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Thursday, June 17, 2004

  • UN official speaks at arts convocation
  • The people this week brings
  • Aboriginal event set for Monday
Chris Redmond

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

[Zanna reading]

UN official speaks at arts convocation

Mark Zanna (left) of the psychology department will be installed today as one of UW's initial three University Professors. That's a new rank created last year to recognize "exceptional scholarly achievement and international pre-eminence".

Zanna, a specialist in "attitudes" in the social psychology division, will receive his new title during this afternoon's session of the Eighty-Eighth Convocation. Says the convocation program: "Letters of support from external referees, themselves among the most accomplished social psychologists in the world, describe Professor Zanna as a 'giant in the field', known worldwide for path-breaking contribution in stereotypes, attitudes, prejudice and persuasion. They go on to describe him as a scholar 'whose enormous contributions have helped to lay the foundations of much of our science for years to come' and also as being 'internationally recognized as one of the greatest graduate student advisors in social psychology'."

It's the busiest day of spring convocation, with presentation of degrees and honours from the faculty of arts. The ceremony starts at 2 p.m. in the Physical Activities Complex, and the reception afterwards will be in the Student Life Centre.

[Showing off the scenery] There will be a repeat appearance by Julie Sperling, who yesterday received a degree in environment and resource studies and the alumni gold medal for the environmental studies faculty. (I said in yesterday's Daily Bulletin that she was graduating in geography. That was based on incorrect online information; in fact, it's ERS.) Today, Sperling (pictured, right, on the set of a 2002 Spanish Club play) collects a second degree, this one in Spanish translation, and will speak as the valedictorian on behalf of graduating arts students.

Visiting celebrities today are Louise Fréchette, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, and art historian Joyce Zemans. Both will receive honorary degrees, and Fréchette will give the convocation address.

A former dean of fine arts at York University and a former director of the Canada Council for the Arts, Zemans is the author of major texts on important Canadian artists. Among her most recent publications are a study of the impact of reproductions on the development of Canadian art, an examination of the position of women artists in Canada at the turn of the century and an analysis of Canadian cultural policy in the global context.

Canadian-born Fréchette is the most senior woman in the United Nations structure in New York. She chairs the Steering Committee on Reform and Management Policy and the Advisory Board of the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships. She formerly served as Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, associate deputy minister in the department of finance and deputy minister of national defence.

Mother and daughter graduating together today -- from the UW media relations office
Among other honours to be presented today: Distinguished Professor Emeritus status to Arnold Ages, recently retired from the department of French studies; Distinguished Teacher Awards to Vera Golini (Italian, St. Jerome's University) and Harriet Lyons (anthropology); Governor-General's Silver Medal (one of three representing top rank among this year's graduates) to Paul Mastrodicasa, who's receiving a BA in economics; Alumni Gold Medal for high rank among arts graduates to Adam Laiken, whose BA is in chartered accountancy.

Notes from yesterday's convocation: Valedictorian for the day was Susan Greer Brown, graduating in kinesiology. . . . Chancellor Mike Lazaridis took the opportunity to tell graduates how important it will be to vote in the June 28 federal election. . . . Barriers and signs were arranged in a different pattern from what's been used in recent years, in attempt to make photography easier for proud family members. . . .

The people this week brings

Walking over to the PAC before yesterday's convocation ceremony, I realized that two different worlds were occupying the same campus. For UW officials and hundreds of graduating students and thousands of guests, not to mention the parking staff and the people setting out refreshments in the Student Life Centre and the audio-visual experts checking the cameras, the whole university consisted of convocation. And yet people were walking to classes, there was [Kile] cheerful music echoing from the Bombshelter, and even inside the PAC the squash games were continuing a few feet away from the proud parents with their arms full of bouquets. Students graduate; the university goes on.

And convocation week brings a number of distinguished visitors who, in addition to picking up awards on the platform, take the opportunity to give seminars or otherwise engage with academic life. Among them would be Lt.-Col. James Kile, who stood out at yesterday's ceremony (right) because he was on the platform in military uniform rather than academic garb. Kile is a Canadian Forces physician and senior medical advisor, and was here to receive the Alumni Achievement Award from the faculty of applied health sciences. He'll be speaking today on "Humanitarianism, Medicine and Peacekeeping for Canada", at 1:30 in the Clarica Auditorium, Matthews Hall.

  • City of Waterloo hold workshops on 'corporate strategic plan'
  • Education policies of 'big three' political parties (U of Alberta)
  • Canadian Interuniversity Sport annual general meeting highlights
  • Staff at Western plan strike vote
  • Just created: InterAmerican Network of Academies of Sciences
  • Smith College graduates its first engineers
  • Australian graduates 'failing the university of life'
  • Spam mostly coming from infected machines, Waterloo firm reports
  • National report on campus food banks
  • UW's Chapman and O'Hara-Hines named 'professional statisticians'
  • The controversy about Chief Illiniwek
  • California enrolment crisis is predicted
  • Positive step for RIM in patent controversy
  • At 3:30, people in computer science and kindred fields can hear from John Chambers of Bell Labs in New Jersey, who will be receiving an honorary degree on Saturday morning. Chambers will speak on "Modern Programming with the S Language", which is described as "currently the medium for implementing a large fraction of new methods for statistics and data analysis". The talk will be given in Math and Computer room 5136.

    Tomorrow, David Yach, this year's winner of the Graham Medal for Computing and Innovation, will give the seminar that goes along with that honour. He'll speak on "The Evolution of Software Efficiency", Friday at 1:30 in Davis Centre room 1302. Yach is a vice-president at high-profile spinoff company Research In Motion.

    And tomorrow brings two separate talks by Mo Jamshidi, electrical engineering professor at the University of New Mexico, who will be receiving an honorary degree on Saturday afternoon. Tomorrow at 2:30 he'll speak on "Sensors from Automation on Earth to Exploration on Mars", and then at 4:00 he speaks on "Persian Science, Persian Scientists and the Impact of their Discoveries on Western Civilization". Both talks will be given in the new Centre for Environmental and Information Technology, room 1015.

    Meanwhile, and not related to convocation, something called the Dale Brownawell Conference is being held at UW today through Saturday. Sponsored by the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences, of which UW is a part, and organized by Cameron Stewart of UW's pure math department, the event honours Brownawell, a distinguished professor of math at the Pennsylvania State University. Talks -- to be given in a Math and Computer building lecture room -- have such titles as "Engel Expansions and the Rogers-Ramanujan Identities" and "Endomorphism Algebras of Superelliptic Jacobians". Ah, but even mathematicians have to eat; a Friday night banquet is scheduled, at the University Club.


    Aboriginal event set for Monday -- from the UW media relations office

    The Aboriginal Students' Associations at UW and the University of Guelph are welcoming Jennifer Podemski, Aboriginal Gemini award-winning actress, director, producer and youth entrepreneur, to address the local community on Monday, June 21. Her presentation will focus on youth empowerment and Aboriginal stereotypes in the media.

    The event celebrates National Aboriginal Day, a time for all Canadians to honor the diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of Aboriginal peoples. The event begins at 7 p.m. in MacKirdy Hall at St. Paul's College on the UW campus. Admission is free and all are welcome.

    Recently, Podemski (pictured) has appeared in Degrassi: The Next Generation, Eleventh Hour, This is Wonderland, and Zoe Busiec Wild Card. She is the co-creator and producer of Moccasin Flats and The Seventh Generation and founded the production company Big Soul Productions.

    Web creators presentation by Jesse Rodgers, communications and public affairs, "The Four Corners of the Web", 10 a.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

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

    Swing and Social Dance Club, 5;30, Physical Activities Complex Studio I.

    Arriscraft Lecture, school of architecture: Jean Beaudoin, Montréal, "Resonance/Interdisciplinary Design Approach", 7 p.m., Environmental Studies II room 286.

    Tom Harpur, author and religion columnist, speaks 7:30, Waterloo North Mennonite Church, fundraising event for Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre, which includes Conrad Grebel University College.

    'Governance in a Business Enterprise', Ed O'Donnell, Centre for Information Systems Assurance, school of accountancy, lunch and lecture at Centre for International Governance Innovation, 57 Erb Street West, Friday 11:45 (not today as mistakenly announced yesterday), RSVP 885-2444 ext. 227.

    Dave Williams, optometry professor, retirement reception, Thursday, June 24, 3:30 to 6 p.m., University Club, RSVP ext. 3177 or ejreidt@uwaterloo.ca.

    "It's important that Aboriginal youth see positive and successful role models," said Melissa Ireland, president of the UW Aboriginal Students' Association. "Jennifer Podemski is one of Canada's rising stars and is an inspiring illustration of urban Aboriginal success."

    Podemski will give a keynote speech and show her reel film. As well, she will be screening the short film "Moccasin Flats" -- the piece that launched the acclaimed Showcase/APTN series. The evening will close with Podemski and Moccasin Flats actor Landon Montour participating in roundtable discussions.

    UW's Aboriginal counsellor, Jean Becker, said the presentation aims to bring Aboriginal role models and mentors to communities, as well as increase access to mainstream media to provide positive images of Aboriginal youth. The presentation's main message is one of self-awareness and challenging yourself to make your dreams happen. Based at St. Paul's United College, Becker seeks to enhance the learning experience of native students on campus, along with fostering ties with the local Aboriginal community.


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