students in the arts faculty. Awards in other faculties include 49 in mathematics, 44 in science, 26 in applied health sciences and 22 in environmental studies.

For some faculties, the increasing number of OGS awards presents a best of times/worst of times scenario. While graduate programs are eager to attract OGS recipients, they must be able to provide the $5,000 in matching funds for each OGS student they admit.

"There's a heightened awareness of the need for fundraising for graduate studies," Sivak adds, noting that to fund OGS awards at last year's $750,000 level, an endowment of $20 million would be needed. The office of development and alumni affairs is "actively campaigning for donations to match OGS awards," Sivak notes.

The faculty of arts has the biggest problem. Dean of arts Bob Kerton is hoping an "angel investor" will provide an endowment that can be used to help support the scholarships. In the arts faculty, donations to the school of accountancy and departments of English and psychology will each help fund two OGS recipients on a one-time basis, and fine arts department patron Win Shantz's gift of $20,000 per year can also be used toward OGS funding, said Kerton. However, some faculty of arts departments "have no money, period." And with the number of OGS applicants expected to rise this year, "arts is not in a comfortable position."

The administration has promised funding for 24 OGS winners this year, Kerton said -- money that's "absolutely essential to the survival of our graduate programs."

UW helps sponsor robot event

An open house tonight offers information about the FIRST robotics competition -- and the next one.

FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, and a robotics competition under that was held in Canada under that title for the first time this spring. UW was there, providing sponsorship, judging and hoping to recruit some of the top secondary school participants.

A non-profit organization founded in 1989 by U.S. inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, FIRST inspires students to take a look at further studies and careers in engineering, technology and science. Last year more than 25,000 students from 500 high schools participated in FIRST Robotics programs in the United States.

Held in Mississauga, the FIRST Robotics Competition Canadian Regional -- the first regional contest held outside the U.S. -- attracted some 2,000 students from 26 Canadian and 19 U.S. high schools, becoming the largest high school robotics competition in Canada. Students were given six weeks to design, build, and test a robot within size, weight, cost and other design guidelines. At the three-day event, the robots were required to work both cooperatively and in competition with each other in games that challenged their limits.

UW helped sponsor the competition with a $5,000 donation, and UW electrical and computer engineering professor Rob Gorbet served as a judge. As well, Mark Breadner, a UW mathematics alumni, was project leader for the contest, and UW co-op student Ian McKenzie assisted.

Julie Primeau and Heather MacKenzie from undergraduate recruitment were at the competition, along with Kim Boucher (engineering) and two UW student ambassadors, Barry Harrison and Catherine McLeod.

Organizers, including Gorbet and Breadner, have invited anyone interested, especially possible sponsors, to an "informal drop-in session" from 4 to 6 this afternoon, and a presentation at 7 p.m. followed by robot demonstrations and discussion. The open house will take place in Davis Centre room 1304.

Co-op forum next week

A public forum will be held next Wednesday, June 19, to release the results of the recent co-op student "satisfaction survey". Representatives of the co-op department and the Federation of Students will be there to comment and answer questions. The event will start at 4:30 next Wednesday in Arts Lecture Hall room 116. Everyone is welcome.

And a few other notes

This morning brings the technical speaker competition in UW's faculty of engineering, sponsored by the Sandford Fleming Foundation. Competitions have been going on within the departments; tomorrow at 10:00, the winners from the departments face off for a $300 first prize. Today's talk takes place in Doug Wright Engineering room 2534.

All day today" a one-day workshop on "issues in community re-entry" for brain injury patients. The event is sponsored by the Centre for Applied Health Research and takes place in the Clarica Auditorium, Lyle Hallman Institute.

Mario Molina of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Nobel prize winner in chemistry, receives his honorary degree on Friday, and will lecture this afternoon on "The Antarctic Ozone Hole":

The ozone layer shields the earth's surface from damaging ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Over the past two decades, severe ozone depletion has been observed in the spring in the stratosphere over Antarctica. In 1974, we predicted that the release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) of industrial origin would lead to the production of chlorine free radicals in the stratosphere, with the consequent catalytic destruction of ozone. Laboratory and field measurements have clearly established that ozone depletion at high and mid latitudes is indeed caused by CFCs. There is an international agreement in place, the Montreal Protocol, which led to the complete phase out of these compounds in industrialized countries by the end of 1995. It will take several decades for the ozone layer to recover because of the very long atmospheric residence times of the CFCs. Progress toward the recovery of the stratospheric ozone layer will be discussed in this presentation.
The talk will start at 3:00 in Davis Centre room 1350.

Tonight brings "Miracle on Melville Street", a by-invitation event in support of the new home for UW's school of architecture, on soon-to-be-fashionable Melville Street in the old Galt core of Cambridge. Tickets for the evening, including refreshments, music, exhibits, and words from VIPs, are $45 from the architecture school office; the party will run from 6:30 p.m. to midnight.

And in case nobody's been noticing, the soccer World Cup tournament is under way. (Somebody's been noticing: I drove onto campus this morning right behind a PT Cruiser waving a proud, if slightly ragged, Cross of St. George, the flag of England.) Tonight, the Graduate House is sponsoring a "mixer" with international food and door prizes, starting at 9:00. "Show your colours! Support your team! Bring your flags and jerseys! Watch World Cup soccer all June on our big screen TV!"



June 13, 1995: The Waterloo Centre for Groundwater Research hosts the first annual get-together for its corporate and government partners.

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