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Friday, June 14, 2002

  • A highlight: three silver medals
  • Warrior escapes Silicon madness
  • Firm brings Internet into the car
  • The rest of what's happening
Chris Redmond

Sunday is Bloomsday

[Two seated at monitors]

From a back corner, a video crew keeps an eye on the PAC stage. No, there is no webcast of this year's convocation proceedings.

A highlight: three silver medals

Two silver medals from the Governor General of Canada are no longer enough to recognize UW's top graduates, and the university is now authorized to give out three each year, registrar Ken Lavigne said yesterday.

The second of this year's three Governor General's Silver Medals will be awarded today as UW's Eighty-fourth Convocation moves into its third session, focusing on the faculty of science. Today's medal will be presented to Adrian Delmaestro, receiving his degree in physics and mathematics.

The first Silver Medal was handed out yesterday, to Camille Ruest of French studies, and the third will be presented tomorrow morning to Graeme Kemkes of computer science and pure mathematics.

[Medal] Today's convocation ceremony starts at 2:00 in the Physical Activities Complex. There are two sessions Saturday: at 10 a.m. for mathematics and at 2 p.m. for engineering.

At each ceremony, there will also be an alumni gold medal, recognizing the top graduate from that faculty other than a winner of the Governor General's medal. Taking home the gold will be Graeme Couture (biochemistry) for science, Jason Hicken (applied math) for mathematics, and Stuart Doherty (systems design) for engineering.

And Saturday afternoon's ceremony will see the presentation of a Governor General's Gold Medal (pictured above) as well. That medal recognizes a top student at the graduate level -- this year Erik Demaine, receiving his PhD in computer science for a thesis titled "Folding and Unfolding".

Many other awards are also on the agenda for the three remaining convocation ceremonies, along with degrees by the hundreds for proud graduates surrounded by beaming families. Each time, one graduate will speak publicly on behalf of the rest, giving a short address as valedictorian. Today's speaker for science is Jennifer Quinn (biology), tomorrow morning's for mathematics is Cecilia Cotton (statistics), and Saturday afternoon's for engineering is the same Stuart Doherty who's collecting the gold medal.

Five retired faculty will become "distinguished professor emeritus" at the Saturday afternoon ceremony: Francis Dullien (chemical engineering), Terry Hollands (mechanical), Jon Mark (electrical and computer), Murray Moo-Young (chemical), and Andrew Wong (systems design).

Other convocation highlights will include presentation of cheques to UW from the graduating classes -- the Plummers' Pledge at engineering convocation always draws cheers -- and such special awards as the J. W. Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation, being given this year to alumnus Peter Savich. (More about him in a moment.)

The honorary degree recipients at the three remaining convocation ceremonies are, Friday, Mario Molina (ozone layer research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Rudolf Zahradnik (physical chemistry, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences); Saturday morning, David Wilkie (creator of stochastic investment models) and Alexander Schrijver (mathematical programming, University of Amsterdam); Saturday afternoon, Micheline Bouchard (Motorola, partnerships with education) and Ray Bartnikas (high-voltage engineering, UW adjunct professor). Molina, Wilkie and Bouchard will give the convocation addresses.

Warrior escapes Silicon madness -- from the UW news bureau

Peter Savich, a UW graduate and now a top information technology strategist living in California, will receive the 2002 J.W. Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation at UW's spring convocation tomorrow morning, and will give a seminar on campus today.

His talk, "Trapped in Silicon Valley During the Grand Chase," will take place at 2:30 p.m. in Davis Centre room 1302. Admission is free.

Savich is the eighth recipient of the J.W. Graham Medal, awarded annually to a UW mathematics graduate who embodies the qualities shown by the late Wes Graham. Known as the "father of computing at Waterloo," Graham made many innovative contributions to UW and to Canada's computer industry. He created the computing infrastructure that has made a name for Waterloo in computing circles worldwide, and founded the university's first spinoff company.

Growing up in Cambridge, Ontario, Savich attended Preston High School. He enrolled in the faculty of mathematics' computer science program and graduated with his bachelor of mathematics degree in 1985 and his master's in 1987.

Besides graduating on the Dean's Honours List, Savich was one of UW's outstanding varsity basketball players. A member of the all-star teams at both the Ontario and the Canadian levels, he was named more than once as the Most Valuable Player, and was the 1985 Canadian Universities Player of the Year. He still holds the Warrior record as the all-time leading scorer with a career record of 3,325 points. UW retired his uniform in recognition of this achievement

After graduation, Savich played semi-professional basketball in Greece for one year before attending law school at Stanford University. After four years of practicing law in San Francisco, where he specialized in assisting high tech companies, Savich joined an Internet start-up company VXtreme in 1996 as director of business and legal affairs. At VXtreme, he prepared the launch of the company's external video capture device product and managed the start-up of the company service business prior to its acquisition by Microsoft.

From 1997 to 1999, Savich served as a business development manager at Microsoft, where he defined and communicated group strategy and negotiated strategic business deals for several Microsoft units. In 1999, he co-founded Biztro (later known as Rivio, Inc.) to deliver integrated web-based business services for customers. As vice-president of strategic development for Biztro/Rivio, Savich was responsible for the company's financial and strategic matters. In 2001, he became a consultant for Overture, a search-engine company that competes with Google.


Alumni in faraway places can stay connected to UW through this miniature CD-ROM, distributed recently to bring UW information, nostalgic video and even a message from the president. The CD was created for UW's alumni affairs program by Catapult Interactive Inc., a company rich in Waterloo alumni.

UW also comes to alumni with special events in faraway places -- a pub night tonight in Vancouver, for instance, and the annual Southern Ontario Alumni Reunion on Vancouver's Jericho Beach tomorrow.

Firm brings Internet into the car -- a release from the UW news bureau

C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. has announced the completion of the development of its unique proprietary mobile satellite antenna, which delivers two-way high-speed Internet access into vehicles. The antenna, jointly developed with the University of Waterloo, allows vehicles (while stationary) to access the Internet at high speed without the use of any terrestrial connections.

The iNetVu Mobile 74 antenna is capable of delivering up to 1Mbps download speeds into vehicles. The antenna is fully automatic and once installed on top of a vehicle or structure, will automatically locate the satellite broadband service, enabling the user to connect to the Internet at high speed. The antenna automatically stows to a height of 26 centimetres for traveling. It will be mass-produced and marketed by the fourth quarter of this year.

Report in yesterday's Record
"C-COM is very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the University of Waterloo to develop this uniquely Canadian technology," said Leslie Klein, president and CEO of C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.

"The iNetVu Mobile 74 antenna combines Canadian engineering ingenuity with two-way Internet service to deliver an unbeatable solution to a large number of mobile subscribers in Canada, the U.S., Caribbean, Mexico and everywhere else where two-way high-speed Internet service is presently being deployed. C-COM will be delivering a complete end-to-end solution to the mobile customer by providing the antenna, the installation, the billing and the 24/7 service support," Klein added.

"We have found our experience working with C-COM to be highly encouraging and mutually beneficial," said Safieddin Safavi-Naeini of UW's department of electrical and computer engineering. "The research project has given us the opportunity to examine how our technology works in the real world," he added.

Safavi-Naeini, the project's director and system architect, said it was carried out in the Radio Frequency (RF)/Microwave and Photonics Lab of the E&CE department.

Also involved in the research work were four electrical and computer engineering students (Rene Lato, Jo-Anne Ting, Farzad Khalvati and Kamyar Ziaei) and three mechanical engineering students (Derry Crymble, Hamidreza Karbasi and Mike Armata).

"Many subtle parts were made on campus in our mechanical shops," he said.

[All over the front counter]

The research office definitely has all its ducks in a row. The collection at the Needles Hall desk started as a stress relief effort, with six ducks a-swimming, but then more of them started appearing, with the inevitable goofiness and punning notes. Lining up their display are Christina Kuehl, Megan Campbell and Lynda McCutcheon.

The rest of what's happening

The Star and Record report that prime minister Jean Chrétien will be in Waterloo today to deliver a $25 million grant to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, an institution with close ties to UW. It's currently in temporary quarters in downtown Waterloo -- the same building where UW's school of optometry camped three decades ago -- while its permanent building is erected on the shores of Silver Lake.

Co-op students hoping for fall term jobs can get a preview over the weekend of how employers who have interviewed them ranked them. The information should be available on the Access computer system starting late this afternoon. Ranking forms, when the students have to respond to employers' choices, will be available Tuesday.

The weekend brings Summerfest at Federation Hall, and if you don't have your tickets for the party already it's probably too late. "Surfers' Paradise" seems to be the theme; a volleyball tournament is also planned; and if you don't get into Fed, there's always the Bombshelter in the Student Life Centre, which tonight is offering a "CKMS Showcase" of entertainment, free.

Something called ACTUA is holding its Ontario regional conference at UW over the weekend, talking about "creative learning programs" for children and young people. The local host: Bill Baer, of UW's Engineering Science Quest day camp program.

The Academy of Dance has UW's Humanities Theatre sewn up for the weekend, with performances tonight at 8:30, Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Dragon boat season is upon us, leading up to the Waterloo Regional Dragon Boat Festival, to be held at Laurel Creek conservation area, just north of campus, on July 20. A UW alumni team has been organized for that and other competitions, under the name of Ruckus, and organizer Mike Bluhm (mbluhm@uwaterloo.ca) reports that it'll have its first competition this Sunday at a regatta in Welland, Ontario. Watch for news. . . .

Monday will bring the 13th annual Matthews Golf Classic, being held at the Grand Valley Golf and Country Club. Organizers report that they have 92 staff, faculty and hangers-on signed up for the event, a slightly bigger turnout than last year's.

And Monday evening brings a talk of some interest on campus: Colleen McEdwards, UW graduate and now CNN television's correspondent in Moscow, will speak under a title that's as long as most TV news reports: "Corporate influences on Canadian and American news: The increasing concentration of corporate ownership and how that changes the way we get our information". The talk is scheduled for 7:00 Monday night in Davis Centre room 1304.

Canada Day is almost here (comes on July 1, ready or not), and the annual north campus celebrations, including fireworks at the end of the day, definitely will be happening again this year. The event is jointly sponsored by UW (through the community relations office) and the Federation of Students (with the help of many, many student volunteers), and people are very much wanted to help make the thing a success. Roles are available in security, arts and crafts, concessions, children's activities, the stage, and so on -- well, check the web site. I'll be saying more about Canada Day in the days to come.



June 14, 1982: Provincial sales tax is charged for the first time on meals eaten in the UW residences.

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