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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

  • Concern for injured prof; other notes
  • 'Caring people' an asset, says profile
  • Physics prof has national role
Chris Redmond

The man who created Woody Woodpecker

[Caution: fire trucks]

Fire drills scheduled for today in most campus buildings have been cancelled because of the nasty weather. Safety director Kevin Stewart says a full set of drills will not be rescheduled. "My thanks to the building evacuation co-ordinators and fire wardens," he adds, "for having reviewed their fire alarm procedures."

Concern for injured prof; other notes

[Macdonald] UW president David Johnston issued a statement yesterday afternoon about the shooting of mechanical engineering professor Rob Macdonald (right). "The university, through the offices of the Dean of Engineering and the Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department," he said, "is in touch with family members as well as Canadian government officials, and will do everything we can to bring Rob back to Canada quickly and assist with his recovery and whatever else may be needed." Macdonald is in hospital in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, with a bullet in his head following a street robbery Thursday night.

And friends at First United Church have announced details of a fund, set up through the Royal Bank, "to help cover expenses that may include (but are not limited to) travel, medical, and childcare costs and other expenses (long and short term) incurred because of the shooting". Donations can be made at any Royal Bank branch in Kitchener-Waterloo, to the "Robert Macdonald Fund", or mailed to Macdonald Fund, c/o First United Church, 16 William Street, Waterloo N2L 1J3, with cheques made out to "In trust for Robert Macdonald". More information about the fund is available from macdonald_fund@rogers.com.

In other matters today: it's not a lovely day for gardening, but heavy machinery is expected on campus about 2 p.m. to move the new granite boulders into position for the expansion of the Dorney Ecology Garden outside the Environmental Studies buildings. Some of the rocks -- pink granite from the Canadian shield -- weigh two tons or more, says ecology manager Larry Lamb, who will be overseeing the project. The garden expansion is to add a section featuring the flora of northern Ontario.

The Waterloo Advisory Council, representing employers of UW co-op students and graduates, began its spring meeting last night with a dinner and a talk by Carleton University professor Linda Duxbury. (A UW graduate, she's also the daughter of industrialist Roy Duxbury, who's a former chair of WAC.) Council meetings continue all day today in the Tatham Centre, discussing aspects of UW's work, changes to the co-op program, and similar issues.

Also continuing is the Employee Wellness Fair sponsored by the Employee Assistance Program. There are three seminars today: "Let's Get Physical" at 12 noon, "Mindfulness Mediation" at 1 p.m., and "Staying Connected in Your Relationships" at 7 p.m., all in Davis Centre room 1302. In addition, booths will be open in the Davis Centre lounge today and again tomorrow. "The vendors we have," says Megan Lindsay in health services, "range form massage therapists to nutritionists to herbalists to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The purpose of the fair is to encourage employees to take a proactive approach to their health and introduce them to some alternative or complementary therapies."

'Caring people' an asset, says profile

[Canning] "My true love is devising and convincing others to implement wacky fundraising ideas," says Trenny Canning (left) of the university secretariat, in a light-hearted interview published in a recent Gazette.

It appeared as one of the continuing series of free advertisements for the Keystone Campaign, featuring Keystone supporters across campus. The Keystone Campaign is the faculty, staff and retiree section of Campaign Waterloo, aimed at raising $4.5 million for UW by 2007.

The interview with Canning began by noting that she came to UW in the footsteps of her father, Duane Cook, a long-time staff member in the purchasing department who retired in 1996. "Canning joined UW in the Department of Psychology when she was only 17 years old," it says, "and she's never left!"

After three years there, she moved to management sciences, physics, and then the graduate studies office. She joined the secretariat in 1990 and holds the job title of associate university secretary. "My position involves serving a number of Senate, Board, and University-level committees/councils which, for the most part, means anticipating and providing for their needs," she says.

What do you like best about your job at UW? "My job is both stimulating and personally rewarding; each day is different. In addition to the variety of responsibilities and individuals with whom I work, my colleagues across campus make coming to work a pleasant experience. The University is full of caring people. Some time ago, when I was recovering from surgery, my colleagues (even though I no longer worked in that office) took turns cooking and delivering hot full-course meals for my family."

Why do you give to Waterloo? "The extent of need in our society has forced all of us to become more selective in the causes that we support. I believe strongly in giving back to the community and UW has been a consistent and major aspect of my life for 22 years. Students pay a lot of money to attend university and we must ensure that the quality of education they receive is what they deserve."

To what project do you designate your support? "The Senate Scholarship Fund. I'm all for maximizing my donations -- the University matches donations to this fund -- and for doing my part to help students afford university."

What keeps you busy outside of work? "My family -- husband, Warren, two daughters, Sydney and Taylor, aged 11 and 12, a 20 lb cat named Simba, a rabbit named Dandelion, and our new addition, a three-year-old Portuguese water dog named Menina. I serve on the Board of Directors of Kitchener/Waterloo Extend-a-family Association, an organization that serves families and children with developmental and physical disabilities."

And about those "wacky fundraising ideas": the photo in the Keystone ad shows Canning styling colleague Karen Jack's hair for a United Way "Wacky Hair Day" fundraiser in 2001. Alas, the monochrome photo doesn't do justice to Canning's own luminous hair colour.

Matt Maxwell, children's performer in French, 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

LT3 seminar, "Why Re-invent the Wheel? Re-using Generic Learning Tasks in UW Online Courses", second of two parts, Wednesday 10 a.m., Dana Porter Library room 329.

Kitchener-Waterloo Software Quality Association, Wednesday 11:45 lunch, Davis Centre room 1304.

Smarter health seminar by John Hirdes, health studies and gerontology, "Developing an Integrated Health Intelligence System", Wednesday 3 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

'Current Issues in Capital Markets', session for technology companies looking for financing, Wednesday 3 to 5 p.m. at Federation Hall, followed by reception at University Club, information online.

Southwestern Ontario Research Data Centre, mini-conference Friday from 10 a.m., McLaughlin Library, University of Guelph.

Women's car care clinic sponsored by the staff association, Saturday 9:30 a.m., information lemcginl@uwaterloo.ca.

Physics prof has national role -- from the UW media relations office

Physics professor Raymond Laflamme has been named program director of the Quantum Information Processing program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Quantum processing is a young field that draws on several scientific disciplines, including computer science, physics, chemistry, mathematics and engineering. Its aim is to understand how certain fundamental laws of physics can be harnessed to improve dramatically the acquisition, transmissions and processing of information.

CIAR's Quantum Information Processing program is seeking to make theoretical and experimental advances in such areas as quantum computing and communication, including cryptography, with the ultimate goal of turning theoretical ideas into physical reality.

After completing his PhD at Cambridge, Laflamme became a Killam post-doctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia. He returned to Cambridge in 1990 as a research fellow and then spent nine years at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In 2001, he returned to Canada to join the newly founded Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and UW, where he and colleague Michele Mosca head the Institute for Quantum Computing.

CIAR's quantum program advisory committee is chaired by Anthony Leggett of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics.


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