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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

  • Kitchener decision due June 29
  • Green man profiled by Keystone
  • UW gives medal to RIM executive
Chris Redmond

Magna Carta, this day in 1215

[Three figures seen from back]

These hoods will be seen for the first time at this week's convocation ceremonies. They represent degrees that have not been awarded until this year: Master of Management Sciences (with red lining and green stripe), Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (purple lining), and Bachelor of Computer Science (wine border and gold braid). Convocation ceremonies are scheduled Wednesday afternoon for applied health sciences, environmental studies and independent studies; Thursday for arts; Friday for science; Saturday morning for mathematics; and Saturday afternoon for engineering.

Kitchener decision due June 29

Kitchener city council heard an hour's worth of presentations last night about the proposed UW "health sciences campus" on a former industrial property, and will make a decision June 29 about contributing $30 million in building costs as well as a parcel of land.

Speakers at the council meeting, where a "business case" for the project was presented, included UW president David Johnston; Frank Pizzuto, general manager of community services for the city; and Joseph Lee, representing a group of local family doctors who want to establish a Family Medicine Teaching Centre as part of the proposed campus. It would also be the home for a UW school of pharmacy, associated with the University of Toronto's faculty of pharmacy.

Says a city of Kitchener news release issued after the meeting: "The business case demonstrates that a downtown Health Sciences Campus would attract more health professionals including doctors to the area, further the region's position as a global biotechnology centre, and revitalize Kitchener's downtown core. . . .

"The Health Sciences Campus still needs to be approved by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The Family Medicine Teaching Centre will help meet the Province's key priority of improving access to family physicians, and the School of Pharmacy will address the need for pharmacists, graduating 120 each year. . . .

"The Campus is part of the City of Kitchener's bold strategy to build on the strong education and knowledge creation cluster that exists in the region. It follows a partnership that will see Wilfrid Laurier University move its Faculty of Social Work to Downtown Kitchener. . . . The influx of over 1200 students, staff and faculty into the City's core will generate significant economic development benefits for the downtown. The redevelopment of vacant and under-utilized land and buildings will revitalize the area. . . .

"If approved, the School of Pharmacy could be under construction by 2006, with the first students arriving in 2007. The Family Medicine Teaching Centre will begin phase I in space near the new campus in 2005, in order to provide for new medical trainees for the 2005-2006 academic year."

The release quotes UW provost Amit Chakma: "The expansion of the University of Waterloo to a Kitchener campus is a dream come true. Not only will this help to build our community, it will also greatly expand the academic and research capacity of the university in such critical areas as health sciences, medicinal chemistry and much more in future. Certainly one of our aims is to build on these emerging partnerships and provide not only expanded pharmacy education for all Ontarians, but eventually also create an infrastructure to help train medical doctors for the Region."


Green man profiled by Keystone

It's a colourful name for a fine arts professor: Art Green. That's the campus figure (left) who's in the limelight in the most recent Keystone Campaign donor profile, published as a free display ad in last week's Gazette.

Says the profile, prepared by staff for the Keystone Campaign: "Since starting his career at UW as an assistant professor in 1977, Art has seen a lot of growth and change in his department. Now located in East Campus Hall, the Fine Arts department has graduated many talented artists over the years, most of whom have been in at least one or two of Art's classes."

What do you value about the University? "In 1977, I thought I'd only be here for a year, but then one of my colleagues pointed out that I needed to stick around for at least another three years to see how my first-year class turned out. Over the years, the commitment and dedication of both the staff and the students has kept me around -- they're truly devoted to what they are doing. I'm also so impressed with the sincerity, idealism, and seriousness of our students."

What motivated you personally to give? "I've been donating to the Senate Scholarship Fund for a while, which is great because the University matches my donation. I feel privileged to teach at Waterloo, but every day I come into contact with the lack of funding. A big area of concern for me was the lack of scholarships in our graduate program -- I saw the need for better scholarships and so I began to donate."

What's on the horizon for Art Green the artist? "I have two shows planned for September 2005 -- one is a retrospective exhibition of my work from the last 35 years. That show will be featured at the K-W Gallery. The second show will be an exhibit of my current work and will take place at the University Art Gallery in East Campus Hall. Gary Michael Dault, art critic for the Globe and Mail, will be writing the catalogue that will accompany the exhibit."

If you could invite three famous people to dinner, who would they be? "It's hard to narrow it down to just three, and I'm lucky enough to have lunch with a lot of great people (famous or not) here in Waterloo on a regular basis. I wish I could have had lunch with a few artists before they died: Greg Curnoe, an artist from London, Ontario, who was killed in a cycling accident in 1992; an American sculptor by the name of H. C. Westermann; and finally, an eccentric British painter by the name of Stanley Spencer."

Elections Canada voters' list revision, 11:30 to 3:30, Student Life Centre.

'Assessment Questions' workshop sponsored by teaching resource office, 12 noon, Math and Computer room 5158, details online.

Chemistry lecture, Pfizer Synthetic Organic Lectureship, William Roush, University of Michigan, speaks on "Recent Studies on the Total Synthesis of Natural Products", 3:30, McNaughton Building room 105, University of Guelph, sponsored by Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Career workshop, "Successfully Negotiating Job Offers", 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

'Let's Dance' spring recital, 6:00, Humanities Theatre.

'One Book, Three Pubs', pub crawl and readings sponsored by The New Quarterly, tonight, information and tickets 884-8111 ext. 290.

Halifax alumni pub night tonight, Alexander Keith's Brewery.

UW gives medal to RIM executive -- from the UW media relations office

Waterloo graduate David Yach, a vice-president of Research In Motion (RIM), will receive the 2004 J.W. Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation during spring convocation for mathematics on Saturday morning.

As a recipient of this prestigious award, Yach will present the Graham Medal Seminar on Friday. His talk, titled "The Evolution of Software Efficiency: From Saving Bytes to Saving You an Hour a Day," will take place at 1:30 p.m. in Davis Centre room 1302. The public is welcome; admission is free (pre-register online to reserve a seat or call ext. 3638).

In his talk, Yach will discuss how the types of efficiencies sought from computers 20 years ago have changed, and how and when the skills of software developers of earlier years can still be applied today. His company is the well-known maker of the popular BlackBerry wireless communications device.

Today's emphasis on making people effective often leads to a completely different way of looking at the type of software developed and the tools and techniques used to create it. Although these two types of efficiencies appear to be completely opposing, they are often complementary, and in fact are just two different viewpoints on the same problem -- optimizing overall system efficiency given a set of constraints.

Yach, a seasoned executive with a broad range of experience in the software industry, a key figure in the success of Watcom, SQL Anywhere (Sybase), and now Research In Motion, is the 10th recipient of the J. W. Graham Medal. It's awarded annually to a UW mathematics graduate who embodies the qualities shown by the late professor Wes Graham. Known as the "father of computing at Waterloo," Graham made many innovative contributions to UW and Canada's computer industry. He led teams of experts who created the software that established UW's world-renowned reputation in computing. Also, he established the model used so successfully in creating many of the spin-off computer companies from the university's research and innovation.

A native of Cambridge, Yach received his Bachelor of Mathematics degree from UW in 1983 and an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1988. After completing his undergraduate degree, he went to work for Watcom, an early UW spinoff, developing language interpreters and compilers.

Yach has been at RIM since 1998, and in addition to his management responsibilities has continued to be involved in the design (and sometimes the implementation) of the end-to-end BlackBerry. He is the inventor or co-inventor on numerous patents and patent applications. Yach, as senior vice-president (software) for RIM, has overall responsibility for the full range of software produced by the company, including low-level signal processing on DSPs, handheld device real-time operating system, handheld-based Java Virtual Machine, Java-based handheld applications and Windows NT based corporate servers, all the way through to a fully redundant distributed server network operating centre.

The Graham Medal Seminar is sponsored by UW's faculty of mathematics.


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