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Wednesday, May 3, 2006

  • The welcomer in the D lot kiosk
  • A treasure from the Russian archives
  • Other notes under a clear sky
Chris Redmond

06:05:04:03:02:01, with variations

[Lukezic outside her kiosk]

The welcomer in the D lot kiosk

"Not many people are lucky enough to view the world from a glass house," says the latest profile posted to the Keystone Campaign web site. It cites "the changing seasons, the people walking by, the squirrels hurriedly making their way -- these provide a unique perspective for Elizabeth Lukezic, who started as a custodian at UW in 1989 and joined Parking Services in 1995. Sitting cozy and warm in a parking kiosk, Elizabeth is an unofficial UW ambassador to visitors as she greets them with a warm, friendly smile, and a cheery hello."

Lukezic came to Canada 20 years ago from Tatabanya, 70 miles west of Budapest, Hungary, where she managed a funeral home for 11 years and later organized weddings, funerals, and christenings at the city hall.

What do you like about your job at UW? "I love the connection I develop with visitors when I welcome them to this wonderful place. I have trained and worked with co-op students and I enjoy it when they come back to visit me after their work term, to tell me about their lives and their travels."

To what project do you designate your gift and why? "I am very proud that my daughter graduated from Electrical Engineering in 1993 and this is where I designate my gift. UW is growing dynamically and we need funds to maintain our excellence and the respect that the University has earned."

What do you like to do in your spare time? "I listen to music, read, play the organ, and I enjoy navigating and reading maps when I travel with my husband. I also love to cook. I'm always looking for recipes and would prefer to make a gourmet meal at home, rather than go out to a restaurant."

A treasure from the Russian archives -- from the Arts Research Update newsletter

[Gimpelevich] While wandering through Moscow's Russian State Archive of Literature and Arts (RGALI), UW Russian and Slavic Studies professor Zina Gimpelevich (right) made a discovery that set the path of her research for years to come. She was both surprised and elated to come across an intact collection of largely unknown early 20th-century literary works, musical scores, and artist sketches. A specialist in this "Silver Age" of Russian literature, Gimpelevich knew she needed to bring this long-hidden treasure to the world.

Gimpelevich describes the discovery: "It was a few years ago. I was looking for a particular name -- Alexis Skaldin, a writer who had died in 1943 in the Russian Gulag -- and by accident I found one of his poems in an album put together by Valentin Krivich. Krivich was the son of the well known Russian symbolist writer Innokentii Annenskii. As I looked through the album, I very quickly realized: I wanted it! I immediately started negotiations with the director of the archives and after a lengthy process (such negotiations can get complicated in Russia!), I was finally granted access."

The Krivich Album is part of what was once a well-established Russian tradition of the "guest book" or "note book." A collective memoir of sorts, the genre of the artist "album" was typically associated with gatherings of writers and cultural figures who would contribute short pieces for inclusion in the host's archive-in-progress. Krivich's album is significant in that it is one of the few put together by a man (typically, the salon hosts were women) and it is one of the last in the genre, which began to wane with the rise of publishing in Russia during the late 19th century.

"We are very fortunate to have this collection," notes Gimpelevich. "Given the upheaval of the intervening years -- the Russian civil war, the Bolshevik Revolution, two world wars, and decades of cultural repression under the Soviets -- it is remarkable that it has survived at all."

Krivich's Album, which spans the years 1907 to 1932, includes contributions by 144 writers and artists of the time. Although many of them are well known to Russian scholars, quite a few are not, making this a particularly exciting discovery.

Gimpelevich is also interested in learning more about Krivich himself. Born Valentin Innokent'evich Annenskii, Valentin Krivich was a lawyer by profession but also a poet, prose writer, memoirist and editor of his father's poetry. Krivich has often been dismissed as a minor writer or treated as a mere footnote to his more famous father's legacy. "My archival work will correct that perception," says Gimpelevich, who believes that Krivich has been underestimated. "His own writing, which was very popular at the time, deserves more attention, and his compilation work, more appreciation. I think of this collection as Krivich's 'treasure chest'."

Her archival project involves three main stages. The first stage, which is nearly complete, involves creating an electronic transcription in modern Russian of the mostly handwritten manuscripts. The second stage, which is currently underway, calls for translation of the material into English and research into the backgrounds of individual contributors. Gimpelevich has made a point of bringing UW graduate students into the project by assigning them poems from the collection to translate. The final stage of this SSHRC-funded project will be to publish a bilingual Russian-English edition of Krivich's Album, complete with annotations and a critical introduction.

"I'm very excited about this project," smiles Gimpelevich. "This album, miraculously preserved, is a symbol of and tribute to the era and its most renowned representatives."

Gimpelevich is a specialist also in Belarusan writing. Her book Vasil Bykau: His Life and Works, a biography of the Belarusan writer and dissident, was published by McGill-Queen's UP in 2005, and a second book, Twentieth Century Belarusan Jewish Writers, is forthcoming.

Graduate Student Leisure Research Symposium continues in Clarica Auditorium, Lyle Hallman Institute, agenda online.

D-Force dance festival today through Sunday, Humanities Theatre.

Perimeter Institute lecture: George Johnson, journalist, "The Search for Miss Leavitt", astronomical research in 1904, Wednesday 7 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, free tickets 883-4480.

Physics department 39th annual Sir Isaac Newton Prize Exam for high school students, across Ontario and around the world, Thursday, details online.

Environmental studies colloquium: Jayanta Bandyopadhyay, Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata, "The Water Scenario in India and the Proposal for Interlinking of Its Rivers", Thursday 12 noon, Environmental Studies I room 221.

Mental Health Awareness Week talk by Scott McCabe, department of psychology: depression, its symptoms, how it affects others, Thursday 12 noon, PAS room 3026, reservations ext. 5418.

Uptown Waterloo public square study public workshop Thursday 6:30, Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex, details online.

UW Accounting Conference with speakers and case competition, Friday-Saturday, details online.

Bicycle auction sponsored by UW Bike Centre, Friday 12:30, Student Life Centre courtyard.

International student orientation Friday 10:00 to 2:00, Graduate House, sponsored by international student office; additional event Friday 5 p.m., Columbia Lake Village community centre, sponsored by student life office.

Rapid-Cycling Event around the ring road in support of mental health awareness, Saturday 8 a.m. starting outside Student Life Centre, information at health services.

Friends of the Library annual lecture, this year dean of engineering Adel Sedra, Wednesday, May 24, noon, Theatre of the Arts.

Matthews Golf Classic, 17th annual event for staff, faculty and retirees, Monday, June 19, Grand Valley Golf and Country Club, details online or call ext. 2686.

On this week's list from the human resources department:

  • Financial aid customer service assistant, office of the registrar (student awards and financial aid office), USG 5
  • Recruitment officer, dean of science office, USG 9

    Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

  • Other notes under a clear sky

    UW's staff association will hold its annual general meeting on June 1, a message to members this week announces. (Time and place don't seem to have been revealed yet.) The annual report that will form the basis for discussion at the meeting has been posted online this year, rather than distributed on paper as in the past. "Included," members were reminded, "are reports from the SA's standing committees, the Staff Relations and Compensation committees, and reports submitted by staff representatives on university committees." Also: "A motion to increase Staff Association monthly dues is being put forth to the membership. Therefore you'll notice two 2006 budgets presented in the Annual Report; one reflects the dues increase."

    A new issue of the Gold and Black newsletter for UW athletics alumni has just been distributed, and it's heavy on news about the plans for celebrating UW's 50th anniversary next year. "From our humble beginnings ass the Waterloo College Mules," the front-page article says, "to the national championships of the 1970s, and to the big-time athletes of the new millennium, the Gold and Black will be your gracious host to fifty years of athletics at the University of Waterloo. The events and timelines leading up to the anniversary will culminate in a grand gala all-sports reunion on June 23, 2007. . . . Also slated to take place that weekend is the unveiling of the University of Waterloo's first published history book of the department of athletics. It will be a must-have for anyone who bleeds Black and Gold."

    An announcement from UW's safety office indicates that two forms of safety training will be offered this month, and adds the usual note: "UW's Health, Safety and Environment Program requires that all UW employees that have not previously attended, attend one of the following sessions." For those who work with hazardous materials, there's Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System training, May 10 at 10 a.m. or May 18 at 2 p.m. For others, "such as office workers", there's a general safety orientation, May 11 at 2 p.m. or May 18 at 10 a.m. The WHMIS training runs about 90 minutes, the general orientation about an hour. The May 10 and 11 sessions are in Davis Centre room 1302, the May 18 ones in Davis 1304. More information is online, and anyone with questions can call ext. 5613.

    Students who were away on co-op jobs in the winter term are meeting with coordinators this week in return-to-campus interviews. . . . Noontime today brings the last of the long series of stress relaxation workshops that the Employee Assistance Program has been offering (12:00, Math and Computer room 5158). . . . The continuing education office has a day-long course scheduled June 13 on "Process Mapping: Analysing, Understanding, Communicating and Improving Work Processes". . . .


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