Friday, June 13, 2008

  • Convocation continues with math . . .
  • . . . and winds up with engineering
  • Dean celebrates 1,000,000th book
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[View from below as speaker gestures]

Caustan De Riggs — performer, student representative in UW's governance, graduate of the environment and business program and economic development option — was valedictorian at the Wednesday morning convocation ceremony, speaking on behalf of students receiving degrees from environmental studies and applied health sciences.

Convocation continues with math . . .

Two ceremonies today, for the faculty of mathematics, and two tomorrow, for engineering, will wind up UW’s Ninety-Sixth Convocation and turn thousands more Waterloo students into alumni with hood and handshake.

President David Johnston is fond of telling convocation audiences in the Physical Activities Complex that university graduation is one of four high points in a person’s life, “the others being birth, marriage and death, and this is the only one when you are compos mentis enough to know what’s going on!”

What’s going on at 10:00 this morning is a ceremony honouring 477 students from mathematics — among them Laura Bradbury, receiving a degree in computational mathematics, who will give the valedictory address on behalf of the graduates. Also at this morning’s ceremony:

• Jon Rao, a distinguished research professor at Carleton University, will receive an honorary Doctor of Mathematics degree and address convocation. Rao, a top researcher in survey methodology, has had a profound impact on sample surveys used by government agencies and other organizations and businesses.

• Jeff Wu will also receive an honorary DMath and address convocation. A former Waterloo professor, Wu is considered by colleagues to be the leading authority on the design of experiments in industry and manufacturing design. Currently, he holds the Coca Cola Chair in Engineering Statistics at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

• A Governor General’s Silver Medal for one of UW’s top bachelor’s degree graduates will go to Michael Lipnowski (pure mathematics), and the Alumni Gold Medal will go to Katelyn Culliton (chartered accountancy).

• Retired professors David Jackson, of combinatorics and optimization, and Jerald Lawless, of statistics and actuarial science, will be presented with the Distinguished Professor Emeritus designation.

• Mary Thompson, professor of statistics and actuarial science, will receive an Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision.

[VanderBurgh at the blackboard]• UW will also present Ian VanderBurgh (left) with the Distinguished Teacher Award that was announced for him earlier this year. Says a citation provided by the Centre for Teaching Excellence: “Ian VanderBurgh has been a Lecturer in the Faculty of Mathematics since 2000. He has taught first and second year Calculus and Algebra courses. Advanced sections of these topics have been taught by Ian as well. Ian was also the recipient of the 2003 Distinguished Teaching by a Registered Student Award.

“Along with his contributions as the Director of the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, Ian also takes the time to visit high schools throughout Ontario. He makes course material easy to understand with well organized notes and provides a very friendly atmosphere. Students attend his lectures, whether or not they are enrolled in his class. Ian has demonstrated his willingness to help students by organizing special tutorials designed to assist first year students adjust to university life.

“Ian understands the students’ perspectives, knows where they will struggle, and sees what needs more motivation. He exemplifies the traits of an ideal teacher: passionate about Mathematics with a strong desire to induce others to share that passion. It has been suggested that he would be an ‘excellent course coordinator for any of the Faculty’s core Mathematics courses’. As noted by a colleague, Ian has shown that he has ‘the natural skills to teach, an incredible work ethic, and a genuine feeling that he can make a difference through his teaching’.”

This afternoon’s 2:30 ceremony will focus on 288 graduates from the school of computer science. Janani Krishnaswamy, receiving a BCS in bioinformatics, will give the valedictory address. Also this afternoon:

• Alan Kay will receive a Doctor of Mathematics degree and address convocation. Widely considered one of the most innovative thinkers in computer science, Kay performed ground-breaking work in graphical user interface and object-oriented programming, which served as inspiration for personal computers. He is currently president of the Viewpoints Research Institute.

• An award for Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Studies will be presented to Margareta Ackerman as she receives her master’s degree.

• The J. W. Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation will be presented to Eric Veach, who received a UW degree in 1990 and received the Alumni Gold Medal for mathematics that year, before going on to a PhD at Stanford. He worked for Pixar Animation Studios and is now in Seattle as “Distinguished Software Engineer” for Google Inc. Veach led the design and development of Google's advertising system (AdWords and AdSense), and invented many of the product features that have made the system successful. Since then he has led projects in a variety of other areas at Google, including the large-scale machine learning system that targets Google's advertisements and the route planning system that generates driving directions for Google Maps.

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. . . and winds up with engineering

Tomorrow’s 10:00 convocation ceremony will see 606 degrees awarded in various fields of engineering. Greg FitzGerald, mechatronics engineering student and veteran of the Engineering Society executive, will give the valedictory address. Also Saturday morning:

• Clarence de Silva of the University of British Columbia, a pioneer in the fields of control, robotics and automation, will receive a Doctor of Engineering degree and address convocation.

• UW will present Flora Ng, of chemical engineering, with the University Professor designation — the highest academic honour given at Waterloo.

The Saturday 2:30 p.m. ceremony will focus on electrical and computer engineering, systems design, software engineering, and the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program, with a total of 521 students graduating. Michael Spendlove of systems design will give the valedictory address. Also:

• Gilles Patry will receive a Doctor of Engineering degree and address convocation. Patry, president of the University of Ottawa, is “a highly accomplished scholar, academic leader and entrepreneur,” a citation says. “He is also the founding president of Hydromantis, Inc., an international consulting firm that develops and applies computer-based technologies to the water and wastewater industries.”

• UW will present Keith Hipel, professor of systems design engineering, with an Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision.

Names of other award recipients at Saturday’s ceremonies weren’t available yesterday, but will be noted in the Daily Bulletin next week.

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Dean celebrates 1,000,000th book

a release from the UW media relations office

Adel Sedra, Waterloo's dean of engineering and co-author of the world's best-selling engineering textbook, will be presented with the one-millionth copy of his book Microelectronic Circuits at a special ceremony during engineering convocation on Saturday afternoon.

Sedra will also donate a leather-bound copy of the seminal work to the UW library at the ceremony.

He co-wrote the book with Kenneth C. Smith, professor emeritus at the University of Toronto. The text, translated into nine languages and used in hundreds of universities around the world, has now sold one million copies since first appearing in 1982.

Published by Oxford University Press, it is considered the most current resource for teaching tomorrow's electrical and computer engineers how to analyze and design electronic circuits.

"One million copies of a book may not seem like a lot in a world of J.K. Rowling and Stephen King, but this is a book for a university course taken by third-year electrical engineers — perhaps 20,000 people a year in total in North America," says John Challice, vice-president and publisher, higher education, for Oxford. "Over 26 years, Professors Sedra and Smith have reached beyond the borders of North America and touched the lives of one million students around the globe. Today, eight out of 10 students worldwide use this book to learn microelectronic circuits. That is a remarkable achievement."

Sedra, a former provost and vice-president academic at the University of Toronto, joined UW as dean of engineering in 2003. "Writing Microelectronic Circuits has been a tremendously gratifying experience," he says. "It has enabled K. C. Smith and me to influence the education of more than a million electrical engineers who have graduated during the past quarter century. At the personal level, it has provided us with professional friends in almost every country of the world."

As an engineering educator, Sedra specializes in the area of microelectronics, focusing on the theory and design of circuits for communication and instrumentation systems — a strong field of research and innovation in UW's faculty of engineering. His work has resulted in about 150 published articles. He also holds three patents for his inventions, and is the recipient of awards and honours including the 1988 Frederick Emmons Terman Award from the American Society for Engineering Education, the 1996 Education Medal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Third Millennium Medal of the IEEE. He has been awarded three honorary doctorates.

"This is a truly outstanding achievement," says UW president David Johnston. "Adel's seminal textbook sets the standard of excellence in teaching electronics at the university level. It provides insights into the field of electronics for students, hobbyists, technicians and professional engineers by offering complete coverage of basic electronic devices and circuits, analog circuits and digital circuits."


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Link of the day

Bikes in Port Dover

When and where

Co-op employer interviews for fall term jobs continue through June 20.

Class enrolment appointments for fall term undergraduate courses: continuing students, June 9-14; new students, July 14-27; open enrolment begins July 28.

‘Magic: Frontiers and Boundaries’ international conference hosted by department of classical studies, through Sunday, details online.

Internet Gambling: Current situation and future trends, talk by Robert Williams presented by UW, Waterloo Region Action Group on Gambling Issues and Waterloo Public Library, 10 a.m., Albert McCormick Community Centre, 500 Parkside Drive, details online.

Campus Crusade for Cheese weekly meeting and tasting ($2) 4:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 4020.

Star Performance Academy dance performance tonight, Humanities Theatre.

Electricity will be out in PAS, Humanities, and Minota Hagey Residence on Saturday 6 to 10 a.m.

Warrior football golf tournament Saturday, Rebel Creek Golf Course, Petersburg, $150, registration and information ext. 33149.

Dance Adventure performances Saturday-Sunday, Humanities Theatre.

ACM-style programming contest open to all members of the UW community, will be used to select UW team for this fall’s ACM competition, Sunday 1:00 to 4:00 (practice competition 10:30 a.m.), Math and Computer room 2037, details and registration online.

Matthews Golf Classic for students, staff, faculty, retirees and friends, Monday, Grand Valley Golf Course, details online.

Canadian Mental Health Association, Grand River Branch, “Leading a National Mental Health Strategy” presentation, discussion and annual meeting, Monday 3:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, information 519-766-4450 ext. 371.

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

Needles Hall elevator shut down for maintenance June 17 through July 17.

Tourplay children’s drama: “Jillian Jiggs and the Pirates” Tuesday 10:00 and 1:00, Humanities Theatre.

25-Year Club annual reception Tuesday 6:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex, by invitation, information ext. 32078.

Applied health informatics bootcamp on-site workshop introducing key concepts in informatics, June 18-20, Davis Centre room 1302, details online.

Zonta Club June dinner meeting, guest speaker Louise Fréchette, former deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, now at Centre for International Governance Innovation, Wednesday, June 18, 6:00, South Campus Hall, tickets $20, e-mail

R&T Park charity barbecue in support of the K-W Community Foundation, Thursday, June 19, 11:30 to 1:30, TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard, burger and salad $6, rain date June 24.

UW Alternative Fuels Team recruitment and information meetings: business position Thursday, June 19, 5:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room; technical position Thursday, June 26, 5:00, Doug Wright Engineering room 2536; information e-mail

Dropping courses: last day for 50 per cent fee refund, June 20. Last day to receive a WD grade for spring term courses dropped, June 27.

Vancouver alumni event: Southern Ontario Alumni Reunion barbecue at Jericho Beach Pond, Sunday, June 22, 12:00 to 4:00, details online.

Pre-enrolment for winter 2009 undergraduate courses, June 23-29 on Quest: choose courses now so preferences can be used in preparing the timetable, information online.

Bill Pudifin, faculty of engineering, retirement reception Wednesday, June 25, 3:00 to 5:00, Festival Room, South Campus Hall.

California alumni: Networking reception for alumni at Stanford University Faculty Club, Thursday, June 26, 6:30 p.m. UW Day at Padres baseball game, June 27. UW Day at Dodgers baseball game, June 28. Digital Moose Lounge Canada Day Picnic, June 29, Huddard Park East, Woodside, details online.

Long weekend: UW holidays Monday, June 30, and Tuesday, July 1, for Canada Day; classes cancelled, offices and most services closed.

Canada Day celebrations Tuesday, July 1, on the north campus: children’s fun-fest, arts and crafts fair, food, stage performances and other activities, 2 p.m. until evening; fireworks 10 p.m.; details and volunteer information online.

Montréal Jazz Festival bus trip organized by Federation of Students July 4-6, $119 to $179 including space at McGill residence hall, tickets at Feds office, Student Life Centre.

Teaching and Learning ePortfolio conference, July 7-8, St. Jerome’s University, details online.

Charity golf tournament: Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology presents Swing2Cure in support of Grand River Regional Cancer Centre, Wednesday, July 9, Rebel Creek Golf Club, registration ext. 37106 before April 1, details online.

Student Life 101 open house for September’s new students, Saturday, July 19, information online.

Rogers Cup men’s tennis tournament, July 19-27 at York University, details available online about UW alumni tickets (also for students, faculty, staff).

Last day of classes for spring term: July 30. Exams August 5-16.

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