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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

  • Special event for Campaign Waterloo
  • Mature students' counsellor retires
  • U of Toronto honours UW engineers
Chris Redmond

World Blood Donor Day

[Some are already looking forward]

Waterloo's cheerleaders helped launch Campaign Waterloo little more than a year ago, and brought several VIPs into the magic moment (that's campaign chair Bob Harding, front left, unfolding his T-shirt). The cheerleaders will be on hand today for a 3:30 celebration of campaign achievements to date.

Special event for Campaign Waterloo

A "significant and historic milestone" for Campaign Waterloo will be announced this afternoon. UW president David Johnston, chancellor Mike Lazaridis and Campaign Waterloo chair Bob Harding are expected at a special celebration in the Davis Centre, which will feature achievements of the campaign to date and demonstrate how the campaign is helping UW to "build a talent trust".

Says Johnston: "This is a wonderful opportunity for the entire community to come out and celebrate our achievements to date and to learn first-hand how the campaign is transforming our campus and the community." An e-mail invitation from the president went out to staff and faculty members yesterday, and everyone is welcome.

The main event gets under way at 3:30 p.m. in the great hall of the Davis Centre. A special sculpture by retired fine arts professor Tony Urquhart, commemorating the campaign, will be unveiled, and UW's award-winning cheerleaders will "wow us with their acrobatic prowess", Johnston promised. There will also be presentations from students and Keystone Campaign volunteers.

Light refreshments (including "the very popular Rice Krispie squares") will be served at the Davis Centre gathering.

Earlier in the afternoon, a yellow school bus may be spotted travelling on UW roads and trails. Special guests have been invited to tour the campus to observe first-hand the new buildings, renovations and additions that have appeared thanks to Campaign Waterloo. A surprise that organizers say will include "music, confetti and more" and is "worth capturing on film" is planned for 2:30 p.m. on the Village Green as the bus tour goes by.

Mature students' counsellor retires

When I started working at Waterloo in 1973, the first person to catch me in a mistake in the Gazette was Isobel Mackay, then the university's assistant dean of women. Thirty-two years later Issy Mackay is even more of a UW institution than she was then, and will be honoured June 27 as she takes early retirement.

She actually packed up her office on the second floor of Modern Languages in late May -- and there can't be many people at UW who have, as Mackay has, spent three decades working on the same floor of the same building, while people come and go around them.

She's spent most of that time looking after the needs of "mature" students -- the group, largely women and largely in the faculty of arts, who come to UW when they're older than traditional students and largely without the usual academic credentials.

[Mackay] Innovations along the way include a library of taped lectures on academic skills, a newsletter focused on how students can navigate the university bureaucracy, expanded day care services, the "We'll Show You How" non-credit course, local networks for distance education students, a Mature Students' Endowment Fund -- and hundreds, maybe thousands, of students who have been guided into and through their UW studies.

And afterwards, as they go on to jobs, faculties of education, graduate study or other successful futures, Mackay (right) is still cheering them and reporting on their achievements in her newsletter each month. It's noteworthy, she often points out, that "mature" students earn more than their proportional share of medals, scholarships and mentions on the dean's honours list.

"I've had the honour," she wrote in the latest newsletter issue, "of watching their academic progress, their self-discovery, their confidence grow, and their sheer joy of learning. . . . Could I have been given greater rewards than this?" But she's had a few other honours too, including a K-W Oktoberfest Woman of the Year Award in 1982. She was chair of K-W Community Resources for Women in 1980.

Job titles have varied, as has the administrative structure around her: she's been part of the dean of women's office (closed down after Hildegard Marsden retired as dean in 1985), the office of part-time studies and continuing education, and in recent years the faculty of arts. Her final title: "academic counsellor for distance education and mature students". Ann Reed, her long-time assistant, continues in a similar role in the dean of arts office.

Chat with Issy Mackay -- maybe on her favourite sunny bench in front of ML -- and you frequently hear about UW's early days. British-born and a Manchester graduate, she came to Waterloo in 1963, six years after the university began, as a graduate student in biology, and "almost immediately" was hired as a special lecturer to teach vertebrate zoology. She spent a year doing fish research at Britain's University of Reading, then returned to UW as a research assistant until Marsden hired her as assistant dean of women in 1969.

International Green Energy Conference continues through Thursday.

Luncheon boat cruise on the Grand River, organized by UW retirees' association, today.

Career development workshops: "Business Etiquette" 3:30, "Thinking about an International Experience" 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

Math Grad Committee information session for graduating mathematics students 5:00, Math and Computer room 2066.

Early Childhood Education Centre family picnic and pizza party, 5:30, Ron Eydt Village.

Staff orientation session announced for Wednesday has been cancelled and will be rescheduled in the fall term.

Web common look and feel update session organized by Web Operations Committee for web creators, Wednesday 9:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Ninetieth Convocation: AHS, ES and independent studies, Wednesday 2:00; arts, Thursday 2:00; science, Friday 2:00; mathematics, Saturday 10:00; engineering, Saturday 2:00, Physical Activities Complex.

Muslim Students Association presents Egyptian scientist Zaghloul El-Naggar, "Scientific Miracles in the Qur'an", Wednesday 4:00, Coutts Hall room 101.

Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology presents Dean Hopkins, Cyberplex, "What University Doesn't Teach You about Being an Entrepreneur", Wednesday 5:30, Davis Centre room 1302, reservations ext. 7167.

Engineering alumni tour of Toyota Motor plant in Cambridge, Thursday 12:30, details online (tour is now full).

Supplier trade shows organized by procurement and contract services (purchasing), June 20-22, 10:00 to 3:00, Davis Centre lounge: Monday technology and communications, Tuesday computers, Wednesday office supplies.

Jim Curtis, department of sociology, informal memorial event "for friends to gather and exchange stories", June 21, 4:30 to 6:00, Graduate House.

She likes to reminisce about the days when UW and so many of its people were young, and she and her husband, Don Mackay of the chemistry department, were part of the crowd who dreamed big dreams over a glass or two. "Friday afternoons, you'd find us in the Circus Room!" she recalls, meaning the pub in the Waterloo House at King and Erb Streets -- the nearest respectable drinking spot to campus in the 1960s. That was where the action was, before the Faculty Club (now University Club) was opened in 1970.

Friends, colleagues and quite possibly some of those "mature" students will honour Mackay with a reception at that Club -- the on-campus one, not the long-gone Circus Room -- on Monday, June 27, from 3:30 to 5:30. RSVPs go to Sharon Wrede at ext. 5782. "In lieu of gifts," the invitation says, "contributions to the Mature Students' Endowment Fund are welcome."

U of Toronto honours UW engineers -- from the UW media relations office

UW's first and current deans of engineering will receive honorary degrees from the University of Toronto this week.

Doug Wright was Waterloo's first dean of engineering (1959-66) and served as the university's third president (1981-93). He joined the fledgling University of Waterloo in 1958 as the first chairman of civil engineering and soon after became its first dean of engineering. During his tenure Waterloo developed the largest faculty of engineering in Canada and pioneered co-operative education in the country.

In 1967, Wright became a deputy minister in the Ontario government, with responsibilities initially for university financing and subsequently for social policy with the Cabinet Committee for Social Development. He returned to UW after 14 years to serve as president. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and an Officer of the Order of Canada, and in 1993 was appointed Chevalier in France's Ordre National du Mérite.

Wright will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree and address the graduating class at U of T's Convocation Hall today at 2:30.

The current dean, Adel Sedra, came to UW from U of T to become dean of engineering July 1, 2003. An electrical engineer, Sedra is widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of microelectronics. He has published more than 150 papers and three textbooks, including Microelectronic Circuits, which is now in its fifth edition and has been translated into nine languages.

An engineering professor at U of T from 1969, Sedra also served in a number of academic administrative roles, and was vice-president, provost, and chief academic officer from 1993 to 2002.

He will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree and address the graduating class at Convocation Hall on Thursday at 10 a.m.


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