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Friday, December 9, 2005

  • UW thanks donors for $54 million
  • Top award for UW accounting prof
  • Prof involved in grizzly bear project
Chris Redmond

Grace Hopper would have been 99


Economics graduate Curwin Friesen, who received the Governor General's Silver Medal along with his applied studies BA in 1993, is the recipient of the eighth annual Faculty of Arts Alumni Achievement Award, and is introduced in the new issue of the alumni newsletter Arts & Letters. Friesen is now president of a company that, just by coincidence, bears the same surname: Friesens Corp., an employee-owned book manufacturing company, based in Altona, Manitoba. Friesens has been listed as one of Canada's "50 Best Managed Companies". Friesen is also involved in community and church activities in Altona, and sits on the advisory council for UW's International Trade Specialization.

UW thanks donors for $54 million

Gifts to UW hit a total of $54,985,993 in the past fiscal year, says the university's annual donor report, produced by the development and alumni affairs office to thank the 21,246 people who provided that money.

The figure is down from the level of such income in 2003-04, more than $71 million, which included the first installment of a massive contribution for quantum computing from UW chancellor Mike Lazaridis and his wife, Ophelia. However, it's more than twice as much as the $21 million received in 2002-03.

The largest share of the money, more than $22 million, came from "alumni and honorary alumni", with corporations not far behind at $19.5 million. Other contributions came from foundations, governments, students and student groups, parents, and of course the faculty, staff and retirees who contribute through the Keystone Fund.

A chart in the report asks "Where is the money going?" and gives a snapshot of the answer: $10.6 million to engineering, $5.6 million to science (including pharmacy), and so on, plus $1.9 million to the colleges (led by Conrad Grebel University College with $800,000) and $26.1 million for university-wide projects.

"Thank you for your ongoing and generous support of our vision," UW president David Johnston writes in a message at the front of the report, which was distributed in print form with the fall issue of the UW Magazine and is also available online.

Johnston notes that Campaign Waterloo passed its original $260 million goal in June, a few weeks after the end of the fiscal year covered by the donor report. "The generosity of our alumni and friends in the past five years was crucial to meeting this goal, with 181 donors contributing gifts of $100,000 or more, including 37 supporters who have given gifts of $1 million or more. Over 42,000 people have contributed to the campaign."

While some of the money gets spent immediately on buildings and equipment, much of it goes into an endowment, providing an income year after year that can be used for scholarships and other projects. The report says UW's endowment fund reached $119.9 million by the end of 2004-05, up from $92 million a year earlier.

Top award for UW accounting prof

[Boyle] The founding director of UW's Institute for Quantitative Finance and Insurance, Phelim Boyle (left), has been named the 2005 IAFE/SunGard Financial Engineer of the Year. The award was announced Monday by SunGard and the International Association of Financial Engineers. It will be presented to Boyle February 2 at the United Nations in New York, during the 2005 IAFE/SunGard FEOY Award Gala Dinner.

Boyle, a professor of accountancy and scientific director of the IQFI, was selected for his contributions to the field of financial engineering. He is holder of the J. Page R. Wadsworth Chair in Finance and is director of the Centre for Advanced Studies in Finance.

While Boyle is best known for his paper on Monte Carlo methods, he has also made other important contributions to quantitative finance during the last three decades. He has pioneered the use of financial engineering techniques in actuarial science to the pricing and risk management of complex long-term options in insurance contracts.

"The University of Waterloo is singularly proud of Professor Boyle and his pioneering work on derivatives and insurance," said president David Johnston. "He has been a star researcher in Institute for Quantitative Finance and Insurance and the School of Accounting whose work is known throughout the world as this international recognition deservedly testifies."

Commenting on his FEOY award, Boyle said: "Each of the previous winners has made significant contributions to the field of financial engineering, and so it is a great privilege to join this group. This award recognizes the importance of quantitative finance in today's economy and I would like to thank SunGard and the IAFE for making it possible.

"I have been lucky to work with great co-authors and smart students. Both the University of Waterloo and the University of British Columbia encourage excellence. I acknowledge support from SSHRC and NSERC, two Canadian government funding agencies, in backing ideas that might have had trouble getting support from the private sector."

Richard Lindsey, chairman of the IAFE, said Boyle "has produced a remarkable number of contributions to the field of financial engineering, over a long career. By focusing on bridging theory and the real world, his work has brought clarity to the difficult process of actually implementing theoretical models in option pricing. His seminal papers applying Monte Carlo techniques and high-dimensional lattice methods to practical problems provide foundation for much of the work financial engineers perform. It is fitting that the IAFE and SunGard recognize his contributions and insight to our field by naming him the Financial Engineer of the Year."

The award, established in 1993, recognizes individual contributions to the advancement of financial engineering technology.

The goal of the IQFI is to be a world-class centre in risk management, bringing together a strong interdisciplinary research team of specialists in actuarial science, computer science, econometrics, finance and statistics.

Centre for International Governance Innovation lecture: Yaacov Iland, CIGI, "Getting Information Technology in the Developed World", 11:45, 57 Erb Street West, free tickets 885-2444 ext.246.

UW Graphics including copy centres closed today 12:00 to 1:30.

'Chronicles of Narnia' private showing organized by Graduate Student Association, Saturday 9:00 a.m , Galaxy Cinema, tickets $8 (children $6) at Graduate House.

Winterfest staff association family event Sunday 2 to 4 p.m., Columbia Icefield; registration deadline is well past.

'Great Choruses of Christmas' concert by UW Chamber Choir with K-W Chamber Orchestra, Sunday 7 p.m., Maureen Forrester Recital Hall, Wilfrid Laurier University, tickets $19, students $14.

Carol sing led by Jake Willms (21st annual), Monday 12:15, Modern Languages building foyer, all welcome.

ePresence Interactive Media software for archiving and webcasting, presentation and webcast hosted by Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology, Tuesday 11 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library, registration online.

Roy Hinsperger, plant operations, retirement reception Wednesday 3:30 to 5:30, Davis Centre lounge, RSVP ext. 6822.

Prof involved in grizzly bear project -- from the UW media relations office

A Waterloo biologist is part of an interprovincial team developing tools that will use high-tech veterinary diagnostics, satellite-generated maps and computer modelling to assess the effects of landscape change on the health of grizzly bears. The multi-disciplinary team, which involves experts from Alberta and the University of Saskatchewan along with UW professor Matt Vijayan, has been awarded $2 million from the Alberta government's Innovation Program and industry partners.

[By a tree at edge of woods]

Bear in the Alberta wild, from a Grizzly Bear Program video.

Project leader Gordon Stenhouse is a grizzly bear specialist with Alberta Sustainable Resources Development and leader of the Foothills Model Forest Grizzly Bear Program. He heads a team of wildlife veterinarians, habitat specialists, molecular biologists and remote sensing experts who have been working for the past six years to understand how human activity affects grizzly bear health. The project will also involve six graduate students and three summer students from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario.

"Bears are at the top of the food chain, so they make a good indicator species to assess ecosystem health," Stenhouse says. "They also have enormous ranges, so by monitoring their health, we can assess the health of thousands of square kilometres of ecosystem." Grizzly bear habitat covers about one-third of Alberta, including the foothills and eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Much of this area is also prime timberland, with underlying oil, gas and coal deposits.

The animal health portion of the project will be handled by U of S wildlife health specialist Marc Cattet, Saskatchewan stress physiologist David Janz, and Vijayan of UW.

Vijayan's research explores how animals cope with stress, investigating the molecular and biochemical strategies they deploy. The work includes the development and validation of stress indicators for grizzly bears and polar bears.

The animal health part of the project will include isolating proteins that animals produce when they are under long-term stress such as that caused when food supplies are short or there is a habitat disturbance. These proteins will be used in diagnostic "protein chips," portable tools that can quickly detect the presence of these proteins and hence the level of stress in the bears. Since these proteins are found in many species other than grizzly bears, the tools developed in the project have the potential to be applied to other wild species across Canada, particularly at-risk animals such as the caribou and wolverine. The animal health group will also develop health profiles for individual bears to measure the effects of long-term stress on outcomes such as longevity, growth, reproduction and immune function.

Steven Franklin, geographer and U of S vice-president for research, leads the remote sensing portion of the project. He will develop maps that monitor changes in landscape and detect changes that have an impact on resident grizzly bear populations. Eventually, software tools can be developed that will allow simulations of the effect developments such as new oil and gas wells, coal mines or forest-harvesting operations have on the health of resident grizzly bears.


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