Friday, January 12, 2007

  • Party rocks and anniversary rolls
  • Two caches of historical photos
  • That'll be the frosty Friday
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Newsreel from January 1957

When and where

Clubs, Feds Services and Societies Days, information about student organizations, 10:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference continues at Toronto Hilton, details online.

Healthy Weight brown-bag series sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, second talk 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

Engineering Society "Frost Week" activities wind up: judging of "Bigger, Better, Best" trade-up competition, 12 noon, Carl Pollock Hall foyer.

Warrior sports: Figure skating, Waterloo Invitational Saturday and Sunday, Icefield. • Women's hockey at Brock Saturday, hosting York Sunday 7:30, Icefield. • Swimming at York today. • Volleyball, men and women, at Royal Military College today, at Queen's tomorrow. • Men's hockey at Lakehead Saturday and Sunday. • Basketball, men and women, at Guelph Sunday. • Track and field at Windsor Can-Am Invitational, today and Saturday.

Craig Cardiff plays the Bombshelter pub tonight; doors open 9:00, tickets at Federation of Students office.

Utilities shutdown (electrical power and heating) in Village I, PAS and Biology I, for about 15 minutes between 7:00 and 8:30 a.m. Saturday; shut off computing equipment in advance; check alarm clocks for backup batteries.

UWaterloosaurus activities continue at Waterloo Town Square, with Peter Etril Snyder painting dinosaur mural for UW earth sciences museum; "rock critter" presentations for children, Saturday 10:00, 11:00, 1:00 and 2:00.

Housing information sessions about second-year life in residence: Sunday 10 p.m. at Beck Hall community centre, UW Place. Other sessions over the week ahead.

Blood donor clinic January 15-19, Student Life Centre, make appointments now at turnkey desk.

Senate long-range planning committee Monday 3:00, Needles Hall room 3004.

UW senate Monday 4:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

One click away

President's op-ed article in Monday's Record
Change in policy on sending marks to co-op employers
UW researchers share in $11 million of Ontario funding
New Warrior football coach likes team colours
'Cecilia' plays a role in new K-W music newspaper
University presidencies are 'shaky' (NY Times)
'A warrior turns 50' (Record story on UW's anniversary)
UW statistics prof goes to UBC as Canada Research Chair
Size isn't everything, says CIGI study of economies
Waterloo among top 21 smart cities for this year
Library overdue book reminder service
'Feuds' led to departure of Carleton president

[Four in a row on the stage]

It was a BlackBerry moment at the end of yesterday's 50th anniversary party, when VIPs on stage showed off their hardware from the UW spinoff firm Research In Motion. Right to left are UW president David Johnston, board of governors chair Bob Harding, and chancellor (and RIM executive) Mike Lazaridis. Michelle Zakrison, president of the Federation of Students, is pulling out her own BlackBerry to complete the partie carrée. Photo by Barbara Elve.

Party rocks and anniversary rolls

“I don’t think it was this loud in 1957!” somebody hollered in my ear while the WhiteWalls (plus an Elvis impersonator) were performing at yesterday’s 50th anniversary launch party, and we had to agree that probably sound systems weren’t as powerful five decades ago as they are now.

Loud was certainly the word for the music in the darkened, decorated, wall-to-wall-crowded Physical Activities Complex. And although some of the celebrity “interviews” on stage were muffled by the chatter of the crowd and the slurp of chili dogs, things had thinned out by the time of the afternoon’s formal speeches, so that president David Johnston and other VIPs could be heard the length of the main gym.

“This birthday party’s just getting started!” said Johnston, and that was after the fifties tunes, the fashion show, the “Reach for the Top” competition, and the reliably jaw-dropping tosses and twirls of the UW cheerleaders. MC for the day was statistics professor Steve Brown, who only lost his cool when “Marilyn Monroe” or “Elizabeth Taylor” (actually drama students portraying famous folks from the 1950s) leaned in for a little intimate chit-chat .

[Johnston as quizmaster; two panels of contestants]Johnston took the stage (right) as as the host of a fiercely contested "Reach for the Top" round between four executives of the Federation of Students and four members of the university’s Executive Council. The administrators lost — badly — but even the Star-Trek savvy students were also stumped by questions such as the capital of Nunavut (Iqaluit), the number of women in Waterloo’s 1957 engineering class (zero) and the name of the Olympic gold medalist who served as a UW athletics coach (women’s hockey coach Geraldine Heaney).

Later, in the more formal moments of the afternoon, the president proclaimed that “Fifty years ago we started building UW, and we have never stopped." He explained the background of the anniversary slogan, “The spirit of why not”. It comes from a line attributed to playwright George Bernard Shaw: “You see things and you say why, but I dream things that never were, and I say why not?”

He introduced Mike Lazaridis, chancellor of UW and co-founder of Research In Motion, sporting a UW leather jacket with the insignia “IQC” for the Institute for Quantum Computing, which he and his wife Ophelia have championed. He spoke passionately about the university: “Look around,” he said. “You are making history today.” He recalled that he came to Waterloo in 1980 attracted by the chance to participate in co-operative education, and in the potential represented by the Red Room — a room filled then with the latest computer technology that, today, is more than matched by the computational power inside one BlackBerry. “The Red Room and co-op were two shining elements of our founders’ vision,” he said. In the next 25 years, he challenged students and staff to ask “Why? And where are we going? At the 75th anniversary, you are going to be amazed at what you’ll be returning to.”

[Sequined dress; blazer with anniversary T-shirt]Bob Harding, chair of the UW board of governors, also spoke, but didn’t draw quite the whoops of enthusiasm from the crowd that it had given up for Monroe in a slinky gown or Rocket Richard on roller-blades. (At left, Gail Cuthbert Brandt, associate vice-president, academic, meets Joan Crawford, who in 1957 had just made "Autumn Leaves" opposite Cliff Robertson.)

All kinds and conditions of folks were on hand for the event, including some long-retired staff and faculty, such as Lynn A. K. Watt, who held a series of deans’ positions between 1972 and 1989. But the majority of the crowd, estimated at 4,000 people, seemed to be students, drawn by the music, the hula hoop booth and an affection for their 50-year-old university. The free food might have helped too. At opening time, 11:30, the hallway outside the gym was packed solid with a lineup ready to surge toward the pizza and soup counters, and the surging didn’t stop until the food ran out an hour later.

[Guitarist in white dinner jacket]Early in the stage show, Brown asked for a show of hands: how many of those present were alive in 1957? And how many weren’t born yet? About half and half, it seemed, and there was something in the show for both groups. (As soon as the music started, it was two of UW’s senior administrators who were boogying away, sock hop style, right in front of the stage. Two female administrators.)

At the end of the event, the first of the year's four winners in the 50th anniversary lottery was drawn. Going home with an entertainment package consisting of vouchers to attractions such as the Stratford Festival was Karen Mason of the distance education office.

The launch party means the year-long anniversary celebration is now officially under way. A new version of the anniversary web site went public yesterday as well, and is expected to offer a podcast from yesterday’s event within a day or so. There was also a reprise of the party late last night, for staff who work the night shift and couldn’t make it to the daytime celebration.

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Two caches of historical photos

As UW celebrates its 50th year, everybody wants to know and show what things looked like in the olden days, and so two different banks of historical photos are being made available — one by the Photo/Imaging unit in UW Graphics, the other by the special collections department of the UW Library.

They’re a rich source of images; buildings rising amid farmland, students with brushcuts or miniskirts, computers the size of heavy appliances, pre-digital lab equipment, professors with neckties that must have been fashionable once.

“All images are for non-commercial usage (news and information about the university),” says Chris Hughes of graphics, about the 850-photo database he’s making available. Susan Mavor of the library says much the same thing: “Images can be accessed, downloaded and used by the campus community for digital, one-time use only.”

The library’s image bank “was created by Jane Britton and Rob Decaire (a contract employee in our department for a few terms) and was a project of the Historical Sub-committee and funded jointly by the Library and the 50th Anniversary Steering Committee,” Mavor says. “It includes prints and negatives from a wide variety of sources — UW office files, campus photographers and Graphics as well as some donated collections. These images are fragile and fading, and thus a very important additional aspect of this project has been the fact that we are able to make preservation scans of these at-risk images. These are among the earliest extant campus images available and so we are especially pleased to ensure their preservation.

“The largest group of images represent photos which appeared in the K-W Record, and through the generosity of the Record we are able to make these available free of our usual charges for the anniversary year. Reproduction in any other form, such as prints, may be requested from the special collections department.”

Graphics, meanwhile, is providing an “archive” of selected images from its huge database of pictures taken by UW photographers since the late 1960s. “By clicking on the thumbnails,” says Hughes, “you will get an enlarged view of the images which can be saved for free usage on web pages and in PowerPoint presentations. High resolution files are available, but will remain to be a chargeable item.” (Graphics typically charges $20 for a photo print.)

A quick browse of the Graphics collection turns up such pictures as the Dana Porter Library, seven storeys high, with a construction crane on top, in October 1969; a quartet of long-haired electrical engineering students showing off a computer chip they developed, in July 1982; the “world’s biggest bird dance” during orientation week in 1985; and Matthew Barrett, CEO of the Bank of Montreal and chair of Campaign Waterloo, touring the Davis Centre in December 1990.

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That'll be the frosty Friday

In a smaller-scale 50th anniversary celebration than the massive party earlier yesterday, UW president David Johnston played host to a reception last night to honour government officials who help provide the environment in which UW flourishes. About 75 people were expected at the reception, including Members of Parliament and MPPs for nearby ridings, members of Waterloo Region council, and city councillors from Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge and Stratford, as well as members of the UW board of governors and top executives. The venue was the University Club.

[Grotesque black and yellow face]The artifact at left is Jeremiah Courtney's "Basquiat Study", one of 23 ceramic works by UW students that will go on display Sunday at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery on Caroline Street just south of the main campus. The students involved are from a clay studies class led by Kirsten Abrahamson of the fine arts department. A reception for the opening of the UW show, titled "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", and three other exhibitions at the gallery, is scheduled for Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. The show runs until February 11.

Today's opening day for TechTown, the community centre on the north campus, at 340 Hagey Boulevard in the middle of the Research and Technology Park. "This complex was developed to support the estimated 6,000 employees that will work in Phase 1 of the Park, and I look forward to watching its evolution," says Carol Stewart, business development manager of the park on behalf of UW. The first occupant of the building, opening today, is the Columbia Lake Health Club; a day care, a café, a dental office and others are expected in the weeks ahead.

The Record newspaper reports that a second-year student was convicted of theft this week after an incident last summer in which he took a wallet from an open locker at the Columbia Icefield and tried to extort money from its owner. • UW's marketing and undergraduate recruitment office proudly sends word that it's won a "gold award" from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for its "open palm" recruitment poster. • Here's a reminder that nominations for six student positions on the UW senate are open until next Friday.

Finally . . . Renison College will mark its 48th anniversary with a Founders’ Day celebration on Sunday afternoon. The celebrations will begin with an Evensong and Convocation at the Church of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Kitchener, starting at 3:00. “During the Convocation,” says a news release, “Renison College is privileged to welcome Anne E. Thompson and Lynda Leeder Paull as Honorary Members, and to recognize the Rev. Dr. Gerry Mueller as an Honorary Fellow.” (Mueller retired recently as Renison’s chaplain.) Very Rev. Peter Wall, Rev. Canon William Cliff, Rev. Canon David Pickett, and Angus Sinclair, a noted Anglican Church musician, are to be installed as Honorary Senior Fellows. Sinclair will give the Keynote Address during the service. A tea reception will follow the service in the Upper Parish Hall at St. John’s. Founders’ Day will conclude with a 6:30 p.m. dinner with honoured guests at the Great Hall, Luxton Building, back at Renison. The institution was established as an affiliated college with the fledgling University of Waterloo on January 14, 1959.


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