Monday, June 11, 2007

  • Alumni magazine features families
  • UW digital presence in kids' museum
  • Ready for a week of convocation
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Just another manic Monday

Charges have been laid after a 22-year-old man drove his SUV into the main doors at St. Paul's College about 6:30 last night, doing some damage to the building. There were no injuries.

A PhD oral defence listing that appeared in Friday's Daily Bulletin was missing a key piece of information, so here it is again in full: Management sciences. Jiarui (Carrie) Dang, “Empirical Analysis of Algorithms for Block-Angular Linear Programs.” Supervisors, R. P. Sundarraj and J. David Fuller. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, July 6, 9:30 a.m., Engineering II room 3324.

The schedule for spring term final exams (August 2-15) is now available on the registrar's office web site.

Link of the day

ALS Awareness Month

When and where

Class enrolment appointments for continuing students to choose fall term courses on Quest, June 11-23.

Dance Adventure recital, Monday-Wednesday 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

UW retirees' association wineries tour to Niagara Peninsula Tuesday, sold out, information 519-699-4015.

School of Planning Ring Ceremony Wednesday 12 noon, Festival Room, South Campus Hall.

Bruce Lumsden, former UW administrator, director of co-op education and career services, reception marking his award as Honorary Member of the University, Wednesday 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., Laurel Room, South Campus Hall, RSVP ext. 3–3926.

[Africa]'Africa: Not as Seen on TV' multi-media presentation by Greg John, returned from development work in Tanzania, as well as art exhibition, African goods for sale and other features, Wednesday 6:30 p.m. (cash bar) for 7:15, St. Paul's United College; repeat showing June 28 at Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, tickets $10 from St. Paul's, 519-885-1465.

J. W. Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation 2007 winner Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Yahoo Research, "From Games to Algorithms and the Difference Between Theory and Practice", Thursday 2:00 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304, reception follows, register by e-mail to

Risk Management and Insurance conference sponsored by Institute for Quantitative Finance and Insurance, Saturday, Math and Computer building room 2065, details online.

'Vision' conference, "Tomorrow's Health Leaders Together Today", Saturday, Davis Centre, details online.

Toronto Blue Jays Saturday, Saturday, trip organized by Graduate Student Association, tickets (game $7, bus $10) on sale at Grad House.

Staff association annual general meeting June 19, 9:00 a.m., Math and Computer room 2017.

Open Classroom session featuring Carey Bissonnette, department of chemistry, using clicker technology in Chem 123, advance briefing and after-class discussion for faculty members interested in the techniques, details online.

Canada Day celebrations on the north campus Sunday, July 1. UW holiday Monday, July 2 (no classes; offices and services closed).

One click away

Groundbreaking for architecture students' co-op house (Record)
Dean of engineering reflects on his five-year term (Iron Warrior)
'Hyper-parenting invades vacation time,' UW researcher finds
'Key statistics' from UW library
Student cyclists reach Thunder Bay in cross-Canada mission
Student forum about non-credit PDEng courses
Updated Google Earth coverage of Waterloo
UW Opinion: student's view on 'Greek' organizations
Environment ministry to review north campus sport field proposal
Student sending thank-you cards to Canadian soldiers (Imprint)
Wireless and antenna research (Record coverage)
A virtual world for education
Snap — new publication with photos of local events
Class action lawsuit over community college ancillary fees
The future of Virginia Tech's Norris Hall

[Seven members of the family]
Alumni magazine features families

“Through half a century, Waterloo has become entwined in the histories of many families,” says a feature article in the new issue of the UW Magazine. It gives three examples —the Soulises, the Prasads and the Townshends — and then links the printed magazine to the electronic alumni community by inviting more stories.

“UW may have only been around for 50 years,” the alumni web site explains, “but it has drawn people from around the world, many who have encouraged their siblings, kids and grandkids come to UW too. Are you one of those people? Do you have a UW family story that spans generations or does UW connect your family in a unique way?

“Send us your UW family connection story and we'll post the best stories online.”

Meanwhile, the print story starts with the Soulis clan (pictured), and with George Soulis (far left), who taught early classes of engineering students in the campus maintenance building, next to the snowplows and tractors, and went on to be the founder of the systems design engineering program.

He’d been a furniture designer who left industry to teach design at UW back in 1961. In addition to teaching, he held many administrative appointments and was a member of the university’s Senate and Board of Governors for many years. And to his four children and eight grandchildren, Soulis is also a storyteller.

“Grampy’s tales about UW’s early days,” says the article by freelance writer Beth Gallagher, “are shaped by the heart of a designer who knows how to arrange the episodes of his life. His love of smooth lines, and the gentle art of bending without breaking, has inspired two generations of the Soulis family to join the UW community.

“The legacy is one that is still evolving with three grandchildren currently studying on campus. Neal and Graham Moogk-Soulis are English and history students while a granddaughter, Jane Robinson, is studying physics and music.

“Two of George Soulis’s four children are currently long-time UW employees. In 1998, Neal and Graham’s father, Ric Soulis, earned a PhD in civil engineering and joined the department. By pure coincidence, he uses the same office his father occupied many years ago. Mary Soulis, a daughter with an MASc in civil engineering, has been working in UW’s Institutional Analysis and Planning department for almost 26 years.”

“Throughout the family, there is a great history of storytelling,” says the mother of the two current students, Carol Moogk-Soulis, who herself graduated from UW with a master’s degree in management sciences. “When I look at my sons, I see that creative side and that interest in people.” For another grandchild, Soulis’s influence was more direct: Mary Soulis’s daughter, Laura Thompson, graduated in 2003 from systems design engineering. Two other grandchildren, Nicky and Harold Soulis, both graduated with BA degrees in 2002.

Their father, Glen Soulis, spent a short time studying at UW in the 1970s and then went on to become a musician, recording artist, and performer with the popular Beirdo Brothers for many years. Another of George Soulis’s daughters, Christine Harten, in the 1990s worked for Shad Valley, a one-month learning and enrichment program for senior high-school students hosted at a dozen Canadian universities, including Waterloo. And the connections go on.

The magazine article also features the Prasad sisters, all UW graduates: Bannu Hurtig, Sadhana Prasad, Archana Fawcett and Ranjana Bird, now UW’s dean of graduate studies, not to mention their brother, Vijay Prasad.

And third, there’s the Townsend clan, pictured for the article in the new library at Renison College: Susan Remers, her husband Gerry Remers, her mother Betty Townshend, and her cousin Peter Townshend continue the tradition of service started by Betty’s late husband Bill Townshend, who chaired the Renison board of governors.

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UW digital presence in kids' museum

a news release from the Children's Museum in downtown Kitchener

The Children’s Museum is taking a huge step forward this week with news of an innovative new partnership with the University of Waterloo’s Canadian Centre for Arts and Technology. At a Prosperity Council meeting being held Monday, plans will be announced for the collaboration and creation of a 4,000-square-foot digital media exhibit which will double as a research and production site for CCAT.

Plans for the collaboration include transforming the entire fourth floor of the Museum and establishing a leading edge digital media centre in the RIM Gallery that will be available to students and museum visitors of all ages. The new space will be an interactive and creative area where children and young people can experiment and learn about technology. It will also include opportunities for the research, education and production of new media innovations by university students and professors.

The new centre, which is anticipated to open this September, will have a fully functional broadcast centre and opportunities for video conferencing, and will integrate aspects of new media art. Canadian artist Max Dean’s Robotic Chair, currently on display for Luminato in Toronto, will be the first such installation.

The project aligns well with the museum’s goals. “We are suddenly five years ahead of what was in our long term plan,” said David Marskell, the museum’s executive director. “We are delighted to embrace this new partnership. It integrates the technology aspect present in the original vision and it will not only appeal to university students, but it is going to provide hands on opportunities for our young visitors and our school groups.”

"We are extremely pleased to be partnering with the Children's Museum," said Ken Coates, dean of the faculty of arts at UW. "A presence in the downtown core through our Canadian Centre for Arts and Technology and to work with another organization that is committed to public education and outreach is a unique opportunity that will be beneficial to all involved."

“I am delighted with this collaboration,” said Kitchener mayor Carl Zehr. “This project is going to bring university students to downtown, adding life and vibrancy to the core after business hours. It perfectly aligns with our long term goals and brings us a step closer to completing the technological and cultural vision for the city.” Construction for the new space is scheduled to begin this summer, with plans to have it open for the museum’s 4th anniversary party on September 22.

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Ready for a week of convocation

Black gowns will swish across campus this week and thousands of proud parents will beam, as UW’s Ninety-fourth Convocation takes place in a record eight ceremonies, scheduled two a day from Wednesday to Saturday.

Across Ontario it’s the main graduation year for members of the 2003 “double cohort”, and UW is far from alone in adding ceremonies to the convocation schedule. Waterloo is doing things with extra polish this year anyway, because of the 50th anniversary celebration, and the result is a convocation with a bumper crop of 17 honorary degrees, not to mention Distinguished Teacher, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University Professor and Honorary Member of the University designations, and plenty of pride and prizes for graduating students.

One highlight of the week will be the Governor General’s Gold Medal, presented annually to a top student at the PhD level. The winner for 2007 is Nora Doerr-MacEwen, who will receive her doctorate in planning at the first convocation session, Wednesday morning at 10:00.

“The selection was made from a group of nominees with superb intellectual achievement and international reputation established while they were students,” says a memo from the dean of graduate studies, noting that Doerr-MacEwen did her thesis, “The Management of Human Pharmaceuticals in the Environment”, under the supervision of planning professor Murray Haight. The external examiner was Kelly R. Munkittrick, Canada Research Chair in Ecosystem Health Assessment at the University of New Brunswick, who reported that “I have not seen as impressive a resume in so many different areas. . . . She has received awards in Chemistry, Geology, Physics, Environmental Chemistry, and water quality, and her doctoral thesis is in planning.”

She did her master’s degree in earth sciences at UW, after a bachelor’s in environmental geochemistry at UNB. She has now been accepted into the federal government's RPL (Recruitment of Policy Leaders) program, which selects outstanding graduate students with experience and interest in policy, and fast-tracks them into intermediate to senior level positions. She will be working as a policy analyst for Environment Canada or Health Canada in Ottawa.

Three top graduates at the bachelor’s level will receive Governor General’s Silver Medals in the course of the week.

The Wednesday morning convocation session is for graduates in environmental studies and applied health sciences. That afternoon, at 2:00, comes a convocation session for the faculty of science. All the ceremonies will be held in the Physical Activities Complex. The schedule for the later days shows two ceremonies for the arts faculty on Thursday, at 10:00 and 2:00; one for mathematics on Friday morning, and a second for computer science (part of the mathematics faculty) and software engineering on Friday afternoon; and two for engineering on Saturday, again at 10:00 and 2:00.

Some of the graduating students will receive medals and other distinctions, and at each ceremony one of them will speak as valedictorian to classmates, family members and the university community. Most of the choices as valedictorian haven’t been named yet (or at least the news hasn’t reached me), but the faculty of arts did announce Friday that its valedictorians will be Meaghan Hoffmann, graduating in speech communication, at the Thursday morning ceremony and Stephanie Venne, graduating in psychology, on Thursday afternoon.

Each ceremony will also hear an address from one of the honorary degree recipients, starting with geographer Terry Prowse of the University of Victoria on Wednesday morning.

And at least one of UW’s own will be honoured at each ceremony — from Keith Hipel of the systems design engineering department, becoming a University Professor as his latest distinction, to former safety officer Angelo Graham, becoming an Honorary Member of the University.

Everyone is welcome to attend convocation, and tickets are not required, though graduates have been asked to keep the number of guests they invite to “a reasonable limit (4 to 6 per graduate)”. Doors open at 9:00 for the morning ceremonies and 1:00 for the afternoon ceremonies. “Each convocation ceremony usually lasts approximately 2 to 2½ hours,” the registrar’s web site says. “Small children may find it difficult to sit through the whole ceremony.” There’s a separate web page of information for faculty and staff members about various forms of participation in convocation.

Each ceremony will be followed by a reception in the great hall of the nearby Student Life Centre. And other social venues will be busy as well. The University Club, in particular, has announced a convocation luncheon between 11:30 and 2:00 on each of the four days ($21 a person, reservations ext. 3-3801).


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